The Belgian development agency Enabel recently launched a new strategy to support its partner countries in dealing with climate change through prevention, adaptation and mitigation. To get a more detailed perspective of this new "Climate Strategy 2017-2020", Glo.be met Claude Croizer, climate and environment advisor to the agency.
Why a new strategy?
To provide us with a contextual overview, Claude Croizer explains that until recently, the Belgian development agency (recently renamed Enabel) used to follow the guidelines of the Belgian Development Cooperation in terms of environment. "We then started taking into account the acceleration of the agenda, the increase in immigration caused by climate change and the fact that our partner countries are often fragile states or weakened by climate change. That made us realise that it was time to take it one step further."
Despite the many existing agreements, resolutions, strategies and commitments in the fight against climate change, the consequences of climate disruptions are becoming increasingly important and frequent. This applies for example to droughts, floods, extreme weather conditions and rising sea levels. These phenomena do not only threaten populations, but also sustainable development. For this reason, Enabel has developed a new strategy aimed at climate change and development, with 'adaptation' and 'mitigation' as keywords.
Action based on climate change adaptation and mitigation
Until recently, the "Environment Strategy", which also addressed climate change, used to be the reference strategy. With the new Climate Strategy 2017-2020, "we can move up a gear with regard to climate issues". Enabel’s advisor wants to act on a larger and more concrete scale: "As a development agency, it is our role to assist our partner countries in implementing their climate strategies and translating climate objectives into concrete development actions."
At the top of the list of concrete actions that the agency intends to undertake within its new strategy ranks the strengthening of adaptation capacities of partner countries. In other words, Enabel is committed to providing its expertise and experience in specific climate and environment areas, such as effective water management, sustainable agriculture or the construction of adapted infrastructure. But that is not all. Enable also wants to make climate funding more accessible and help to ensure that climate issues are integrated into the national policies of its partners, who are often more vulnerable in environmental or socio-economic terms.
The Climate Strategy 2017-2020 also includes a section dedicated entirely to reducing greenhouse gases, one of the most important environmental challenges. To this end, initiatives are being carried out on the ground focusing, for example, on urban planning, green construction, energy efficiency, reforestation and waste recycling.
Enable also wants to make climate funding more accessible and help to ensure that climate issues are integrated into the national policies of its partners, who are often more vulnerable in environmental or socio-economic terms.
An adaptation project for each climate disruption
In agreement with its partner countries, the agency is active in a variety of areas to deal with the different types of climate disruptions and their consequences. For example, the project "Development of saffron and date palm chains" (Développement des filières du safran et du palmier dattier) helps producers in Morocco to adapt to and avoid periods of drought. Enabel’s contribution consists of developing plans to reduce water losses, improve water transport capacity, maintain and repair traditional canals and recharge groundwater.
Another example is Rwanda, where two programmes are being implemented to reduce greenhouse gases. The aim is to increase forest resources and improve their management through reforestation or forest management plans. Rwanda also carries out actions closely linked to the forestry aspect in the area of "biomass energy". These initiatives also aim to reduce greenhouse gases and limit the consumption of energy wood by encouraging the switch from coal to alternative green energy resources such as pellets.
Finally, in Vietnam, Enabel's climate strategy is being applied to the Green Growth Strategy Facility project, which aims to reduce greenhouse gases and make the financing of green growth projects more accessible, especially in the context of priority mitigation actions set up by the provinces. The project also provides for the financing of three pilot projects in three Vietnamese provinces.
The aim in Rwanda is to increase forest resources and improve their management through reforestation or forest management plans. The country also carries out actions closely linked to the forestry aspect in the area of "biomass energy".
An increasingly prominent and pressing agenda
The agency still implements other projects and actions, and to our question concerning the obstacles encountered by Enabel in achieving its objectives, Claude Croizer replies: "The only problem is perhaps speed, because we are willing to do more. We have already passed the stage where we had to convince discussion partners of the importance of climate and environment action. The challenge now is to find the necessary financial resources and to identify our key priorities. The international climate agenda is becoming increasingly prominent, but also more pressing."
Finally, we ask him whether Belgium is sufficiently committed to this agenda. Claude Croizer, an expert on the subject, answers categorically: "We can never do enough, but that applies to all countries. That does not mean that we are not achieving anything. We have even achieved many good things, but we should not be satisfied. Given the situation, we will always lag behind. That can only encourage us to do more. Belgium is nevertheless pretty involved, particularly in the field of funds and financing. But we need to do more. More and faster."