By Southern Times Writer
European Union (EU) Ambassador to Namibia Jana Hybaskova has reaffirmed the trading blocs commitment to assist Namibia in combating effects of climate change and driving clean energy sources through financing and also called adoption of renewable energy as a long term solution to power shortages in the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
While acknowledging that Namibia has made tremendous strides in combating the effects of climate change and driving clean energy usage, Hybaskova warned that the country still needs to drastically improve on implementation of key national strategies if all plans laid down are to see fruition.
“The EU has provided and will keep providing substantial climate funding to support climate action in partner countries and we are committed to make 20% of entire EU development cooperation policies and instruments 'climate-relevant' for the period 2014-2020.
“At least 20% of the European Commission's multi-annual budget is dedicated to climate action. The implementation of the Paris Agreement is also reflected as priority in our financial instruments- both domestic (such as European Fund for Strategic Investment) and external (European External Investment Plan). A recent study shows that 25% or € 115 billion of the overall EU support to ESIF of € 454 billion contribute to the EU climate change policy objectives,” she said.
She reiterated that the EU has spread their support to combating climate change across different sectors worldwide including Namibia and they will continue in that format in the future.
“EU support to climate action spans over all sectors, with a particular focus on adaptation, building resilience, disaster risk reduction and renewable energy; and further integrating climate change considerations across programming standards, methods and processes. It will be articulated around the NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions) that countries prepared in view of the Paris Agreement, and closely linked to the Agenda 2030 and the SDGs. The EU in the period 2014-2020 has put in place instruments and funding amounting to more than EUR 3.5 billion of grants,” she said
The current EU budget assigned for Namibia for Climate Change adaptation and mitigation Actions is EUR 7.1 million.
“The majority of the projects support includes actions to counter land degradation and adapt to climate change variability through the improvement of rangeland management practices and the utilisation of conservation agriculture as a basis for sustainable crop production and improved food security.
“The EU is also rendering support to strategic national platforms such as the Namibian rangeland management forum, and in the energy sector is funding the production of carbonized encroaching bush briquettes to be used as a form of alternative energy,” she said.
She added that the EU kick-started news products in March this year aiming at promoting mitigation strategies and sustainable actions that contribute to renewable energy usage and energy use efficiency in rural communities of Namibia.
“Actions were awarded in order to enhance the Namibian regulatory framework and investment climate for renewable energy, to promote the generation of renewable forms of energy and/or to promote energy efficiency and saving measures in rural areas of Namibia.
“Most of the EU's support to Namibia is articulated through the European Development Fund (EDF). The strategy and priorities for EU development assistance is done in collaboration with the Government of the Republic of Namibia to ensure that the EU supports the national priorities and areas where EU assistance adds value,” she said.
According to the EU the past five years EU provided support to Namibia in the sectors of Education, Rural Development and Infrastructure (including environment), Governance, Support to Civil Society and Non-State Actors, and Health.
“ In the previous 5-year support ended 2013, EU provided over EUR 105 million to Namibia and at present EUR 68 million is committed for Namibia for the period 2014 to 2020.
“EU support to humanitarian crises is provided through European Commission's civil protection and humanitarian aid office (ECHO). EU humanitarian aid is rendered on the need basis and in places where it is required the most. Our field offices in more than 40 countries are our eyes and ears on the ground, ensuring a regular monitoring of crises and allowing the Commission to target its assistance to people's needs. We liaise regularly with more than 200 humanitarian partner organisations around the world, including UN agencies, NGOs and international organisations, such as the Red Cross family,” she said
According to the EU Ambassador humanitarian assistance to Namibia has been provided in the past in response to floods and drought through the National Red Cross Society and UN Agencies.
“The European Union has taken on a leading role in the world when it comes to energy system change and EU has a commitment to the increase of renewable energy to at least 20% in 2020. EU recognises that the success to support clean energy sources requires first and foremost a stable political framework, as well as a well-tailored support system, financial, technical and administrative, to overcome the obstacles existing in distorted energy markets. These are the elements that EU continues to support around the world,” said.
She also added that In at least 20% of the European Commission's multi-annual budget is dedicated to climate action.
“The implementation of the Paris Agreement is also reflected as priority in our financial instruments- both domestic (such as European Fund for Strategic Investment) and external (European External Investment Plan). EU has a number of various instrument to support investment in energy such as grants, blending and private equity funds accessed through European Investment Bank.
“The EU has been cutting its own greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) for over 25 years while continuing to grow the economy. EU GHG emissions in 2015 were 22% below 1990 levels while GDP is around 45% higher,” she said
The EU has also been at the forefront of the transition to a low-carbon, secure and competitive climate-resilient economy with ambitious 2030 Climate and Energy policy framework.
“To implement the EU's commitments under the Paris Agreement, all the necessary legal proposals the proposals to implement the 2030 climate and energy framework and our domestic target of at least 40% GHG emission reductions by 2030 have been already put forward. In addition to this, the legislation on CO2 emissions for the post-2020 period for cars and vans, setting new emission targets and fostering the transition towards low- and zero-emission vehicles is being prepared as well as new monitoring and reporting standards for.
“Yes, there is a lot of good initiative happening at global and continental level in terms of Africa renewable energy initiatives and Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation programmes that support the development of markets for renewable energy in Africa,” she sais.
The EU Ambassador reiterated that capacity development continues to be a key aspect of their engagement in Namibia and the African continent for the future.
“There is an acute lack of sufficient capacity to meet the energy demands in many Southern Africa countries, not only in Namibia. Overall this has resulted in low levels of access to modern energy and trade in energy in the region. Furthermore, the capacity of regional connections is insufficient, and the availability of reliable energy is inadequate.
This has spurred the development of several projects particularly in the field of generation and transmission (including cross-border interconnection) and it is evident that regional energy stability and trade is becoming increasingly important,” said .
The rather enthusiastic diplomat also added that, “It is therefore, of the utmost importance to enhance sustainable, reliable, cost effective and environmentally friendly energy supply at a regional level. Key to this is a harmonized regulatory framework that provides a stable, predictable environment to attract investments and promotion of renewable energy and energy efficiency.
This is an essential requirement to improve general access to electricity and for the growth of industries which will reduce poverty, create wealth and enhance social and economic development in the region.” -TST archives