The government of Eswatini’s Environmental Fund which was operationalized in 2007 has over the past ten years benefited 25 community projects that seek to create and promote a healthy Eswatini environment, the Minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Moses Vilakati has announced. The minister said this during the launch of this year Environmental Fund recently at the Eswatini Environmental Authority offices. One of the 25 pilot projects is the Lawuba Wetland Protection Project which currently benefits local communities through portable water provisions
and income generation from handicraft produced from special grasses such as incoboza and lukhwane, growing from the rehabilitated wetlands, which is valued at hundreds of Emalangeni. This year, the minister launched the E2 million fund, which will be made available for small scale community projects for the 2019/2020 financial year. Vilakati strongly advised that projects which will be considered will be those with a strong environment component and proven ability to demonstrate value for money and all these projects should be implemented and be completed by March 2020. Also, the primary premise for financing projects from the fund is that the project should demonstrate
how it will enhance environmental sustainability while benefits to human populations are secondary to the development of environmental quality. “The sustainability of all the projects in ensuring that they have a
lasting positive environment impact is also very key,” he said. He said as a country what’s needed is to value the environment and natural resources as they are an important pillar for sustainable growth as prioritised by His Majesty’s government, with the view of ensuring that public’s actions today do not compromise the ability for future generations to meet their own needs. He made reference to the recently launched Strategic Road-map which
he said points a clear path towards an economic recovery trajectory, anchored on the principle of good governance for inclusive and sustainable growth. Vilakati further highlighted that when the Environment Action Plan was developed in 1997, the government of Eswatini prioritised the issue of public participation in addressing
environmental issues as one of the key strategic interventions in tackling any emerging environmental risk. He said getting funding to empower communities was a hindrance and that gave birth to discussions that led to the establishment of the Environment Fund. The minister concluded by thanking His Majesty’s government for the great foresight of establishing the fund and also committing financial resources to fund environmental projects aimed
at assisting communities.

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