Malawi’s climate justice advocates are lauding a significant stride forward in addressing the repercussions of climate change on the world’s most vulnerable nations following the operationalization of Loss and Damage Fund at COP28.
The opening day of the 28th Conference of Parties to the UN (COP28) in United Arab Emirates (UAE), Dubai, witnessed multiple countries pledging to the loss and damage fund, which was established last year in Egypt to aid nations grappling with climate change impacts.
The United Arab Emirates and Germany have each committed $100 million, with the United States pledging $17 million, Japan committing $10 million, Italy pledging $18 million, and the United Kingdom promising $76 million.
In an interview from the United Arab Emirates, Julius Ng’oma, the National Coordinator of CISONECC, expressed his enthusiasm for the operationalization of the loss and damage fund, underscoring its positive implications for Malawi.
“It is a welcome decision and an encouraging one for African countries, especially the least developed nations that bear the brunt of climate-induced loss and damage. This marks a significant victory for Malawi, which has experienced severe climate change impacts, including cyclones, in recent years,” said Ng’oma.
Ng’oma hopes that the financial pledges will quickly transform into commitments, ensuring timely assistance to address loss and damage associated with climate change impacts in countries like Malawi.
In a separate interview from the UAE, Mathews Malata, a prominent Climate Justice Champion, described the operationalization of the loss and damage fund as a positive development for developing countries.
However, Malata called for persistence in the journey, anticipating challenges for the fund.
Malata added that the global community anticipates many tough battles ahead, but the operationalization of the loss and damage fund stands as a beacon of hope in the collective effort to address the urgent challenges posed by climate change.
“Good start, let the funds begin to flow, and pledges should be significant and target the most vulnerable countries. We should expect hitches, but we will get better. Also, very important to keep in mind that it is a great milestone but not an end to the struggle. We must fight on,” said Malata.
Emphasizing the importance of maintaining a focus on emissions reduction, Malata stressed, “Reducing carbon emissions and limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees should always be the priority. False and temporary solutions should not replace just and sustainable ones because we know that whatever amount they contribute will not cover the recovery and disaster risk reduction financing gaps.”
COP28 UAE is taking place at Expo City Dubai from November 30-December 12, 2023. The Conference is expected to convene over 70,000 participants, including heads of state, government officials, international industry leaders, private sector representatives, academics, experts, youth, and non-state actors.
In 2023, more than 500 lives were lost, and much infrastructure was damaged following the deadliest Cyclone Freddy in Malawi.