Implementation of climate finance

Pioneers of Change: climate finance for poverty-oriented, low-carbon development

Mitigating emissions and fighting poverty need not be mutually exclusive goals. Climate finance must be a driving force for the urgently needed move toward a carbon-neutral world while creating a framework that enables new and innovative approaches. In doing so, however, it will be crucial not to lose sight of the need to overcome energy poverty and other pressing development issues. This raises the question of how to reconcile sustainable development with a low-carbon development path.

The recently published study, Pioneers of Change: 21 good practices for sustainable low carbon development in developing countries, proposes a number of answers. It provides examples from a wide range of fields: the energy sector, the urban and industrial fields, rural areas, as well as international finance and capacity building frameworks and policy decisions for the development of renewable energies.

Examples from Germany’s climate finance

The publication also includes a number of case studies in which new and interesting paths are being taken with the support from Germany:

  • In Morocco, the government’s solar plan has set the course for a large-scale expansion of renewable energies. The first solar project to be realized under the plan is the Noor I concentrated solar power plant (CSP) in Ouarzazate, which is being financed in part by Germany. The recently completed first phase of the plant is generating electricity for Morocco’s national grid. The project is also striving to benefit nearby poor communities by favoring local suppliers in its procurement policy and by hiring locally. While the Wuppertal Institute and Germanwatch initially noted that local people were not adequately involved in the design and realization of Noor I, this is due to be improved in subsequent project phases.
  • In Africa, the German Association for International Cooperation (GIZ) is implementing Energising Development (EnDev), a programme that is distributing energy-efficient stoves in rural areas. In rural Africa, most people do not have access to modern sources of energy. Women in particular suffer from the resulting extra work, as well as the impact of soot from cooking fires on their health. To ensure that the stoves meet the needs of local people, the models designed by engineers were refined in cooperation with Latin American and African women. EnDev trains stove manufacturers and supports the development of local markets for energy-efficient stoves.
  • A further project, albeit one that is not counted as climate finance, was realized with German support in central Asia. From 2001 to 2011, the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) funded a project in the Aral Sea region that combined sustainable farming practices to combat land degradation with emissions mitigation. By cultivating fast-growing and drought-tolerant trees such as Russian olives, wasteland was reclaimed and the farmers were quickly able to generate income from the trees. To spread the project approach beyond the region, students were trained in the new methods and research findings were published and distributed.

Sound approaches must be expanded

These and other examples collected in the study illustrate successful approaches as well as mistakes that provided learning experiences for those involved. They demonstrate the conditions that must be met for success and provide insights into new and innovative paths to be explored. They also show that civil society makes a major contribution toward the necessary transformation of society and thus change from below. Mitigation projects must accommodate the needs of the local people and show that climate protection is a good way to tackle local problems such as pollution and lack of access to energy, water or income opportunities. Networking by various actors from civil society, government and the scientific and business communities is also essential to achieve change on a larger scale.

Examples like those collected in the study must be disseminated and used for shared learning as a prerequisite to applying and consistently building on successful approaches in other locations. These steps are the key to fighting poverty with low-carbon development.

Christine Lottje