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Accelerating Climate Action: Rwanda's Programmatic Approach on enhancing access to climate finance

Rwanda's commitment to climate action is underscored by its innovative programmatic transformational shift. This calls for a programmatic approach that involves a transition from short term projects to program/platform financing that underpins speed and scale, through enhanced partnerships for leveraging climate funds, the private sector, enhanced domestic revenues, and other innovative financing mechanisms crucial to demonstrate impact and sustainability of climate action. 

Recognizing the catalytic impact of financing larger programs over smaller projects, the collaboration between the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, and the Green Fund – FONERWA seeks to institutionalize this paradigm shift. The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning has endorsed the National Investment Policy, integrating a component that promotes programmatic investment planning. 

The programmatic shift also seeks to effectively support the revised Green Growth and Climate Resilience Strategy (GGCRS) in alignment with Rwanda’s Vision 2050 which aims to transform Rwanda into a high-income, carbon-neutral, and climate-resilient economy by 2050. The GGCRS integrates adaptation and mitigation actions outlined in the revised NDC across the four thematic program areas: Green Industrialization and Trade; Green Urban Transition and Integration; Sustainable Land Use and Natural Resource Management; and Vibrant Resilient Green Rural Livelihoods. The investment required for GGCRS implementation is projected to reach USD 2 billion annually until 2050. 

Building on the updated NDC submitted to the UNFCCC in 2020, Rwanda, through close collaboration with the NDC Partnership, has developed an NDC implementation framework to support mobilization of climate finance to address the current financing gap of USD 6.5 billion, translating into an annual financing requirement of approximately USD 1 billion until 2030. The Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, and the Green Fund – FONERWA work in tandem to coordinate partners, seeking support to develop a pipeline of investment plans tailored to the GGCRS ensuring alignment with NDC priorities.  Successful pilot projects like the Volcanoes Community Resilience Project and Green Gicumbi project serve as blueprints for these endeavors.  

Rwanda’s Programmatic Approach Priorities

Rwanda strategically prioritizes agriculture and urban development, emphasizing a balanced and sustainable climate action plan. Targeted agricultural programs focus on climate-smart agriculture, rural entrepreneurship, and stormwater management, demonstrating Rwanda's commitment to resilience-building. In urban areas, the nation envisions climate-resilient cities through sustainable planning, improved infrastructure, and green solutions. At COP28, Rwanda's investment plans based on GGCRS thematic pillars will be presented to offer a glimpse into the nation's strides towards achieving climate goals and inspiring global climate action. 

The Taskforce on Access to Climate Finance 

Rwanda plays a pivotal role in the Taskforce on Access to Climate Finance, aiming to deliver measurable changes in access to climate-compatible investments. Co-chaired by Rwanda and the United Kingdom, the Taskforce emphasizes a shift from projects to programs, aligning climate finance with national plans in collaboration with climate finance providers. Pioneer countries, including Rwanda, are at the forefront of trialing this approach, with principles and recommendations published at COP26 addressing concerns of least developed countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Other pilot countries include Bangladesh, Fiji, Jamaica, Mauritius, Somalia, and Uganda. 

The Role of the NDC Partnership

The NDC Partnership plays a pivotal role in Rwanda's programmatic approach to accelerate climate action. The partnership recognizes the importance of supporting countries in accessing climate finance and has actively engaged with the Taskforce in the country. 

To facilitate Rwanda's efforts, the NDC Partnership, through support from Germany, has deployed a coordinator dedicated to the Taskforce to ensure effective coordination, leveraging expertise and resources to fast-track programmatic investment planning. Through the Partnership Action Fund (PAF), two national experts are deployed in Rwanda; an investment Advisor embedded in FONERWA, to lead the development of investment programs and an NDC in country Facilitator embedded in Ministry of Environment leading overall coordination to ensure alignment, resource mobilization and reporting to achieve the NDC targets towards fulfilling the Partis Agreement. 

Rwanda's programmatic approach, coupled with leadership roles in the NDC Partnership and the Taskforce on Access to Climate Finance, positions the country as a global advocate for sustainable development. As Rwanda chairs key committees and leads discussions at COP and other climate events, it serves as an inspiring model for nations seeking comprehensive climate solutions to addressing global climate challenges. 

Cover Photo: robnaw / Adobe Stock