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Lusaka, Tuesday, March 21, 2017: A regional forum that aims at strengthening the relationship between the Ministries of agriculture and the Green Climate Fund’s National Designated Authorities (GCF NDAs) began in Zambia, today. The forum will focus on Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and Resource mobilization for improved access to climate funding for projects in the agriculture sectors .

The NDCs are commitments that were made by all the countries that are party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to reduce their emissions of Greenhouse gases which are the primary cause of climate change.

The two days forum was opened by Assistant Secretary General of COMESA Ambassador Kipyego Cheluget. It is expected to come up with concrete action plans for follow up activities on NDCs and GCF readiness to access climate finance in the six participating countries. These are Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The forum follows the pledge made by developed countries to support efforts by developing countries through an ambitious $100 billion annual contribution to be managed by the Green Climate Fund.

The representatives from the GCF and other international Financing institutions will give guidance to the participants on how to prepare bankable proposals. It is anticipated that at the end of the forum the participants will have refined their proposals taking into account the discussions and advice given during the forum to be able to successfully submit the proposals.

In order to address adaptation and mitigation needs of the region and the continent as a whole, Ambassador Cheluget said, COMESA was cognizant of the urgent need for access to adequate climate finance.

“Without adequate finance, our member States and our very continent, cannot afford to successfully adapt and mitigate climate change”, he said.

He urged the Member States to adopt best practices and lessons from the forum and share them with the remaining Member States so as to achieve regional impact on climate change mitigation and adaptation.

“With the presence of the International Financing Institutions such as AfDB, GCF and World Bank, it is my sincere hope that the participating countries will take this opportunity to explore areas of possible bilateral/multilateral partnership and requirements and modalities for accessing available climate finance”, Ambassador Cheluget said.

The representative of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, Dr. Joyce Miti, said her organization will adopt its first corporate strategy on Climate Change, which was developed through a consultative process with FAO’s Member
Nations throughout 2016.

“FAO was accredited to the Green Climate Fund in 2016 as a grant-implementing entity for medium sized projects of up to $ 250 million, and can also act as a delivery partner for GCF Readiness Funds”, she said.

She informed the meeting that FAO Director General signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Executive Secretary of UNFCCC to formalize the institutional partnership during the International Day of Forests on 20th March 2017 in Rome.