N$590m invested in GEF projects

The Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) has, thus far, received USD59 million (N$590m) from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) for self-sustainable projects since it joined in 1992, The Villager has learnt.
Although the MET only started receiving funds in 1996, the GEF has already funded about 27 projects and currently has 4 projects running under the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry and MET.
Ministry of Environment and Tourism’s Environmental Commissioner, Teofilus Nghitila told The Villager that one of the projects is based on strengthening protected areas like Etosha National Park by putting supporting systems in project documentation in place under the Ministry of Environment.
 Nghitila added that some of the projects are based on renewable legal framework, to put up concentrated solar power. In the sector of solar power, the ministry is working hand in hand with the Ministry of Mines and Energy and The Polytechnic of Namibia.
The current solar power projects are the third projects funded by GEF in the mining sector of Namibia. These projects are implemented countrywide and they are running under the supervision of national power utility NamPower.
The MET is also planning to apply for Global Environment Facility Phase 6, which includes biodiversity conservation, land degradation, climate change mitigation, international waters, chemicals, integrated approach programs, sustainable forest management and climate change adaptation.
He explained that projects are meant to have a starting time and an ending time depending on the funding duration that was allocated. New project proposals have to be submitted at GEF for verification and approval. And they should meet the priorities of the people of Namibia that are under National Development Plans.
 Nghitila added that some of the projects have been taken over by the government after the withdrawal of the funds from GEF and they are operating smoothly. There are arrangements to be done to make sure that projects don’t die, but to make them sustainable.  
Nghitila said that Namibia is not facing huge challenges when it comes to projects funded by GEF, but there are small challenges like implementation of everything that is stipulated in the project documentation. One key limitation is that it takes GEF 12 months to approve project proposals. He also added that getting stakeholders on board is a challenge faced by the ministry.