Botswana is in the process of tapping into the Green Climate Fund (GCF), established under the Conference of Parties (COP) 21 to capacitate developing countries to tackle impacts on climate change.
In an interview with the Sunday Standard, Acting Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment Wildlife and Tourism, Thabang Botshoma, said the process of accessing the fund firstly entails the establishment of a National Designated Authority (NDA) which refers to an entity whose responsibility would be to monitor implementation of the projects.
Secondly, there should be a National Implementing Entity (NIE), through which the funds from the GCF will be routed.
This should be a financing entity of good repute capable and with a history of comfortably handling large sums of funds. Botswana has entities like Citizen Entrepreneurship Development Agency (CEDA) and National Development Bank (NDB) which can play this role. But it should be approved by the GCF panel of adjudicators for accreditation.
Those willing to apply for accreditation need to be familiar with the NIE self-assessment criterion which include but is not limited to GCF Basic Fiduciary principles and standards, GCF specialized fiduciary principles, GCF Environmental and Social Safeguards as well as Record and Policy alignment.
“Botswana’s NDA will be the Ministry of Finance because projects funded by GCF are part of the national development programmes. The Ministry of Environment, through the Department of Meteorological Services (DMS) is the country’s focal point on climate issues but cannot serve as NDA,” explained Botshoma.
He said preparations were at an advanced stage to have the Ministry of Finance as the NDA working with the environment Ministry.
Meanwhile, the DMS is currently standing in as an interim focal point linking Botswana with the fund as well as facilitating readiness programmes.
The department last year invited government ministries to submit proposals for the climate change projects, with a view to aid them to tap into the GCF.
This, he said, has seen an emergence of a portfolio of 19 projects under consideration. Out of these, seven were picked for consideration.
“There is a template for the proposal of projects for the GCF. So after the ministries and other applicants submitted we went through them. We would then advise the applicants to add any details they might have left out. In some instances you would find that various proponents had the same idea. They would be merged into one so that they become national programmes, for which the GCF has been set for,” he said.
He highlighted that while the Fund is there , we also have support from bilaterals with other countries not specifically meant for funding as monetary. Some programmes can be bilateral-granting expertise input and money.
He expounded that projects that were meant for mobilisation and sensitisation for certain regions would be beefed up contextually and merged to cover the whole country.
He said some of the projects that were agriculture-related were sent to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) so that they could be boosted to the required level.
After assessing some three projects on Conservation Agriculture, FAO advised that they could be merged into one since they have recycling component.
Botshoma pointed out the fact that while the process for tapping into the GCF is on-going, Botswana was not just sitting back. Projects such as the North-South water carrier were forms of adaptation mitigation. Production of breeds such as Mosi cattle is more signs of adaptation measures already in place.
Botshoma said his ministry would by April start what is called the greening of houses. In the programme, the Ministry’s headquarters building will be renovated to use solar power. The same will be applied to the DMS building. The grey water from the buildings will be recycled and re-used for plants around the buildings.
This will be a pilot project and should it prove to be working well, it will be unrolled to other government offices. This is done through the two million Euro the government got from Italy.
“I hope the process of tapping into the GCF goes fast so that we can be able to access these funds. GCF hopes to raise up to US$100 billion annually by 2020. My wish was for our country to get at least US$5 billion annually,” he said, adding that Botswana has been hard hit by recession, yet the impacts of climate change are as biting to it as to any other developing country.