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Stories from the field

Report on Global Climate Change Alliance Conference 15-18th October, Kigali (Rwanda)

Antonio CHAMORRO in Rwanda

Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) is an initiative of EU DEVCO (Development and Cooperation EU), that has invested €750 million worldwide during 2007-2020 to support Climate Change projects. Speciifically GCCA is a support facility, which deliver funds through regional projects. In Africa, there are seven regional pilot projects, these projects implemented in collaboration with EU Delegations, link to DEVCO. The best approach across countries is to offer an integrated Climate Change approach and Disaster Risk Reduction.

GCCA held a 4-day conference in Kigali, Rwanda from 15 to 18 October 2019. During the four intensive days, representatives from municipal and national governments from different African countries, civil society, development partners, and private sector together with EU Delegation representatives participated in the event to discuss about different issues related to Climate Change actions. I was participating as an EU Aid Volunteer for Trocaire Rwanda.

During the first day, there was a workshop reflecting on the effectiveness of Natural Based Solutions to lift people out of poverty, and the need for a multi-sectoral and multi-faceted approach. In this sense, GCCA emphasized that adaptations must be nature based. However, effective solutions need actions and require higher goals.

The main topic during the second day of the conference focused on the importance to consider and establish partnerships related to Ecosystem based approaches. This needs coordination between administrations and territories. Moreover, solutions require a local approach and strong coordination. In addition, it was highlighted that it is essential to consider a more efficient financial climate dimension, as ecosystems services relate to provisioning, regulation and trade off.

During the third and final day of the conference, the main issue was climate financing, and the need to establish actions, policies and frameworks. The showcase of several case studies, where different tools and solutions are protracted help to understand the implementation of climate financial programs.  In the afternoon, participants collectively analysed Climate Change policies for Rwanda considering issues related to renewable energy, transport, forestry, nursery, agroforestry, biomass agriculture and water.  

In relation to the measures needed in the agriculture sector to face climate change, improvements of agriculture technologies and   capacity building are key to combat drought. This involves rainwater-harvesting technologies something that Trocaire is implementing the promotion of rainwater harvesting tanks and ponds in the communities. In addition, the use of livestock and organic manure to improve soil and landscape management through planting trees is important as it guarantees natural regeneration. On the other hand, it is essential moving people from high-risk zones, which should be coordinated with a proper plan related to soil and land use.

Crop diversification is key for Climate Change, in this line sense Trocaire is pushing forward to identify Agricultural markets including stakeholders, together with the promotion of alternative off-farm activities not related to agriculture in order to diversify household income and ensure resilience building of communities.

However, in order to be successful it is important to develop partnerships with academia, ministries, cooperatives, media and green banks.  Trocaire has been co-chairing the Network of International NGOs (NINGO) Agriculture Sector Working Group (ASWG) in Rwanda. This ensure that Trocaire is more visible in engagement with other INGOs, government, and development partners. This is essential to show an effective response for Climate Change.

Besides climate actions, there is need of using data tracking for climate-oriented decisions.   Trocaire has Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Advisors who are data analysis specialists such as Desire Nduwayezu and Kaneza Irene Bella. In the Conference, it was underscored that there is a need to identify the role of the government to manage data. Governments need to promote the use of tracking systems and smart indicators.

The conference closed with a field trip to plant trees in the surrounded areas of Kigali.  During the visit, the conference participants had a conversation with the members of a cooperative that make use of the wood to generate economic resources for the community. This points the importance of establishment partnerships at different levels that considers soil restoration and the generation of economic inputs at the local level. However, the fact that the tree species promoted in this community was Eucalyptus, which is link to toxicity, invites local stakeholders in Rwanda for a further reflexion about the effectiveness of the measures implemented. In some instances there is a lack of an integral approach that show result to mitigate Climate Change

For more information on the GCCA, see the website: