Nations asked to deliver on fund for loss, damage
Leaders attending the COP28 climate summit that opens today in Dubai have been asked to agree on and put money in the new loss and damage fund so that communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis can rebuild and recover in the aftermath of climate disasters.
Speaking in Dubai, ActionAid’s Kenya Country Director Susan Otieno, said that without appropriate international financial support, countries devastated by climate change impacts run the risk of falling deeper into economic losses and massive recovery costs.
“The issue of the loss and damage fund is once again central in the discussions at COP28. Developed countries need to step forward and take responsibility for their role in causing climate change and provide the hundreds of billions of dollars needed to help communities on the front-lines to recover and rebuild in the aftermath of climate disasters,” said Otieno.
She added: “In the Horn of Africa, following years of successive droughts, the region is now dealing with recent heavy rains that have caused devastating flooding. This latest disaster is affecting millions of people who have lost their homes and livelihoods, placing more urgency on the finalization of the loss and damage fund.”
Teresa Anderson, ActionAid International’s Global Lead on Climate Justice, said developing nations expect COP28 to deliver on the long-overdue loss and damage fund so that frontline communities can recover from floods, droughts, and cyclones that are wrecking lives.
“Wealthy and polluting countries have a clear moral obligation to provide real support to the countries and communities being pushed deeper into poverty by climate change,” said Anderson.
Anderson said the world’s finances are flowing in the wrong direction and a shift is necessary to stop doing harm and build a more sustainable future.
According to ActionAid’s “How the Finance Flows” report that was released in September, in the seven years since the Paris Agreement was signed, banks in the Global North have been financing the fossil fuel industry in the Global South to the tune of US $3.2 trillion.
“COP 28 presents a key opportunity to put the spotlight on the trillions of dollars of public and private financing that currently goes to fossil fuels and industrial agriculture, and to fix the harmful finance flows that are fuelling the climate crisis,” she added.
While fossil fuels are the major cause of the climate crisis the world is now grappling with, a UN report shows the world’s petrostates are on course to increase production.
Otieno argues that COP28 must agree to phase out fossil fuels in a way that is fair, fully financed and enables just transitions.
Ending fossil fuel dependence and agreeing on a phasing out is expected to help limit temperature rise to the agreed 1.5 degree-Celsius mark.
“In our part of the world, we constantly live with the harsh realities of the climate crisis. Just as we are recovering from one cyclone, a new one strikes. We’re exhausted. Our ability to deal with these endless challenges is held back by a lack of real funding.
At COP28, our communities are relying on the wealthy countries to take responsibility for the loss and damage caused by their fossil fuels, and to provide adequate funding in the form of grants to ensure that we can adapt and mitigate the impacts of climate change,” said Flora Vano, ActionAid Vanuatu Country Representative.
The loss and damage fund is a financial mechanism that aims to provide financial support to developing countries that are vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change. It recognizes that despite efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change, some losses and damages are still inevitable.
The fund is considered a historic breakthrough and the defining achievement of COP27, the UN climate summit held in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt last year.
It focuses on providing financial assistance for countries to cope with sudden-onset events (such as storms, floods, or droughts) or slow-onset events (such as sea-level rise, desertification, or ocean acidification) that exceed their ability to cope using their own resources or traditional risk management strategies.
The sources of funding for the loss and damage fund are voluntary contributions from developed countries, international organizations, and other sources. However, the fund currently faces a financing gap, as the amount of contributions received is insufficient to meet the increasing needs of developing countries.
However, efforts are ongoing to raise awareness, mobilise additional funding and explore innovative financing mechanisms to strengthen the loss and damage fund and ensure support for those most affected by the impact of climate change.