ACCRA, Ghana (PAMACC News) - Access to finance remains critical for vulnerable African countries to take climate action.
Ghana, for instance, requires $22.6billion in investments to implement climate mitigation and adaptation actions.
While countries are expected to commit national resources in undertaking climate mitigation and adaptation, overcoming the climate scourge will demand huge international support to efficiently implement the nationally determined contributions (NDCs).
The NDCs are efforts each country makes to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
The Green Climate Fund (GCF) has been established as a critical avenue to mobilize financial resources to address the challenge of climate change.
Activated in 2010, the GCF operates as the financial mechanism under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to support the efforts in developing countries to respond to the challenge of climate change.
Support to developing countries is to facilitate limiting their greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change.
So far, developed nations have pledged to provide a current target of $100billion by 2020.
The last UN Climate Conference in Katowice, Poland, did not achieve new financial commitments but urged countries to deliver on their pledges.
According to Dr. Samson Samuel Ogallah, Solidaridad Network Senior Climate Specialist for Africa, until the pledges are converted to commitments and contributions, it cannot be said that resources have been attained for climate action.
“We’ve heard countries pledge big amounts but some of the pledges are never converted into contributions which become a challenge in the implementation of real action on the ground,” he observed.
The US, for instance, pledged $3billion but managed to convert $1.5billion during the Obama administration. The other part of the fund never materialized in the Trump administration.
Other contributed funds also go through bureaucracies and approval processes with a chunk of the Fund going into consultancy, and leaving a pittance for climate action on the grounds.
Concerned about the minimal civil society participation o in the design, implementation and evaluation of climate projects, the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) and Care International held a day’s workshop on the sidelines of the Africa Climate Week with a focus on sustainable financing for climate action.
Executive Director of PACJA, Mithika Mwenda, noted that “as representatives of the people and communities on the ground, civil society organizations are very important in any action on climate change, including finance. The Green Climate Fund must be people-driven, people-responsive fund which funds things that cannot be financed by the conventional banks like the World Bank”.
The Accra dialogue, involving 15 countries in Africa, acknowledged the proper and broader engagement of stakeholders in GCF processes can help most African countries develop fundable proposal which can enhance resilience of vulnerable communities and bring about paradigm shift in the entire process.
“The GCF is designed to address the needs of people at the local level, involving small holder farmers, pastoralist communities, labour movement, women and the youth,” Mithika noted.
He said PACJA is undertaking extensive training and outreach to demystify the Green Climate Fund as an instrument to support agriculture, transport and other economic activities.
But Funds available through the GCF and Global Environmental Facility (GEF), among other financial mechanisms, are currently inadequate to meet the global needs for climate solutions.
According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), African countries need $3trillion by 2030 to implement their Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) targets.
Regional Principal Officer of AfDB, Dr. Olufunso Somorin, said 75percent of the amount will be leveraged from the private sector.
He therefore believes CSOs have a role in brokering increased engagement of the private sector in climate financing.
“The low resourcing of GCF is a concern,” he said. “Attracting private sector investment is a long-term solution”.
Long term engagement of CSO’s towards strengthening broader societal support for transformation and increase accountability of national authorities is critical to achieve GCF paradigms of low-emissions and climate-resilient economies and societies.