April 17, Kigali Rwanda ,the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI)’s operating model maximizes the potential to translate green growth strategies and policies (especially economic policies) into green investment plans, mobilizing green finance commitments needed to bolster support for low-carbon and climate-resilient economic development and strong institutional capacity development. In an interview with The EastAfrican, Mr. Okechukwu Daniel Ogbonnaya, GGGI’s Rwanda Country Representative, shares insights about their work in Rwanda.
GGGI has committed to support the government of Rwanda to ensure that sustainability and green growth are core principles in Rwanda’s future growth and development, can you elaborate on what progress has been made thus far in Rwanda to achieving such project targets?
The Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) as an intergovernmental organization supporting members to achieve sustainable inclusive economic growth is working with the Government of Rwanda in mainstreaming green growth into different sectors and policies with the ultimate aim of supporting the country’s transition to a climate resilient green economy.
This has been demonstrated in several sectors both at the national and sub-national level. For example, the National Roadmap for Green Secondary Cities Development is one of the practical guides for the implementation of the National Urbanization Policy and the program of actions of the Green Growth and Climate Resilient Strategy. This has been demonstrated in the building and construction sector where GGGI Rwanda supported the Rwanda Housing Authority (RHA) in developing the Green Building Minimum Compliance System(GBMCS).
The GBMCS sets minimum standards for new public buildings in terms of water-use and energy efficiency, improved operational practices such as sustainable waste management, optimization of temperature control to reduce the use of artificial cooling, and better indoor environmental quality.
The government is walking the talk on implementation of the GBMCS by collaborating with GGGI to carry out a rapid building performance through a walk-through audit to identify resource efficiency improvement opportunities in some existing large scale public buildings in Kigali such as the Nyarugenge Pension Plaza, Administrative Office Complex, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MINAFFET) and Rwanda Development Board (RDB) buildings. These improvement opportunities are in areas of energy consumption, water consumption and waste management.
Moreover, the GBMCS matters in Rwanda’s green growth journey, and could be showcased as one example of progress made so far in GGGI’s support because globally, the building and construction sector accounted for 36% of final energy use and 39% of energy and process-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2018.
In Rwanda, the building sector contributes just under 1 MtCO2e in 2012 and is set to grow to over 6 MtCO2e by 2050 under a Business as Usual (BAU) scenario. The conservative estimate of annual CO2 mitigation potential by ‘greening’ only 74 existing large-scale public buildings operating in Kigali and 6 Secondary cities would be 6,364 tCO2e/annum. This directly contributes towards the implementation of the updated Rwanda NDC.
How does GGGI assess Rwanda’s progress towards achieving SDG targets as well as NDC implementation?
All the projects implemented, and technical support provided by the GGGI team in Rwanda is intentionally linked to supporting the Government of Rwanda in achieving the SDG targets as well as NDC implementation. This also aligns with GGGI Strategy 2030 which sets the course for GGGI’s effort to effectively support its Members’ needs’ in transforming their economies toward environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive green growth.
The Government of Rwanda as a signatory to the 2015 Paris Agreement is showing leadership and has been forward thinking in terms of finalizing the updated NDC report that was submitted in May 2020. The NDC has been integrated into monitoring and evaluation frameworks of the government. Our role as GGGI is to support rather than to monitor Rwanda’s progress. Each of our projects are designed to be aligned with Rwanda’s NDC implementation. We monitor how each of our projects contributes to these goals.
Adapting to Climate Change poses both a challenge and an opportunity for development. Using the Green Climate Fund National Adaptation Plan (GCF NAP) Project on Building Flood Resilience Capacities in Rwanda that you are currently implementing with the Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), could you state how you expect to overcome the inherent challenges, present development opportunities while building resilience?
The National Adaptation Plan project is to support institutions and enhance governance structures through technical advisory and capacity building. The GCF NAP project selected five urban sites across the country that are facing different levels of urbanization while tackling the increasing impact of climate change, specifically floods and landslides.
The NAP project is an opportunity to improve the conditions on the ground through localized interventions upstream and downstream of the respective selected catchment areas and urban boundaries. Extensive stakeholder engagement and community consultations has resulted in a strong sense of ownership from which we continue to identify issues and draw solutions that are cross sectoral.
At the core of the project is the strengthening of coordination, complementarity, and building synergies with other ongoing initiatives. The project accentuates the need to build community resilience through a gender equality and social inclusion lens while triggering private sector investments through project pipelines tailored to tap into climate finance for implementation.
Why is it important for countries to be proactive in implementing Article 6 of the Paris Agreement?
Article 6 of the Paris Agreement is particularly important for least developed countries (LDCs). With the inclusion of Article 6, countries are incentivized to develop ways to enhance climate change mitigation in emerging economies where rapid urbanization and industrialization are increasing overall emissions.
Article 6 facilitates partnerships and encourages international cooperation and collaboration on achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. GGGI is working with some of its Members in the initial stages of implementing Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. Some lessons learnt from this work can be found in a summary report on “Designing Governance Structure and Transactional Documentation for Mitigation Outcome Transactions under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement” published earlier this year.
What kind of assistance is GGGI offering to countries to effectively implement Article 6?
GGGI has developed projects to support countries such as Morocco and Senegal to develop policy approaches under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. GGGI is also working with the Swedish Energy Agency to support countries to develop new institutional frameworks to make them compliant with Article 6 through Mobilizing Article 6 Trading Structure (MATS) Programme.
These types of initiatives provide opportunities to share lessons learned and knowledge exchange across different country programs to incentivize climate mitigation interventions that would otherwise be cost prohibitive to implement for low and middle-income countries.
How is GGGI galvanizing international cooperation on mitigation to close the “emissions gap”?
One of the ways GGGI galvanizes international cooperation is by serving not only as a project implementation agent, but also as a knowledge partner. With this approach, GGGI can leverage the best practices identified in our Members to replicate and scale solutions that are effective. This is an essential component of our work not only to foster North-South relationships and technology transfer, but also South-South exchanges and cooperation. This is done by having Communities of Practice across different sectors that can identify interventions that are the most effective such as reducing GHG emissions, strengthening resilience and mobilizing investments.
GGGI shares knowledge about project successes but also challenges to shorten the learning curve to replicate effective projects that respond to each Members’ needs and context. We are able to galvanize this cooperation due to our broad network of global partners as well as the strong country presence with an embedded structure with our government partners.
Going forward, what are the priorities for GGGI to help Rwanda meet its Climate ambition targets?
GGGI aims to continue supporting the Government of Rwanda not only in mainstreaming green growth, but also in assisting in the post-covid recovery plans. This is aligned to the government’s Economic Recovery Plan to mobilize green investments, create green jobs, and additional resources for rebuilding the country’s economy in a way that is more sustainable and inclusive than before. This is a challenge that all countries are facing.
For GGGI Rwanda, we have focused on urban resilience due to the role cities have in the economic growth of the country and the impact of shocks on urban centers. We have also identified some key sectors where GGGI Rwanda can provide specialized expert technical support: building and construction, sustainable mobility, and applying circular economy approaches to waste management.
GGGI Rwanda has also developed a project on green entrepreneurship to aid in the country’s post-covid recovery by creating green jobs that can address youth unemployment. These are the most effective ways GGGI has identified to support Rwanda to meet not only its climate ambition targets, but also its plans and objectives for economic recovery.
Author : The East African Newspaper