The recently established Adaptation Fund Board (AFB) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has accredited the South African National Biodiversity Institute (Sanbi) as a national implementing entity.
The Adaptation Fund was established to finance adaptation projects and programmes in developing country parties to the Kyoto Protocol, and is financed from the share of proceeds on the clean development mechanism (CDM) project activities and other sources of funding. It is supervised and managed by the AFB, which is composed of 16 members and 16 alternates and meets at least twice a year.
The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) noted that the Adaptation Fund has the unique feature of direct access, which is unprecedented for an environmental financial mechanism, through which developing countries can apply for resources without the intermediation of multilateral development institutions such as the World Bank.
National implementing entities are the bodies that facilitate this direct access, and Sanbi is now responsible for this role in South Africa, in collaboration with South Africa’s Designated National Authority, and the DEA.
The appointment was significant for South Africa in securing the funds needed to plan the country’s development trajectory in a way that was responsive to climate change, the DEA added.
The national implementing entity accreditation process is stringent, and requires demonstration of financial integrity and management, institutional capacity, transparency and self-investigative powers. This accreditation is thus a milestone for Sanbi, placing it at the forefront of funding mechanisms available to support climate change adaptation projects.
Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said that climate change adaptation was at the forefront of South Africa’s national climate change response strategy, as a means to ensure food and water security, reduce the incidence and vulnerability of communities to natural disasters, protect the integrity of ecosystems and ensure livelihoods continue to flourish in the face of increasing climate uncertainty.
“Sanbi’s appointment is particularly pertinent as Sanbi works closely with national climate change policy makers, and has led national initiatives relating to climate change adaptation. Sanbi is also developing South Africa’s Second National Communication on Climate Change for the upcoming UNFCCC conference of the parties (COP 17), to be held in Durban later this year and this accreditation is another feather in their cap that we most welcome,” said Molewa.
Sanbi will be part of the process of designing and putting into action an implementing entity that is responsive to South Africa’s needs, informed by the best available scientific and socioeconomic information required to prioritise key adaptation projects.