By Wallace Mawire
Organizations and institutions in Zimbabwe have been urged to move with global trends and start accessing climate funds in-order to be fully capacitated to deal with climate change impacts.
The Business Council for Sustainable Development Zimbabwe (BCSDZ), a leading organization formed 24 years ago by Zimbabwean business leaders concerned about corporate sustainability is spearheading a campaign to capacitate institutions to access climate funds for projects to reduce climate change impacts.
The BCSDZ recently held a climate finance conference in Harare to make organisations and institutions aware of the modalities of accessing climate funds for their projects. The conference deliberated on climate finance and how Zimbabwean stakeholders can access it. Climate change is affecting the world, particularly the developing nations and Zimbabwe is also vulnerable to its effects as evidenced by droughts, floods and the rise in temperatures over the years.
Over the years, the BCSDZ has become a leading voice and networking facility on issues of climate change, renewable energy, energy efficiency, waste management, safe chemicals management and water management.
Charles Msipa,the BCSDZ Chairperson said at the recent conference that Zimbabwe must strengthen its efforts on mitigation and adaptation. Mitigation refers to reducing carbon emissions from various operations, processes and sectors of the economy for example through renewable energy and energy efficiency. Adaptation on the other hand emphasizes the need to cope with the effects of climate change for example through improved water efficiency, water harvesting and drought tolerant varieties of crops.
“However, without access to finance, most climate change related projects and investments will be non-existent. In recent years, there is a growing realization that we need to mobilise financial resources at company, national, regional and international level in order to finance climate change related projects,” Msipa said.
Msipa added that despite the existence of climate funding opportunities, very few Zimbabwean stakeholders have actually accessed it.
The recent workshop convened by his organization discussed issues ranging from lack of knowledge on existing climate finance sources, lack of bankability of projects, project risk, poor proposal development, lack of collaboration and partnership amongst stakeholders.
The BCSDZ also encouraged stakeholders to respond to calls for climate finance when they are opened for proposals. He cited the example of the recently closed $500 million facility flighted by the Green Climate Finance (GCF) which got only a few responses.
“It is through these sources that we can harness the climate finance. As the BCSDZ we stand ready to provide more information to key stakeholders through our secretariat and prospective members to join the association to get further information on climate finance and other sustainability issues,” Msipa said.
Tawanda Muzamwese, the BCSDZ Executive Director said at the same meeting that Zimbabwe’s financial sector, especially the banks, should now start getting involved in accessing climate funds to finance climate change mitigation projects. Muzamwese also said that his organization is in the process of lobbying government for increased allocation for climate finance from the budget and that government must play a role in financing climate change as it has done in the HIV and AIDS sector.
According to information released by Msipa, global studies indicate that there is an endowment of up to $741 billion that is available for financing climate change projects across the world. Under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the Green Climate Fund, an institution to increase potential for access to finance and to disburse climate funds was established.
Msipa also added that without the involvement of banks, climate finance will remain a pipe dream. He also said that whilst the government can contribute to climate mitigation through funding green infrastructure projects, the private sector is also required to complement government efforts in financing. Developed countries have pledged $100 billion annually by the year 2020 through the Green Climate Fund.