13 September 2011
The South African National Biodiversity Institute (Sanbi) has been chosen as the country’s official body to facilitate access to the Adaptation Fund, set up to help developing countries cope with climate change.
The move has been welcomed by Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa, who said Sanbi was well poised to understand key issues around the global phenomenon.
“Sanbi’s appointment is particularly pertinent as it works closely with national climate change policy makers, and has led national initiatives relating to climate change adaptation,” Molewa said on Sunday.
“Sanbi is also developing South Africa’s Second National Communication on Climate Change for the upcoming UNFCCC COP17, to be held in Durban later this year and this accreditation is another feather in their cap that we most welcome.”
The Adaptation Fund was established by the parties to the Kyoto Protocol of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to finance concrete adaptation projects and programmes in developing countries that are parties to the protocol.
It gives parties direct access, which is unprecedented for an environmental financial mechanism. Developing countries can apply for resources without the involvement of development institutions such as the World Bank.
The Fund seeks to finance projects and programmes whose aim is to improve society’s ability to adapt and cope with the risks posed by climate change.
“As a country that is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, this appointment is significant for South Africa in securing the funds needed to plan our development trajectory in a way that is responsive to climate change,” the Department of Environmental Affairs said in a statement.
The fund became fully operational in January, with nearly US$50-million worth of grants already approved in 2011.