The African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change (AGN), has assured the African civil society of its commitment to protecting Africa’s interests in the newly operationalized Loss and Damage Fund.
AGN Chair, Ephraim Mwepya Shitima, says the group, through its representatives in the Transitional Committee on the Loss and Damage Fund, ensured that important safeguards were put in place to avoid lengthy and unnecessary bureaucratic processes that would hinder access.
He was briefing the civil society groups at the on-going United Nations Climate summit (COP28) in Dubai, UAE.
Shitima responded to concerns by civil society groups that hosting the Fund at the World Bank would create access and other bureaucratic barriers for countries from the global south.
“We reluctantly agreed to the hosting arrangements to expedite its operationalization. If we insisted on the creation of a standalone fund, it would have taken us another three years to have it operationalized. But even as the case is, there are safeguards that have been put in place. We have some clauses that would allow the fund to be taken away from the World Bank if certain conditions as agreed are not met,” he said.
In a historic moment, the draft decision on the Loss and Damage Fund was adopted during the opening plenary of COP28, effectively operationalizing the Fund.
The Loss and Damage Fund was agreed on at COP27 held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. The modalities for the operationalization were discussed and agreed by the Transitional Committee (TC) which was constituted.
Loss and Damage is essential even if the world meets climate mitigation goals because a “locked-in” level of warming already impacts particularly vulnerable communities being hit by extreme weather events, such as storms and floods, reduced agricultural productivity, and rising sea levels among others.
However, African civil society led by the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) is concerned that the Fund will be hosted by the World Bank.
“Even as we welcome the operationalization of the fund, we are concerned that it will be hosted by an institution with historical access challenges for countries from the global south,” said Mithika Mwenda, PACJA Executive Director.
“We hope it will not be another of some existing funds that do not save the interest of the global south countries especially those in Africa,” he added.
Source: Kofi Adu Domfeh