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Green Climate Fund (GCF) Readiness and preparatory support to implement Green City Development Projects in Rwanda’s Secondary Cities

11th July, at the Kigali Convention Center,  the GCF readiness project closure workshop was held to communicate the knowledge acquired, and share lessons learnt from implementing the GCF readiness project and highlight the way forward ,with a dialogue to receive input from the participants. The workshop organized in collaboration with  Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), Rwanda Housing Authority (RHA), Ministry of Environment (MoE), Ministry of Infrastructure (MININFRA) attracted a vast audience from academia, women and youth organisations , public and private sector.

Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Environment, Fatina Mukarubibi

Permanent Secretary , Ministry of Environment Fatina Mukarubibi in her remarks thanked all key players of the GCF Readiness project considered a catalyst to the sustainability of Rwanda green cities development. She emphasized that climate resilience is the responsibility of all involved in green city development and the GCF readiness project is an example of building a baseline for green city development.”

Mr Faustin Munyazikwiye ,Deputy Director General for Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), added that the GFC Readiness project was developed with the purpose of advancing and developing green secondary cities by embedding green growth elements to mitigate adverse impact of climate change on our cities. Rwanda is among one of the first countries in Africa to have an accredited entity at the national level and have access to the readiness funding.

Mr Faustin Munyazikwiye ,Deputy Director General for Rwanda environment Management Authority (REMA)

GGGI Rwanda Country Representative Inhee Chung GGGI  encouraged all stakeholders to continue forging collaboration and partnerships and mentioned the importance of the GCF readiness project in building the resilience of the secondary cities  but also to contribute towards the national government plans such as Rwanda National Strategy for Transformation (NST1), Rwanda Nationally Determined Contributions( NDC).

The Green Climate Fund contributes to the achievement of the ultimate objective of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Fund promotes the paradigm shift towards low-emission and climate-resilient development pathways by providing support to developing countries to limit or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the impacts of climate change, taking into account the needs of those developing countries particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.

The GCF readiness knowledge sharing workshop was a platform for all key players to present the revised Secondary Cities and City of Kigali Detailed Physical Plans  and strengthen understanding of engagement with GCF for climate finance and green investment opportunities in Rwanda.

The GCF Readiness Support project has created enablers  for the implementation of key climate change frameworks including Rwanda’s Green Growth and Climate Resilient Strategy (2011-2050) and the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).  The GCF Readiness Project has helped build a baseline for the next stages of green city implementation, and has enforced the implementation of commitments iterated in the National Urbanization Policy, National Land Use Development Management Plan, District Development Plans and Strategies, as well as the National Gender Policies and other frameworks ensuring sustainable development of Rwanda, and including the National Gender policy and the National Strategy for Community Development to promote inclusive local socio-economic development in all spatial plans of our secondary cities.

Vincent Rwigamba , Division Manager , Rwanda Housing Authority  said Nyagatare was chosen as the pilot to guide other secondary cities in the development of green city. Several major aspects were identified in the review of the master plan such as  green mobility (bicycle sharing), smart city, climate resilience cities. He further acknowledged and recognized the role of District Technical Assistants that work permanently in the Districts and supported the district office with stakeholder engagements and documenting the review process for the master plan.

The GCF team presented their report on project readiness assessment ,completed activities in strengthening the capacity of the NDA and NCT ; introduce green growth and climate resilient project concepts and elaborated on the engagement with GCF for climate finance and green investment opportunities in Rwanda. Green public spaces  that will promote better living standards and mitigate impacts of climate change were one of the pipeline projects that will set a benchmark in Nyagatare. Another achievement is the capacity building for district staff that has given them the opportunity to be able to make green city development plans in the future rather than relying on external expertise.

Mr. Enrico Moriello , Principal Planner -Surbana Jurong – SMEC gave a thorough  presentation on Green Growth in the City Detailed Physical Planning for the City of Kigali and Secondary Cities. He mentioned ehe achieved outputs came from the interventions of the local stakeholders and local community, such as urban boundaries, Vision and conceptual Development Plans. He further elaborated that the review of the Master Plans will be fully participatory and stakeholders will continuously receive updates and afforded the opportunity to provide comments and inputs. Citizens without access to internet will be supported through Irembo agents to be able to visualize the Master Plans online. The 3 main pillars in the process are Inclusive Urban Growth, Green and Clean Infrastructure, Efficient resource management, Green Tourism and Environmental Resilience. The Vision and Concepts for the Cities have been set considering factors of Green Growth and Green City Development and the collection and analysis of data facilitated in the identification and strategies towards Economic Transformation. Other aspects of Green Growth in the Cities being considered included the Compact Transit Oriented model, Inclusive Planning, Land subdivision is done in implementable way.

Following a presentation  on Green City Development Thematic Project Concept Notes was made by Ms. Liliane Mupende, Senior Green Cities Development Consultant, GGGI. She explained the six strategic results areas on mitigation and adaptation and six investment criteria. She also elaborated on the concept notes developed that focused on different policies such as NDC’s , SPCR, NUP, NECCP, and Sector Strategic Plans and National Gender policy. The Thematic Concept Notes with their specific outcomes are Resilient and Inclusive Urban Neighborhoods  ; Urban and Peri-Urban Agroforestry ; Green Industry and Waste to Resource (W2R).

In his detailed presentation Jean Pierre Munyeshyaka , GGGI Senior Associate, Green Urbanization said the project results achieved included strengthening the NDA’s coordination capacity to align going green growth activities with green cities and sustainable infrastructure development ; strengthening the GCF National Coordination Team in monitoring and evaluation for climate finance flows and oversight and active consultative stakeholder engagement with private sector and key players. He further elaborated on lessons learnt in aligning to different Institutional initiatives  and matching the fund requirements with country operational frameworks.

“The capacity development delivered to the National Designated Authority ( NDA), Accredited Entity (AE) and National Coordination Team (NCT) has equipped national officers with the knowledge and tools needed to make evidence-based policies to respond to the impacts of climate change. The training prepared them to interact more efficiently with GCF processes, including writing project proposals to the Fund. There is more work to be done in particular in prospect to accessing the many facilities of GCF, including opportunities for the private sector. We are working towards bridging this gap by proposing that Rwanda attain another accredited entity that will be dedicated to accessing climate finance through the GCF Private Sector facility.”

GGGI Lead, Rwanda Country Program Coordinator  ,Daniel Okechukwu Ogbonnaya illustrated lessons learnt and challenges stating the lessons documented from the first 3 secondary cities  ,that will inform the remaining project implementation. The initial results of the GCF Readiness projects are moving towards implementation, whereby project output and outcome are being presented from readiness support with the project concepts that will be taken forward for further development and potential investment.

During the panel discussion with representatives from REMA, Rwanda Housing Authority, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Infrastructure ,all stakeholders including districts were encouraged to brainstorm on more bankable projects in order for more accessible finance to be mobilized toward the implementation of Green Growth strategies.

Rwanda Housing Authority highlighted the importance of translating policies to what can be done on the ground at the local level, to drive processes by working closely with consultants involved in the review of the master plans of the secondary cities. Project teams need to ensure compliance with policies and laws in the country and have comprehensive consultation mechanism put in place to address local and national priorities.  A National technical advisory group with government institutions, Rwanda Women’s Network (RWN), private sector, youth organisations and civil society should be established as an inclusive engagement for all stakeholders to be represented.

Inhee Chung , GGGI Rwanda Country Representative

As a way forward, it was agreed that project concept notes will be taken to the next level which is the Project Preparation Facility (PPF) that will be looking at  pre-feasibility studies, as one of the windows of GCF financing. It was also mentioned that more projects can be implemented through different mechanisms. The requirement would be  to synergize and match efforts toward the realization of those specific projects. Having taken into consideration the day discussions and input from the participants. Inhee Chung gave summary way forward by indicating that further capacity development for the NDA, DAE, NCT, District office, government ministries will continue to ensure and build institutional readiness ; Focus  on thematic Concept Notes to target Bankable Projects and continued outreach and engagement with development partners, private sector, academia , communities, youth, women.