Southern African News Features                                           SANF 12 No 22 , June 2012

SADC supports Namibia’s bid to host Green Climate Fund

by Kizito Sikuka

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has endorsed a bid by Namibia to host the secretariat for the Green Climate Fund.

The fund, established in December 2011 at Durban, South Africa during the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), seeks to support climate change mitigation and adaptation actions in developing countries.

According to the UNFCCC, the fund is expected to raise and disburse about US$100 billion a year by 2020, starting with US$30 billion from 2012 to help the global community address issues of climate change.

A total of six countries have expressed interest in hosting the fund. These are Mexico (North America), Republic of Korea (Asia), and Germany, Poland and Switzerland (all from Europe).

The decision on the host country is expected to be made later this year and presented for endorsement at the forthcoming climate change conference set for Doha, Qatar in December. Currently, the provisional secretariat of the fund is in Bonn, Germany.

Meeting at their SADC Extraordinary Summit in June in Luanda, Angola, southern African leaders endorsed the candidature of Namibia to host the Fund. The leaders agreed to lobby the African Union to support Namibia and ensure that the African continent has a sole candidate.

An endorsement by the AU, which is widely expected, would put more weight to Namibia’s application as there has been some unwritten consensus among the global community that such a fund be situated in a developing country, where the effects of climate change are mostly felt because of the levels of poverty and low capacity to adapt.

Seychelles Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Paul Adam has said Namibia was an ideal candidate for the fund as a number of middle-income small countries are often excluded from climate change funding that is allocated to traditional funding institutions because of their relatively high per capita Gross Domestic Product.

“Namibia’s bid represents an important step in our quest for fairness in terms of international development mechanisms,” he said, adding that southern Africa and the entire African continent “must be activists in the fight against climate change”.

This pro-active approach may include intensifying efforts to access the fund through jointly identifying projects that would be suitable for financing.

Research has shown that most financiers tend to favour regional projects compared to individual country projects as joint projects have wider impact and promote regional integration.

Although there has been some scepticism about the magnitude of the figures and the conditions to access the funds, the establishment of the Green Climate Fund represents another step closer to comprehensively addressing climate change in developing countries.

The fund is expected to promote the paradigm shift towards low-emission and climate-resilient development pathways by providing support to developing countries to limit or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

The board of the Green Climate Fund consists of 24 members, with equal representation of developing and developed countries, and will be 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 Green Climate Fund was initiated at the 2010 climate change conference held in Cancun, Mexico.

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