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Africans demand more loss, damage funds

Local News
African Group of Negotiators chairperson Collins Nzovu (left) and Environment minister Mangaliso Ndlovu (centre) during a press conference at COP28 in Dubai.

Adopting the new Loss and Damage Fund on the first day is one of the achievements that the COP28 presidency is touting.

About $726 million has been pledged to the fund by developed nations including the host United Arab Emirates, United States and the United Kingdom meant to be accessed by poor nations like Malawi, Zimbabwe and Mozambique which are on the frontlines of climate change.

But Africans are skeptical.

“We note a historic and positive start to this conference where the Loss and Damage Fund was operationalised and initial financial commitments made within minutes,” said Collins Nzovu, a chairperson of the African Group of Negotiators (AGN,  a technical body of the three-tier African negotiating structure that engages in the technical negotiations during the Conferences of the Parties (COPs) and the intersessional negotiations on climate change. 

“As we welcome this good news, we are cautious of similar commitments made in the past, which, from our standpoint, have not been fulfilled. We hope this won’t be the case with the Loss and Damage fund.”

Nzovu, who was speaking during a conference at a United Nations climate summit known as COP28 at Expo City in Dubai on Saturday, said loss and damage require billions, if not trillions, of dollars.

“We, therefore, call for more resources in order to actualise the intended purpose of the Fund, addressing loss and damage,” said Nzovu, Zambia’s minister of Environment.

In 2009, a climate financing commitment to mobilise $100 billion per year by 2020 for developing countries was set by developed countries.

However, the deadline passed without the commitment being met. 

Alioune Ndoye, Senegal’s minister of the Environment, said there is a need to have a sense of urgency for vulnerable countries to access funds to achieve climate justice. 

“It is good we have money allocated. But as the United Nations secretary general António Guterres was saying that the money pledged so far is only equivalent to football players in Saudi Arabia shows that it is not enough,” said Ndoye while speaking at an event organised by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and it partners on Sunday.

He said if more funds are not channelled towards the Loss and Damage Fund, countries will continue to be hit by climate-induced weather hazards like floods and droughts.

Ndoye said his country was putting in place mechanisms to ensure that the fund is not misplaced after there have been concerns that some African governments might direct the funds for purposes other than preparing for climate change damages. 

“We hope that the process to access the funds will not be long,” he added.

The new loss and damage fund, meant to assist communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis to rebuild and recover in the aftermath of climate disasters, was first agreed upon at COP27 Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt in November last year where a Transitional Committee was established to put in place issues such as the host of the funds and how vulnerable communities will access the funds. 

The transitional committee at a tense meeting held in November, in Abu Dhabi, agreed that the World Bank would host the funds on an interim basis among other contentious issues like the language developed nations are “urged” to contribute to the fund. 

  • This story was produced with support from MESHA and IDRC Eastern and Southern Africa office. 


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