RWANDA: Climate Action Can Drive Sustainable Dev’t in Africa

Action on climate change in the form of green policy, abortion finance and market approaches can drive sustainable development in Africa, government, business and civil society representatives heard on the opening day of Africa Carbon Forum in Kigali, Rwanda.

“Just as the risks of climate change are immense, so too are the rewards of climate action if we invest in our people and our planet,” said Vincent Biruta, Rwanda’s Minister of Natural Resources.

In December 2015 in Paris, countries adopted a new comprehensive climate change agreement, central to which is nationally determined action and international cooperation. Driving it all will be private and public investment.

World Bank analysis has estimated that not addressing climate change could plunge 100 million more people into poverty by 2030. Of those 43 million would be in Africa.

“Turning challenges into opportunities requires concrete action, collaboration and commitment,” said Minister Biruta.

“I am sure we are up to the task.”

Africa Carbon Forum is an annual gathering aimed at spurring climate investment, through sharing information on policy, such as use of markets and mechanisms, financial opportunities, and cooperative initiatives arising from the international response to climate change.

According to Dirk Forrister, President and CEO International Emissions Trading Association, Africa will play a critical role in the spread of markets under the Paris Agreement.

“Numerous regional governments are keen to leverage international markets to achieve their nationally-determined contributions, and support from both the private sector as well as policy leaders will be key to ensuring Africa can deliver on its targets. In the lead up to the Marrakech COP22 in November this year, the ACF2016 provides a strategic platform for these exchanges to take place.”


Daniele Violetti, Chief of Staff United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, asserts that countries in Africa feel the dangers of climate change, but expressed confidence they will also see the tremendous push that climate action can give to sustainable development.

“With the right climate policy choices, and by working together, countries can spur investment that benefits people and the atmosphere. In fact, action on climate is action for sustainable development,” said Daniele.

Bonapas Onguglo, OiC Trade and Environment Branch, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, says trade can help African countries, individually and together, leverage the various co-benefits of climate policies.

“It can also help transfer innovations from market to market, within Africa and with the broader developing world. Without trade flexibility, the costs of climate change are projected to be higher, especially in some least developed and island developing countries that are most severely affected by climate change,” he argues.

“It is thus important is to consider the large – and largely unexplored – role international trade can play as part of the solution.”


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