A new law expected to improve the Rwanda Green Fund (FONERWA) and its ability to seize opportunities for finance mobilisation has been published in the official gazette, following its recent enactment by Parliament.
The law, published this week, determines FONERWA’s mission and organisation and defines how the climate financing institution will function.
Speaking about what the law means for the fund, FONERWA coordinator Alex Mulisa said the revised legislation draws on the lessons that were learned over the first three years of their operation and that were critical to the revision of the law.
In a statement to The New Times, Mulisa said the institutional strengthening that comes with the revised law will help FONERWA to be more strategic and accelerate the speed of decision making at the Fund.
“The new law provides a framework for the Fund to be more effective in the work we do. As the institution responsible for mobilising and managing funding to protect the environment and address climate change, the revision will allow us to better support public organs, the private sector and individuals in environment protection and conservation,” he said.
Benjamin Gasamagera, the chairperson of the Private Sector Federation (PSF), said the federation actively promotes sustainable development.
“We are pleased that this new law will help Rwandan businesses access the finance they need to be part of the country’s green economic transformation,” he said.
“It is everyone’s responsibility to contribute to solving our environmental challenges such as climate change, including the private sector, and we should take advantage of the opportunities that come with green growth.”
Since it was established, Rwanda’s Green Fund has mobilised more than Rwf80 billion that is being invested in 35 climate resilience and environmental protection initiatives.
The investments have restored more than 14,000 hectares of watersheds and water bodies and protected more than 15,000 hectares of earth cover against soil erosion.
The fund has also supported tree planting on more than 31,000 hectares across the country.
In terms of green growth, 15,000 households have improved access to off-grid energy, and projects financed by the fund have employed more than 120,000 people, supporting sustainable livelihood development.
The revised law comes as the international community is increasingly focusing attention to addressing climate change.
As Rwanda is considered one of the world’s most climate vulnerable nations, there is a need for the national fund to be structured in a way that best enables it to access climate finance and manage it well, officials said.
Being climate vulnerable means that the country is likely to suffer disproportionately from the impacts of a warming planet and faces challenges in dealing with those consequences.
Since the 1970s, the average temperature in Rwanda has increased by 1.4°C. If no significant steps are taken to mitigate global climate change, it is predicted that the average temperature in Rwanda will rise by 2.5°C by the middle of the century.
Several reports, mainly from Rwanda Meteorology Centre, show that Rwanda is already experiencing the impacts of climate change such as increased and longer droughts and more frequent and severe floods.