Fonerwa wins top UN award for climate action

Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change, with Hubert Ruzibiza, Fonerwa chief executive, during the awarding ceremony in Kigali yesterday. Courtesy.

Rwanda Green Fund (FONERWA) on Friday received the United Nations 2018 Momentum for Change Award for its outstanding contribution to addressing climate change.

The Fund was selected for the award in the category of Financing For Climate Friendly Investment.

Every year, the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat, which leads the Momentum for Change awards, celebrates initiatives that advance climate resilience and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The award recognises “successful financial innovations” for adaptation and climate mitigation, according to a statement from the Fund.

“It aims to highlight climate activities promoting low-carbon growth and highly resilient communities through the use of innovative financing mechanisms,” it reads in part.

The Fund was awarded for being one of the most innovative, scalable, and practical examples of addressing climate change.

Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change said that FONERWA’s activities shine a light on scalable climate action around the world.

“They are proof that climate action isn’t only possible, it’s innovative, it’s exciting and it makes a difference. I congratulate the Rwanda Green Fund, which is investing in public and private projects that drive transformative change. It is one of the first national environment and climate change investment funds in Africa,” Espinosa stated.

The Fund was selected from among 560 entries from all over the world that came from businesses, governments, communities and organisations.

The Financing for Climate Friendly Investment category is implemented in partnership with the World Economic Forum Global Project on Climate Change.

Hubert Ruzibiza, CEO of FONERWA, thanked UN Climate Change for recognising Rwanda’s efforts to support climate resilient development, and reaffirmed the Fund’s mission to drive green growth in Rwanda.

“We are grateful to the UN Climate Change Secretariat for recognising our efforts in climate action. Through the Fund’s investments, we are witnessing transformative change that aligns with Rwanda’s ambition to become a developed, low carbon economy.

“This award is recognition of the country’s leadership and the hard work by communities across Rwanda and the Fund team. It encourages us to do even more as we build a climate resilient Rwanda,” Ruzibiza said in a statement.

The 2018 Lighthouse Activities were selected by an international advisory panel as part of the secretariat’s Momentum for Change initiative, which is implemented with the support of The Rockefeller Foundation, and operates in partnership with the World Economic Forum, Masdar’s Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy Forum (WiSER) initiative, and Climate Neutral Now.

“Climate action leaders, including those recognised by the Momentum for Change initiative, are stepping up to meet the global climate challenge by delivering on the Paris Agreement,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

“These inspirational leaders, from communities, governments, businesses and organisations, come from all corners of the globe and all levels of society. Their winning projects range from transformative financial investments to women-led solutions to protect people and the planet. Through their leadership and creativity, we see essential change.”

The winning activities fall within one of Momentum for Change’s four focus areas: Planetary Health, Climate Neutral Now, Women for Results, and Financing for Climate Friendly Investment.

As a result, the Rwanda Green Fund will be showcased at a series of special events during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP24) in December in Katowice, Poland.

FONERWA invests in sustainable wealth creation and poverty reduction by providing strategic financing that accelerates Rwanda’s commitment to building a strong climate resilient and green economy.

Funding proposals are approved based on a careful evaluation process to ensure their return on investment contributes to Rwanda’s climate resilience.