GCF funds transfer will help Namibia’s rural poor weather change
The funds transfer comes as GCF scales up disbursements to approved projects. Recent financial transfers include
- a project to help Peru’s indigenous people reduce peatland emissions through improved land management disbursed earlier this month, and
- an initiative to support Mongolian enterprises build a clean energy private sector, with funds transferred in May.
Both Namibian climate finance projects, approved by the GCF Board at the end of last year, are being carried out by the Environmental Investment Fund, a GCF direct access Accredited Entity based in Namibia.
The Enhanced Direct Access (EDA) pilot project builds on Namibia’s acknowledged leading role empowering communities to manage the environment. GCF is transferring over USD 400,000 as part of an overall grant of USD 10 million.
This project is the first of a pilot series introduced by GCF last year to strengthen country ownership over climate finance. Namibia’s Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, hailed the Enhanced Direct Access project as a milestone moving Namibia further towards sustainable development.
He said the five-year initiative, based on community-based ecosystem management, will strengthen rural people’s resilience to droughts, seasonal weather shifts and other climate disasters.
The second project will help poor people in northern Namibia weather droughts caused by climate change. GCF is now transferring USD 3.4 million to EIF as the first tranche of this USD 9.5 million grant.
Crop-growing communities in the north Namibian regions of Zambezi, and Kavango East and West are particularly prone to the vagaries of climate change as many practise agriculture to sustain their livelihoods. Disrupted weather patterns mean many face reduced crop yields.
This project will help about 16,000 farmers enhance their capacity to deal with climate change through conservation-focused agriculture and by introducing micro drip irrigation. Also, the installation of off-grid solar power for pumping and refrigeration will provide a low-carbon alternative to the current reliance by many farmers on imported fuel.
John Mutorwa, Namibia’s Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, said an innovative feature of this project is its funding of a research centre in the country’s northern region to develop alternative farming practices.
“The Mashare Climate Resilient Agriculture Centre of Excellence will develop the capacities of many farmers, as alternative-farming practices will be introduced through various training programmes - with more than 7,000 farmers targeted during the first five years,” he said.
In tandem with the transfer of funds for these two projects, GCF has also recently disbursed over USD 390,000 in readiness support to improve EIF’s capacity to implement climate finance. Readiness support is a dedicated funding arm, separate from GCF’s financing of funding proposals, that improves countries’ ability to access and deploy climate finance.
EIF has been working closely with the Namibian Government to make agriculture, which accounts for a major portion of national economic growth, more sustainable and climate resilient. A central part of EIF’s work includes ensuring local communities are placed squarely at the centre of environmental initiatives.
Since gaining independence from South Africa in 1990, this relatively new nation has won international accolades for the way it has made local communities central to managing natural resources.
Lazarus Nafidi, EIF’s Head of Communication, said over 80 communal conservancies - set up since the mid-1990s to devolve rights to manage and benefit from natural resources to local communities - have been turning their attention increasingly from wildlife protection to dealing with the impacts of climate change.
“In Namibia, we will capitalise on our good record of environmental protection to ensure economic development does not outpace climate considerations,” he said.