At an online meeting organized by Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) on November 9, 2023, fifty-three (53) participants, including members of the Make Big Polluters Pay campaign from different African countries such as Ghana, The Gambia, Cameroon, Togo, Uganda, South Africa, Liberia, Kenya, and Zimbabwe, gathered to sculpt Africa’s collective voice on the critical climate-discourse of the Loss and Damage Fund.
Last year, COP27 ended with a breakthrough agreement to establish a loss and damages fund, leading to the creation of a Transitional Committee tasked with developing recommendations for the governance and operationalization of the fund, to be adopted at COP28. Despite this progress, the Committee has struggled to reach a consensus on the best approach to operationalize the fund for the benefit of vulnerable nations and communities.
This ongoing challenge became more pressing last week when the Committee, in a final attempt to find common ground before COP28, met for the fifth time in Abu Dhabi. They reached an agreement, but this has since sparked controversy among observers and climate activists. The consensus is criticized for being mischievous and placing vulnerable countries at further disadvantage, with wealthier nations, particularly the United States, accused of exerting excessive influence over the Committee’s decisions and minimizing the suffering of impacted communities.
Speaking at the regional dialogue, Dr. Nnimmo Bassey, Executive Director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation, condemned America’s attempt to reduce Loss and Damage Fund to charity. He noted the soft language used in the text of the negotiation framework such as shall, urge and encourage were unacceptable considering the fact they were directed to entities and countries responsible for the most carbon emissions and climate crisis. Regarding the US choice, and decision of the Committee to warehouse the loss and damage fund in the World Bank for four years, Nnimmo appraised the decision as a continuation of oppressive colonial dynamics and urged Africa to resist the abnormality. The World Bank has been rejected by climate campaigners, African governments and people as unfit for warehousing the fund due to concerns over its profit-driven nature, high intermediary fees for hosting the fund, and complex bureaucratic processes which could hamper access to the funding for impacted communities.
Amid these critical examinations, Olamide Martins, CAPPA’s Programme Manager on Climate Change flagged the importance of a transparent administration of the fund. He urged historical polluters and wealthier nations to make immediate contributions to the Fund and warned against using carbon markets and the exploitation of Africa’s natural resources as financial sources for operationalizing the fund.
Hellen Neima, Director of the African Climate Campaign at Corporate Accountability, presented a draft regional position on Loss and Damage at the meeting. This document underscored the importance of accommodating frontline realities in managing the fund and emphasized the integration of indigenous methods into strategies for national climate actions.
The meeting wrapped up with resolutions from partners to forge a common position on the Loss and Damage Fund, coordinate joint actions at COP28, and disseminate key advocacy materials to the African Group of Negotiators, Heads of Government delegation, and UNFCCC secretariat.
In his closing remarks, CAPPA’s Executive Director, Akinbode Oluwafemi, called for increased collaboration among climate campaigners to strengthen their collective voice and advocate for a pro-African governance of the Loss and Damage Fund as COP28 approaches. He also emphasized the need for partners to resist efforts by the Global North aimed at operationalizing the fund in a manner that could plunge Africa into a new cycle of unending debt.
Watch video of the meeting here: https://cappaafrica-org.zoom.us/rec/share/zajUd1k7s3sh1jj3EfjdDa8TZF0ytiSJfnZ1m9AvxkWxDrMgfEs1BVTqQeA_JCk-.YXvb9Xwgl3blqIbV
Meeting Passcode: uL%90CJw