Netherlands invests generously in Green Climate Fund

The government is set to invest €100 million in the Green Climate Fund, as proposed by the foreign trade and development minister, Lilianne Ploumen, and her environment counterpart, Wilma Mansveld. The GCF is a new international fund managed by the United Nations to help developing countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions (mitigation) and cope with the effects of climate change (adaptation).

Ms Ploumen announced the news in Rwanda, which she is currently visiting with a trade delegation made up of 29 companies. The money comes from her climate budget. ‘It’s vital that the GCF becomes operational soon because there is an urgent need for action,’ she says.

At the last climate summit in Copenhagen, the international community agreed to establish an international climate fund to support climate projects by developing countries. In the run-up to the December 2014 climate summit in Lima, several countries are announcing their contributions to the Green Climate Fund. This will give a major boost to the international negotiations which are to result in a new international climate treaty in Paris next year.

Ms Ploumen: ‘Climate projects also have a social component. The Netherlands has expressly demanded that impact on gender equality and poverty reduction also be taken into account when assessing applications for GCF financing. We also advocate private sector investment in climate projects in developing countries via the Fund. Such investment will play a crucial role in the transformation towards climate-neutral and climate-resilient development pathways.’

Her counterpart Ms Mansveld agrees. ‘By contributing to the Fund, the Netherlands is saying that action must be taken against the effects of climate change in these countries. In this way, prosperous countries, businesses and other organisations are showing solidarity with countries that do not have the money or expertise to defend themselves against climate change. And the Netherlands is giving more than just money. By sharing our expertise on water, flood protection and techniques to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we are helping developing countries cope better with climate change.’

The Netherlands is already investing in a number of climate projects in Africa’s Great Lakes region, which Ms Ploumen is currently visiting. Projects like the energy network in Rwanda and DR Congo can serve as an example to the Green Climate Fund. This project aims to reduce the use of charcoal as cooking fuel – a major cause of deforestation in the region.

The Netherlands also supports a Rwandan project, which Ms Ploumen visited yesterday, where methane gas is extracted from Lake Kivu for electricity generation. The project thus reduces both greenhouse gas emissions and the danger methane poses to the local population. In addition, having its own source of renewable energy benefits the region’s economic and social development.

Another interesting example is the integrated water management programme that aims to reduce drought, erosion and water pollution in Rwanda. The extreme weather caused by climate change leads to droughts and floods, which can hamper a country’s socioeconomic development. The Dutch approach helps reduce poverty, clean the environment and lessen the impact of climate change. The Green Climate Fund offers opportunities for supporting similar projects and programmes in developing countries on a large scale.