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COP27: ''Equity, Justice'' Finally Delivered, What's Next?

Activists hold signs at the COP27 U.N. Climate Summit, Nov. 19, 2022, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

Analysts have applauded the historic establishment of a loss and damage fund to help developing countries who contribute least to global emissions tackle the effects of the climate crisis.

But analysts reckon that real change will only occur if wealthier nations immediately begin to commit funds as it remains unclear which countries should pay for damages, and those who will be eligible to receive financing.

The just ended COP27 in Egypt delivered what the analysts say is a win for developing countries who came to the two-week event with loss and damage on top of their agenda.

Nafkote Dabi, Oxfam’s Climate Change Policy lead, told VOA from the Red resort of Sharm El-Sheik that it’s refreshing to see "equity and justice" delivered over three decades since developing countries, and island nations began to ask for their due to tackle the effects of climate change.

"It’s a great win. Developing countries, frontline communities, and civil societies have been celebrating, because calls to address the issue of loss and damage began 30 years ago. This is long overdue," she said.

"Now, what needs to happen is (that) rich countries who are largely responsible for the climate crisis need to urgently mobilize new and additional climate finance to support communities at the frontline of the crisis so that they can recover, rebuild their lives after disasters hit."

Africa has been battling the effects of the climate crisis despite contributing less than four percent to global emissions. Wealthier nations like China, United States, India, Russia and Japan contribute 80 percent.

Droughts in East Africa have forced thousands out of their homes. Food insecurity is still on the rise with farmers losing out on their livelihoods.

FILE - A lady pushes a wheel barrow as floodwater displaces residents living close to River Beune bank in Makurdi Nigeria, Oct. 1, 2022.
FILE - A lady pushes a wheel barrow as floodwater displaces residents living close to River Beune bank in Makurdi Nigeria, Oct. 1, 2022.

Agriculture is key to the continent’s growth and 70 percent of the population is dependent on the sector. Last month, Africa’s most populous nation – Nigeria experienced its worst flooding in years killing 600 people, leaving 1.3 million others displaced. Experts say climate change is partly to blame for these disasters.

Citing growing hunger in the Horn of Africa, and Pakistan, where historic devastating floods left 10 million children in need of lifesaving support, Dabi said "real money is needed as soon as possible."

"They [Pakistan] have incurred a loss and damage caused. It’s estimated around $30 billion, and this is just from one event," she noted.

It’s still not clear how much developed nations should contribute to the fund. But Dabi said trillions of dollars would be needed to help least developed countries absorb the climate shock.

She however said because a pledge to provide $100 billion annually has still not been realized, there’s distrust, while noting failures to agree on phase-down of fossil fuels to forestall "catastrophic" global warming at the just ended COP27.

"A clear road map is needed. Some agreement that shows that rich countries will deliver the $600 billion between 2020 and 2025. But now we're afraid the shortfall from 2020 - 2022 may not be met. This is really bad."

"Currently, we are on a path to 2.8 degrees (Celsius) of warming. This is catastrophic. It's already 1.2 degrees (Celsius) of warming. More emissions mean more damages and losses," she added.

Malle Fofana, Africa director at the Global Green Growth Initiative in Ivory Coast told VOA that COP27 achieved "a big milestone" for the continent with the loss and damage fund.

"This fund will not only support countries that face disasters, but also help them prevent weather events like floods, hurricanes etc. I think this funding should play multiple roles – the ability to anticipate, adapt and absorb climate shocks," he said.

But he said "there’s was not a deal on the phasing out of fossil fuels which is important to us. We would like to see a transition to green energy – for example going more for e-vehicles that require less oil and gas."

Fofana also said developing countries like those in Africa must begin to look for domestic financing to help them fight against the climate crisis.