News / Africa

World Bank Works to Promote Environmentally-Sensitive Development Projects

Reuben Kyama

Development experts are urging African policymakers to increase the number of projects that reduce carbon emissions, which in turn cause pollution and climate change. The World Bank is working with African countries to help attract such so-called green investments in renewable energy, forestry and other areas.

A manager of the institution’s BioCarbon Fund, Ellysar Baroudy, says the Bank is taking part in a series of projects around the region aimed at helping impoverished communities enjoy environmental and financial benefits from carbon finance.

Funding the projects are some of the world’s biggest polluters, including industrialized countries like the United States, China and the European Union.

In Niger, a project producing Arabic gum, helps absorb carbon dioxide. In Madagascar, Baroudy says a reforestation effort links two national parks: “It’s got 122 tree species, done to try to mimic nature and extend the range of park because of the value of tourism in Madagascar.”

The U.N.’s Kyoto Protocol was designed to fight global warming. Industrialized nations are expected to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions to 1990 levels with most reductions coming domestically. Under the protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), companies and other investors in developed countries can earn carbon credits, or Certified Emission Reductions (CDRs), whose value is linked to the price of carbon dioxide.

Western companies can invest up to 15 percent of their CDRS in projects that reduce carbon emissions in Africa and the developing world.

UN official John Kilani says “The credits are based on real measurable and additional reductions that would not have occurred in the absence of the project [so, they contribute to mitigation efforts].”

The United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) says Africa has more than 120 carbon market projects up and running -- or in the pipeline -- in areas ranging from wind power to forestry. But compared with the rest of the world, the continent is still lagging, and its potential for clean and green energy is still largely untapped.

There are several reasons why.

Senior Communications Officer of the World Bank’s Carbon Finance Unit, Isabel Hagbrink, says they include a lack of financing and involvement by the private sector, and a failure by some African governments to back the projects or to take the lead. Many investors are more likely to invest in carbon reduction projects in regions with high rates of greenhouse gas emissions. In comparison, Africa’s are relatively low. Some African countries also lack technical support with many trained staff leaving for better paying jobs in industrialized countries.

John Kilani is with the secretariat of the UNFCCC. He says the groundwork has been laid for Africa to boost its participation in the carbon market which is growing as an important commodities market worldwide: “Africa has not fared very well so far…but we are optimistic that the situation hopefully will change in a few months ahead.”

The World Bank report, called “State and Trends of the Carbon Market 2009,” says in the past two years a number of countries have entered the CDM pipeline, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa.

Development experts note that there are currently about 120 projects now in Africa, with most of them in the larger countries like South Africa. According to the UN Environmental Program, efforts planned in Kenya and Uganda have jumped from about two in each country in 2007, to nearly 15.

The UN Environment Program (UNEP) says they include a number of initiatives to improve the economy and the environment. For example, they can develop fuel for electricity generation with methane gas from landfills or hydropower from rivers and dams. Also popular are efforts to regenerate forests, absorb carbon dioxide from the air and also replenish nutrients in the soil. They help prevent flooding. In one example in Kenya, the Bank is working with the Green Belt Movement, founded by Nobel Peace laureate Wangari Maathai. Its goal is to plant trees using a community-based approach by a local group called Women for a Better Environment.

The UN agency says there could well be over 240 such projects in Africa within the next two years.

But Baroudy warns that it will be difficult for African countries to enjoy the full potential of carbon finance without a concerted effort to promote land use and forestry projects. They must also work to overcome the challenges that remain -- such as project finance and capacity building.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countriesi
X
December 16, 2014 2:14 PM
Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.
Video

Video Indonesian Province to Expand Sharia Law

Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population and a legal system based on Dutch civil law and Indonesian government regulations. But in a 2001 compromise with separatists, Aceh province in Sumatra island’s north was allowed to implement Sharia law. Since then, religious justice has become increasingly strict. VOA correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh.
Video

Video Some Russian Businesses Thrive in Poor Economy

Capital flight, the fall in oil prices and Western sanctions are pushing Russia's staggering economy into recession. But not companies are suffering. The ruble’s drop in value has benefited exporters as well as businesses targeting increasingly frugal customers. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.

All About America

AppleAndroid