One of the major decisions to come out of the ongoing climate change
negotiations has been the need to establish a Green Climate Fund (GCF).
The fund is expected to raise and disburse about US$100 billion a year by 2020,
starting with US$30 billion from 2012 to support mitigation and adaptation
actions in developing countries.
Although there has been some scepticism about the magnitude of the figures and
the conditions to access the funds, the GCF represents another step closer to
addressing climate change in developing countries, particularly in Africa.
Southern Africa stands to benefit from the fund if the region adopts a
pro-active approach to access the adaptation finance.
This approach may include early preparation such as starting to identify
projects that would be suitable for financing under the GCF.
The region stands a better chance of accessing the fund if it identifies
projects with a regional appeal instead of individual country projects that do
not promote regional integration.
The Inga hydropower station in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Mphanda
Nkuwa hydropower project in Mozambique and the Kudu gas project in Namibia are
practical examples of regional projects that have the capacity of attracting
funding under the GCF.
The Inga hydropower project, for instance, has the potential to produce about
40,000 megawatts of electricity, enough to meet most of the current power needs
for the region.
Co-chair of the Transitional Committee of the GCF, Trevor Manuel said a
pro-active approach would boost southern Africa’s chances of accessing climate
“Sometimes we do not push hard enough,” Manuel said, adding that a number of
funds had been put in place yet Africa had benefited little because no concrete
plans were put forward.
Manuel, who was appointed co-chair of the Transitional Committee early this
year, said the adaptation funding should also be able to deal with some of the
infrastructure issues in the region.
The Transitional Committee was set up to develop a proposal for the operational
of the GCF. It is made up of 40 members, 25 of which come from developing
countries and 15 from developed countries.
For the SADC region, three countries are represented in the committee. These are
the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (on behalf of the Africa Group), South
Africa (the incoming COP Presidency) and Zambia (for the Least Developed
With a significantly high representation in the Transitional Committee, southern
Africa is, therefore, expected to take advantage of its presence to encourage
member states to increase their uptake of climate projects.
This is in light of a handful of SADC projects that are registered under various
climate funds such as the Kyoto Clean Development Mechanism, commonly known as
According to available data, southern Africa has benefited the least among all
regions of the continent from the US$7 billion annual CDM market.
South Africa accounts for the majority of the projects, followed by the United
Republic of Tanzania, DRC, Madagascar, Mauritius and Mozambique.
This is in spite of about 19,000 MW of generation projects that could be
commissioned under the CDM in the region, according to an analysis by SADC.
As plans are now at an advanced stage to establish the GCF, southern Africa
should intensify its efforts to benefit from the climate finance.
The GCF is expected to be launched at the forthcoming 17th Conference of the
Parties (COP17) climate change talks scheduled for Cape Town, South Africa in
The board of the GCF would consist of 24 members, with equal representation of
developing and developed countries, and supported by an independent secretariat
to administer the funds. The World Bank would serve as interim trustee for the
first three years.
The establishment of the GCF was initiated at the last climate change conference
held in Cancun, Mexico, last year.
This was in recognition that developing countries are the worst affected by
climate change because of their levels of poverty and low capacity to adapt.
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