SACFP hosts first Regional Learning Forum on climate finance in Namibia
The Southern Africa Climate Finance Partnership (SACFP) supports six countries in southern Africa (Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe) to develop country-owned and managed climate finance portfolios that can access funding from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and other sources. Given the many challenges faced by countries in accessing GCF funds, SACFP decided to organise two Regional Learning Forums to provide a platform for countries to meet and share their experiences and learning with one another.
The first Regional Learning Forum (supported by UK Aid & the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation) was held on the 25th and 26th October 2018 in Swakopmund, Namibia. It was co-hosted by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism in their capacity as the National Designated Authority to the GCF. The Forum brought together 40 participants from National Designated Authorities (NDAs), nominated entities and Accredited Entities to the GCF to network and explore shared challenges and opportunities. Key issues for discussion included GCF accreditation, institutional arrangements, funding modalities and the GCF policies on gender and environmental and social safeguards. During the Learning Forum, leveraging climate finance was seen as key to supporting countries in protecting Africa’s development gains from the impacts of climate change.
In his opening address, Mr Teofilus Ngitila, Acting Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, stressed the need for southern African countries to prepare for, and adapt to, the impacts of climate change – and do so quickly. “The presence of so many NDAs and Direct Access Entities is an indication that we are determined to tap the much needed resources from the Green Climate Fund in order to rapidly increase adaptation and mitigation actions in our respective countries”, he said.
In his speech, Mr Ngitila also called for the GCF to consider setting up regional hubs. “Let me also use this opportunity as region to keep on persistently urging the GCF Board to decentralise the GCF operations by establishing regional hubs. The establishment of the regional hub will enable us to interact with the Secretariat in a timely manner. Namibia has offered a strong commitment to host the African hub.”
Delegates at the Learning Forum benefited from the insights of outgoing African GCF board member, Mr Zaheer Fakir. He encouraged them to collaborate on a regional level to improve their access climate finance. “It requires partnership, not only with foreign partners, but partners within Africa itself. You have different countries with different capacities and it’s about time that we start functioning as one unified Africa and supporting each other to achieve that.”
It is hoped that this Learning Forum will be a springboard for southern African countries to start communicating more regularly around their climate change activities, especially their progress and challenges with accessing climate finance. A second Regional Learning Forum is expected to take place during the first half of 2019.