The latest United Nations conference on climate change, COP24, brought together people from 190 counties in Katowice, Poland this December. CRIDF’s water resource management expert Jonathan Barnes was among these delegates, participating in the session ‘Supporting transboundary actions to address climate change’.
This session was organised by the African Development Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, in collaboration with CRIDF and the Global Water Partnership. It took place in the African Development Bank Pavilion and was streamed live on YouTube (see here).
At COP24, Jonathan Barnes gave a presentation on mobilising private sector finance for infrastructure in the Incomati River Basin, which spans South Africa, eSwatini and Mozambique. In this basin, CRIDF has brokered over four years a financial partnership between the Mozambique water agency ARA-Sul and two private sugar companies, Illovo and Tongaat Hulett.
The partnership aims to tackle an increased risk of flooding in the Basin, brought about by climate change. CRIDF’s role has been to act as an ‘honest broker’ and provide scientific data, thereby facilitating a move away from competition and towards cooperation. As a result, Illovo and Tongaat Hulett are now financing infrastructure that reduces flood risk in the Basin as a whole, and not just on their own land.
By making their operations more resilient to the effects of climate change, Illovo and Tongaat Hulett are helping to safeguard 15,000 jobs. They are also providing benefits to the wider community of over 50,000 households in the Lower Incomati floodplain and the small-scale outgrowers use sugar-processing facilities provided by Illovo and Tongaat Hulett so their livelihoods depend on the companies’ long-term sustainability.