By Andreas Thomas
Windhoek – Namibia continues to benefit from global climate financing by rich nations, in its ongoing effort to tackle wide variety of environmental challenges such as climate change as well as biodiversity, forests, land degradation and oceans.
Multilateral financing mechanisms including the Global Environment Facility (GEF) continue to play a major role in the southern African country’s effort to mitigate environmental damage.
Environment and Tourism Minister Pohamba Shifeta has announced on Tuesday that Namibia has been allocated US$13.88 million in grants for the 7th GEF funding circle covering the period 2018-2022.
While updating the media on the outcome of the 6th Assembly of the GEF held last month in Vietnam, Shifeta emphasized that the money provide Namibia with opportunity to undertake “interventions to strengthen resilience to climate change, conserve and sustainably manage biodiversity, prevent land degradation and restore degraded land”.
The allocation per focal point for Namibia includes US$1 million for climate change mitigation, US$6.25 million for biodiversity management, and US$6.62 million has been reserved for combating of land degradation.
The Ministry of Environment and Tourism is the focal point to the GEF, and Shifeta said the onus is now on his ministry to design bankable programmes and projects to capitalize on the funding.
“Given the current challenges we are facing and the potential of the tourism sector, the development of wildlife-based tourism is likely to be the primary focus area during the GEF 7 period.
“This will include interventions to mitigate the costs of living alongside wildlife by communities as well as the intervention to enhance the beneficiation to communities from tourism sector. Efforts to combat land degradation and to restore degraded land is another focus areas,” he said.
Under the GEF 6, Namibia is currently busy with the finalization of the proposal a project targeted to support poverty eradication efforts in rural areas based on sustainable nature-based livelihood. The project is funded with US$10.3 million, with full implementation expected to begin in 2019.
The Global Environment Facility was established in 1992 to finance measures that tackle a wide variety of environmental challenges, including climate change as well as biodiversity, forests, land degradation and oceans – covering a total of five international conventions.
The funds are available to developing countries and countries with economies in transition to meet the objectives of the international environmental conventions and agreements.
The facility support is provided to government agencies, civil society organizations, private sector companies, research institutions, among the broad diversity of potential partners, to implement projects and programs in recipient countries.
Since it is establishment, GEF has provided over US$17.9 billion in grants for more than 4,500 projects in 170 countries in the main focal areas – biodiversity management, climate change adaptation and mitigation, combating land degradation, management of international waters as well as chemicals and waste management.
Since, 1992, Namibia has been able to implement over 30 national projects worth about US$71 million.
“These projects have covered a wide range of areas such as the management of our protected areas, support to communal conservancies and community forests, promotion of climate smart agriculture, sustainable management and integrated coastal zone governance,” Minister Shifeta said.
During the 6th Assembly of the Global Environment Fund held from 27-28 June, developed nations that are bankrolling the GEF pledged US$4.1 billion to replenish the 2018-2022 funding circle. This is less than US$4.4 billion that was pledged for the 2014-2018 funding circle.