During the first-ever meeting of the Rwanda Private Sector and Climate Change Adaptation Platform held on 15th May 2018 in Kigali, the members of this platform agreed on the need to strengthen collaboration to make businesses resilient to the effects of climate change and tap into the new opportunities that come from a changing climate.
The meeting was organized with the theme “Sharing practical experiences of private sector initiatives in environment and climate change adaptation in Rwanda” by the Albertine Rift Conservation Society (ARCOS Network), in collaboration with Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and with financial support from Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). The meeting was attended by the representatives of NGOs, Private Sector and Government institutions and some representatives from other African countries who explored the common interests and sought to understand, discuss and share experiences on the operationalization of a mechanism to promote climate resilient businesses and green initiatives in Rwanda.
The Rwanda Private Sector and Climate Change Adaptation Platform was established during the Environment and Sustainable Business Development Dialogue held on 21st November 2017 with the objective to provide opportunity for different private sector companies and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) across the country to explore their common interests, understand, discuss and share experience on different ways and practices that promote climate resilient businesses and other green initiatives in Rwanda.
“This is a good opportunity since now we have a platform to hear from and share the experiences with private sector. As you all know the development aspirations of our country, wants our economy to be private sector-led economy. If we talk about the development driven by private sector, we need the latter to understand the things that can hamper that development in one way or another. The climate change is real and we need to adapt; the National Adaptation Programme was developed and it is time for the private sector to effectively join in”, said Faustin Munyazikwiye, Deputy Director General, Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), in his opening remarks.
The Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement both recognize that economic growth and economic development cannot continue without all countries tackling climate change and boosting environmental sustainability. The Government of Rwanda has put in place polices and developed its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), which shows its commitment to deal with climate change impacts. Transitioning from the current development pathway to a low-carbon and climate resilient agenda will require significant investment and innovation and, more importantly, a shift in the way the public and the private sector make decisions.
“Climate change is real and is causing massive losses and there are no discussions on this. For instance, during this rainy season in Rwanda, more than 200 people have died because of landslides, flooding imposed by climate change. It is a challenge but also an opportunity for the private sector because we need new businesses and new approaches. We can make things better if we all come together”, said Bodo Immink, GIZ Country Director, Rwanda
The impacts of climate change present a significant challenge to the private sector, especially to SMEs, which are often seen as the drivers of economic growth in many countries. If their viability is threatened by climate variability and extreme weather events, the entire economy will thus suffer.
"It is no longer necessary to stress that the climate change is a fact and it is going to affect us if nothing is done. It is time to move from words to actions and everyone must play his/her role. It is always difficult when you approach things alone but as the platform members we can achieve a lot. Thank you for your commitments to moving the adaptation agenda, within private sector, forward; keep the momentum” Said Dr Sam Kanyamibwa, Executive Director of ARCOS Network.
Many private companies find this initiative very helpful in terms of supporting them to ensure sustainability of their businesses that are threatened by the impacts of the climate change.
“We see climate change in Rwanda as well as in the world and it is critical to tea industry; that is why we are here to discuss the best we can do to adapt to climate change. Private sector is here for business and it is very important to think about the future and the sustainability of their investments. For us who are in agribusiness, climate change adaptation is very important as we depend mostly on rain-fed agriculture,” said Rohith Peiris, Director General of SORWATHE Tea Company.
The participants pledged to frame a strong cooperation to advance the agenda of private sector climate change adaptation. They identified the gaps in information sharing and recommended more effort in raising the awareness and capacity building for all Private companies to understand climate risks and existing opportunities in climate change adaptation and environmental sustainability. They also called on to strengthen the cooperation between Private Sector and other institutions to apply for Climate funds in a bid to address existing barriers in accessing various climate and environment funds. Furthermore, the participants called for the Rwanda’s Private Sector Federation (PSF) to be more engaged and become the main actors to drive forward the implementations of climate change adaptation including supporting the Private Sector and Climate Change Platform operationalization, among others. The private sector can play a great role in the National Adaptation Plan and it is therefore vital to support companies in recognizing and dealing with the risks and opportunities that result from climate change.
The platform meeting is scheduled every year, if you are interested in joining or supporting the organization of platform members meeting, please contact ARCOS Network at [email protected] or call the Focal person on +250788533043
Find the photos of the event here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/albums/72157666963923757