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Sunday, January 29, 2023

Cautious optimism greets historic inclusion of Loss & Damage Finance in COP agenda

For the first time ever in the UN climate negotiations, loss and damage finance has made it onto the agenda. This is a historic moment. Small island nations have been raising this issue for over 30 years, and now it is a reality following a concerted push from developing countries and civil society.

Loss & Damage Finance
Mohamed Adow, Founder and Director of PowerShift Africa (left), Tasneem Essop, Executive Director of CAN-International (middle), at the press briefing on Monday, November 7, 2022, in Sham El-Sheikh, Egypt

Speakers at a press conference by the Climate Action Network on Monday, November 7, 2022, emphasised that while this is welcome, the timeline to set up a loss and damage finance facility cannot be delayed till 2024 with communities on the frontline witnessing increasing climate devastation with every passing month.  

The speakers warned that COP27 risks becoming a greenwashing festival with large numbers of gas lobbyists expected to attend.

Mohamed Adow, Founder and Director of PowerShift Africa, warned that the EU cannot use this opportunity to strike new deals with Africa to extract natural gas reserves to meet Western energy demands while defaulting on their climate pledges to enable African countries to transition to renewables and tide over the debt crisis.

“This is a new type of colonialism and gas deals involving Africa’s resources cannot be determined in Berlin,” he warned.         

Ahmed El Droubi, Campaigns Manager for Greenpeace MENA, said: “COP27 is an African COP where the prevailing Global North narrative must be challenged and the voices calling for climate justice asserted. The Global South must seize this opportunity to consolidate our united stance to hold to account those overwhelmingly responsible for the climate disasters wreaking havoc on our vulnerable communities. Climate justice can be served at this COP through the establishment of a Loss and Damage funding facility, at least doubling adaptation finance in the form of grants rather than loans and strong commitments for a fossil fuel phase out in line with the 1.5c scenario. Finally, climate justice cannot happen without political, economic and social justice.”

Adow added: “I can sum up COP27 so far in two words – poor start. The COP in Egypt needs to learn from the mistakes that undermined COP26 in Glasgow. For it to be a successful African COP, the priorities of developing countries must take centre stage. We cannot claim to be tackling the climate crisis if we kick the can down the road on issues like loss and damage. We’re in the continent where loss and damage is a reality. It’s not too late for this COP to deliver for Africa and the developing world where other conferences have failed them. But we can no longer dodge this vital issue.”

Tasneem Essop, Executive Director of CAN-International, said: “The context of this COP27 shows a trust deficit with rich nations not following through with their commitments made on finance and civil society organisations being limited on their rights to raise their voices. The Global South must unite behind the decision to set up a loss and damage finance facility. We are not yet defeated.”

Essop highlighted the human rights crisis prevailing in Egypt directly infringes on local civil society’s ability to hold the powerful accountable to deliver on climate justice.

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