Fonerwa Knowledge Sharing Portal

Remarks by Rwanda's Minister of Natural Resources at COP22 Climate Finance Roadmap to US$100 Billion Event

Good afternoon to you all!

I am delighted to participate in today’s event on international climate finance. I would like to extend a special thanks to the British Government and the Government of Australia for your leadership in developing the Climate Finance Roadmap to US$100 Billion.

For Rwanda, and other vulnerable nations that are already feeling the devastating impacts of climate change, the need to mobilise green finance and more importantly to use it, has never been more urgent.

A study we undertook while developing our Green Growth and Climate Resilience Strategy in partnership with the UK government indicated that climate change is already costing Rwanda the equivalent of 1% of GDP each year.

From January to September this year alone, torrential rains and drought, as well as other disasters, were responsible for the tragic deaths of more than 50 people and losses amounting to more than 30 million dollars. The case for climate adaptation and resilient development has been made very clear in Rwanda.

Recognising the risks that climate change is posing to Rwanda’s development, we worked hard to be accredited by the Green Climate Fund. In doing so, Rwanda Ministry of Natural Resources was the first government entity to receive direct access.

Rwanda’s accreditation was the result of three things: First, we know what our challenges are. Second, we know what we want and third, we have the frameworks in place to achieve it.

To begin, we set a broad and inclusive national vision, known as Vision 2020, which brings all Rwandans into the country’s development journey. We supported this by integrating our Green Growth and Climate Resilience Strategy into the overarching Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy.

Next, we put in place the institutional framework. A key part of this is Rwanda’s own Green Fund, known as FONERWA – now a 100 million dollar climate change and environment fund. Since it was established, the fund has approved 33 investments in climate resilience. These investments have restored thousands of hectares of water bodies, land and forests and employed almost 60,000 people in green jobs, supporting sustainable livelihood development in all corners of the country.

DFID played an instrumental role in establishing Rwanda’s Green Fund and we are very proud of what we have achieved through this partnership.

With these elements in place, we submitted a funding proposal for GCF that will transform rural economies using low-carbon settlements as a catalyst for translating national policy into practice. We are now undertaking technical studies to fully develop the project proposal through a readiness grant.

So what happen now? We have the vision, we have the policies, and we have the programmes. As we have heard here at COP22, we need to act. We need to implement our climate action plans and we need to do it well.

Another lesson we have learnt is that country ownership is crucial. Therefore, I encourage all nations to apply for direct access to GCF so that the government institutions responsible for serving citizens have access to the resources they need to do this.

We must also demand a return on investment. We cannot afford to waste the opportunities that lie in climate financing mechanisms like the Green Climate Fund. We have the responsibility to be efficient, and ensure what we do is cost effective, viable and scalable.

Is it good for Rwanda to be accredited, but we need all developing and vulnerable nations to have access to climate finance. This is crucial for meaningful climate action.

If these things are in place, then we are one step closer to true sustainable development and achieving the 1.5-degree ambition set through the Paris Agreement.

In summary, we need to have the vision, we need to have the policies and we need to have the right strategies and programmes in place. With broad participation, and effective implementation we can reach our goals.

Thank you very much for your kind attention.

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