Minister Biruta makes case for climate financing

Biruta speaks during a past news briefing in Kigali. File.

For the world to sustainably tackle climate change and its subsequent effects, there is need to catalyse more private capital investment in climate change mitigation initiatives, Environment Minister Vincent Biruta has said.

Biruta was speaking at the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) event on Financing Sustainable Landscapes in New York, USA, on Monday. 


He said that there’s need for strong legal and institutional framework that is able to leverage private sector investment.


“Financing sustainable landscapes requires a new way of doing business - for governments, international organisations, civil society and the private sector. It is clear that the scope of the challenge demands action on a scale we have not seen before.”


“To achieve such large-scale action, we need to invest in the right things in the right way. This means catalysing more private capital for a range of development issues, from environment to health.”

According to Biruta, the private sector has been a “missing piece of the puzzle”, and it’s leaders send a strong signal that the Paris Agreement and the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development not only represent obligations and targets, but also opportunities to expand prosperity around the world.

“For blended finance to be truly impactful, it must be utilised within a strong legal and institutional framework that not only leverages private sector (green) investment, but actively encourages it,” he said.

He also urged countries around the world to share experience with one another so that they may all benefit from the new financial mechanisms to develop and test instruments and efforts that will lead to a significant up-scaling of climate action and sustainable landscape restoration.

Biruta also underlined how Rwanda’s Fund for the Environment and Climate Change (FONERWA) is working with partners to design new financial instruments that will make it easier for the private sector to be part of environmental protection initiatives.

“While this represents significant progress, much of the Fund’s capital has come from development finance. This is an important source, but we know that to build a developed low carbon economy by 2050, we will need to harness a wider array of finance.” Biruta stressed.

FONERWA investments have so far supported more than 100,000 people with view to cope with the effects of climate change and planted 40,000 hectares of forest, he said.

The green fund, he said, has also raised approximately $130 million for climate resilience investments. These initiatives have created 135,000 jobs, provided 57,000 households with improved access to off-grid clean energy and protected 20,000 hectares of land against soil erosion.

“More intense and frequent flooding has caused landslides and tragically the loss of hundreds of lives. This is just one reason why Rwanda has pledged to bring 2m hectares under restoration by 2020 as part of our Bonn Challenge obligations, the entirely of the country.

“We cannot allow Climate Change and unsustainable practices from extractive industries to undermine the progress we are making in landscape restoration. We must utilise global knowledge in response to these challenges and scale up the good work already underway,” the minister said.

Earlier on Tuesday, the UN Secretary General also emphasised on the need for the global leaders to take it upon themselves to mitigate climate change. He was officially opening the 73rd UN General Assembly debate in New York.

“Our future is at stake. Nothing is immune – climate change affects everything – and everything can be undermined. The world needs you to be climate champions – all of you,” Antonio Guterres told world leaders.

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