Environment and Sustainable Business Development Dialogue concludes with a Private Sector and Climate Change Adaptation Platform

On 21st November 2017, at Lemigo Hotel, Kigali Rwanda, private sector, non-governmental organization and government institutions representatives gathered for a dialogue focusing on “Leveraging Adaptation Opportunities, Involving the Private Sector in Implementation of the NDCs in Rwanda”. The discussions during this dialogue culminated in the creation of a platform named “ Private Sector and Climate Change Adaptation Platform.”

During the discussions, the participants recognizes the need for adaptation, commended some on-going interventions and expressed some of the challenges that the private sector actors face.

Faustin Munyazikwiye, the deputy director-general of Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), stressed that building resilience and climate adaptation will not be successful if the private sector continues to lag behind. He said, “If you don’t take into consideration climate change impact, all the money you invested can be washed away in seconds, so we want the private sector to know more about our climate change vulnerability and be part of this battle to build resilience in our country.” Munyazikwiye urged the private sector to seek funding from the Rwanda Green Fund (FONERWA) and the GCF as Rwanda is accredited to apply for funding international agencies whenever they are constrained.

Dr Sam Kanyamibwa, the executive director of the ARCOS network, stressed the need for a collaborative approach to involve all stakeholders to address the adaptation challenges as the private sector engagement to the agenda is very low. He said, “this is an opportunity to share experiences to promote better understanding and awareness about the impact of climate change and some success stories about how things can be done. “We hope that we can come up with agreed way forward to maintain this platform and come up with action in the future where we can support the government agenda for climate change adaptation and implementation of the green growth and climate resilience strategy,” he added. He then thanked GIZ, IUCN, W4GR, and the GoR through REMA.

Some of the approaches were recognized as key to combating climate change and hep in adaptating to its impacts. Those include among others the catchment management approach used by Water for growth and the BEST Approach used by ACROS, an integrated approach to support Nature Based Community Enterprises to improve livelihoods while ensuring environmental sustainability.

In addition, Ebel Smidt called the private sector and SMEs to share ideas, contribute to and be actively involved in utilizing the Water for Growth’s Integrated Water Resources Management Investment Fund and collaborate to access other existing funding opportunities for green growth.

This dialogue was organized by the Albertine Rift Conservation Society (ARCOS Network) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in collaboration with Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Rwanda Water and Forest Authority (RWFA) through its Water for Growth (W4GR) Programme.

Therecommendations drawn from the dialogue include:

  • Private sector should be assisted in developing sustainable business models that integrate climate change adaptation and mitigation;
  • Climate expert tools developed by GIZ for risk and opportunity assessment should be promoted by business associations, private entities and other investors to ensure the consideration and rethinking of business models and value chains according to climate risks;
  • Green Climate Fund to be used by the Private Sector to get climate financing; particularly, Private Sector and SMEs should be facilitated to develop bankable proposals that would help them access funds;
  • Create a Private Sector and Climate Change Adaptation Platform for the private sector and public actors to exchange on demands and needs on both sides and draw measures for adaptation actions and finance. The platform will serve also for exchange on best-practices among companies and SMEs; 
  • Government should play a key role in supporting and strengthening SMEs in Rwanda in investing in sustainable businesses such as provision of incentives such as fiscal exemptions, advocacy for banks to reduce loan interest rates for SMEs climate change adaptation projects, technical support in climate change adaptation;
  • FONERWA and other funding institutions should ease and provide conducive criteria to facilitate private sector to have access to funds and explore options on how SMEs can also benefit from the Fund.

In conclusion, the participants expressed their appreciation for the effort done by ARCOS, GIZ, REMA, IUCN and W4GR to organize this dialogue and recommended to organize regularly the event of the kind at least once a year to increase awareness and exchange on climate change adaptation best practices. They also called Rwanda Private Sector Federation (PSF) to join organizing partners of an event like this.