Farmers rely on natural resources like rangelands for grazing, wetlands for water supply and croplands for growing food, which are at risk because of climate change impacts such as droughts and floods.
To avert this challenge, UNDP is supporting Eswatini to develop a proposal to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) worth $20 million to enhance farmers’ resilience through the sustainable management of ecosystems and watersheds. The project is developed under the UNDP-led multi-country regional programme for Southern Africa titled: Integrated ecosystems and watershed management for climate-resilient agricultural and pastoral systems in Southern Africa.
The proposed project is titled, increasing the resilience of Eswatini’s agropastoral communities through integrated ecosystem and watershed management. It will focus on the restoration and improved management of degraded ecosystems, rangelands, and croplands within watersheds to maximise future water availability. Its development is at an advanced stage as stakeholders convened on 25 May 2022 to submit their inputs to the draft proposal ahead of its submission to the GCF.
Addressing the stakeholders, UNDP Acting Deputy Resident Representative, Ms. Jane. O. Yeboah said that it is important for Eswatini to produce bankable proposals that will bring much-needed investment to the country.
“We need to build the capacity to access climate finance,” said Ms. Yeboah.
She urged the stakeholders to use the opportunity of developing the proposal to learn and identify skills and data gaps that the country needs to access the GCF Readiness Programme, adding that it is a flexible tool to support developing countries with up to $1 million per country per year for programmes related to institutional capacity building, coordination, policy planning and investment.
“I’d like to make the following appeal to you. We need to work together instead of silos on issues of land management, ecosystem restoration and agropastoral work which will help us address climate change effects. We must also think of how we can build knowledge systems so that we address the data gaps which are critical to inform policy and development. For instance, how do we ascertain the livelihoods that can be impacted by this project, the multiplier effects on agricultural exports and imports or the gaps in the value chain to inform our response,” Ms. Yeboah told the stakeholders.
Speaking at the same event, Ms. Duduzile Nhlengethwa-Masina, the director of Eswatini Meteorological Service which operates under the Ministry of Tourism and Environmental Affairs, expressed gratitude for the UNDP partnership in implementing the country’s climate action programme.
“This proposal is not only important for climate action but the overall Eswatini economy. EmaSwati are either farming or supporting some farming activity. If agriculture, both livestock and crop production fails, I’m sure emaSwati would be a miserable nation. For us to undertake this work and come up with this project proposal where we can address some of the climate-related challenges in the agro-pastoral area is important,” said Ms. Masina.
She said this proposal is part of the implementation of the revised Nationally Determined Contributions submitted to the UNFCCC in October 2021, a national climate action plan, whose revision was supported under the UNDP Climate Promise. Ms. Nhlengethwa-Masina was representing the Principal Secretary at the Ministry of Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Ms. Khwangeziwe Mabuza.
This proposed project follows the successful implementation of the Strengthening National Protected Area System (SNPAS) project, which was implemented through a partnership between UNDP and Eswatini National Trust Commission (ENTC) under the Ministry of Tourism and Environmental Affairs. With financing from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to the tune of $29 million, the six-year project helped Eswatini to expand its protected areas system from 4.23% in 2020 to 5.5% in 2021.