UNICEF partners with the Mali Climate Fund
By Georges Tabbal
Bamako, 12 August 2014 - Heavily dependent on natural resources and economically vulnerable, climate change is a major challenge for Mali’s economy and development. Mali is already experiencing droughts, floods, strong winds, and large temperature fluctuations affecting all key sectors of the economy. In particular, climate change affects the quality and quantity of water supplies, thus compounding the impact of poor water and sanitation on children’s survival and development.
In this context, the Government of Mali developed a National Strategy on Climate Change and requested the Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office of United Nations Development Programme to develop a national climate fund to combine financing from bilateral and multilateral sources as well as from the public and private sectors. With an initial contribution from Sweden, the Mali Climate Fund is one of the first national climate funds operational on the African Continent. The objective of the Mali Climate Fund is to promote the emergence of a green economy resilient to the climate change and address its negative impact.
UNICEF Mali has successfully applied to the first round of funding of the Mali Climate Fund in 2014 and has received an allocation of approximately 1 million USD. The approved project aims at increasing water supply for communities faced with water shortages induced by rainfall variability and higher temperatures through the construction and rehabilitation of solar-powered small scale water distribution systems.
A total of 60,000 people living in the conflict affected Northern Regions of Mali are expected to benefit from the construction of 6 new water systems and the rehabilitation of 8 old water systems. The provision of safe water to vulnerable communities will alleviate the impact of climate change on already water-stressed communities, whereas the use of solar systems will reduce dependence on fossil fuels and support economic diversification.
As part of this project, UNICEF will also partner with the Government of Mali to conduct a study on innovative funding mechanisms for the water sector. The study will aim at identifying new funding opportunities and key partnerships through solidarity, public and private sectors in order to empower communities to acquire sustainable water access. The ultimate objective is to help bridge the financial gap required to reach universal water coverage in a country where a third of the population still has no access to an improved water source.
The impact of climate change on Mali is considerable and will not be solved by this project alone which is considerably dwarfed when compared to the scale of issues it tries to tackle. It is however, a step, in the right direction and the UNICEF Mali team is proud to have made that first step. The projected growth of the Mali Climate change fund over the next few years will hopefully bring to scale the interventions of this project and alleviate the impact of climate change on water services in Mali.
UNICEF works in more than 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, safe water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its activities, please see: www.unicef.org.
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