Climate finance, what is missing?

Climate finance, what is missing?

A session on up-scaling and climate finances proved to be an interesting one at the 6th Mediterranean Forest Week in Lebanon. Situated towards the end of the conference, the session offered a conclusion, the bottom lines, and what points to take home on the issue of funding climate change.

A good chunk of the session involved donors talking about the technicalities of applications and calls for proposal. Others were either asking or thanking donors for their funds. This was slightly different to what I expected out of the session.

Nonetheless, it still holds a powerful lesson for any climate mitigation projects to regard funding and financing as a core to their business.

In the beginning of the session, Ziad Samaha from the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Regional Office for West Asia, explained the current call for proposals for funding climate mitigation projects in Lebanon. He said that funds will be purposed for supporting Lebanese
partnerships between universities, companies, and organizations.

Panelist Dietmar Ueberbacher, an environmental project manager and climate change consultant working in Lebanon, Africa, and Europe, also pointed out the importance of grants given to biosphere reserves. These grants pave the way for the development of mixed buffer zones which involve citizens who are enabled to be part of sustainable development.

During this session, one of the panelists shared a Lebanese experience of upscale. Mr. Nizar Hani, General Manager of the Shouf Biosphere Reserve told the audience about the guidelines followed by the reserve in its efforts towards wildlife conservation. The guidelines were the outcome of a fund from the European Union (EU) in cooperation with the Lebanese Ministry of Agriculture.

The guidelines were built around a focus on the mountainous landscape of the location; and upon principles of social inclusion, engagement and practicality. A modern approach was taken, targeting threats such as urbanisation, overgrazing, overhunting and natural disaster. Shouf Biosphere Reserve, which has been receiving solid support from the international community, presented a good case on what it takes to be worthy of this support.

In conclusion, I feel that this session really delivered a promising perspective. For us to stand a good chance of reducing the imminent global dangers of climate change, new mentalities and behaviours, which were outlined in this session, will need to be adopted. Everyone must be involved in climate mitigation/adaptation projects and activities.

Partnerships between various sectors and institutions are vital to ensure momentum and success in our efforts. Everyone needs to be involved, from the smallest of farmers to the biggest of companies. And for that to happen, equitable economic interest and benefit are needed. Donors also need to pay attention to these facts and place their money where their words are because funding is the key to building a foundation for up-scaling efforts to combat climate change.

Blogpost by Hussein Ali Ghandour