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On loss and damage, don't wait for Cairo COP27

OPINION
By Lynet Otieno | Jan 29th 2022 | 2 min read
By Lynet Otieno | January 29th 2022
OPINION

The dissatisfaction with which representatives of the global South left the last United Nations climate conference (COP26) was palpable. Despite the fact that 'Loss and Damage' was explicitly present in the discussions, it was not given the attention it deserved.

Loss and damage is a term used in United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) processes to refer to negative effects of weather events. 

The momentum and calls for more commitment by developed nations in the global North, who are the biggest contributors to global warming through their industrial emissions, to release funds to address loss and damage in the global South has been louder and more convincing outside the negotiation rooms at the COPs, yet the bubble won't burst once the issue enters negotiation rooms.

Despite promises of more discussion on the issue in special plenaries, philanthropy and commitments outside the UNFCCC during COP26, poor countries, who suffer most but emit the least carbon into the atmosphere, were not only secluded in the talks but also given a raw deal. Focus then shifts to this year's COP27 in Egypt, Africa. But is there hope, even for Africa!

Loss and damage now seem left to inconclusive dialogues, unending research and release of reports on the state of the climate crisis, but which do not really deliver. The most responsible nations either smartly deny, or just play down the obvious harms caused by their choices as they industrialise massively powered by fossil fuel. 

Narratives portray the crisis a future generations' problem, yet climate-induced destruction of property and infrastructure, as well as loss of human and other bits of biodiversity continue to worsen in the global South.

Some economies reduce coal use, but fund coal-powered projects in developing poorer countries, where they can dump, by selling, the coal they want to get rid of. 

Tropical storm Ana has claimed 12 lives in Malawi and Mozambique. The disruption of people's lives, loss of income and property, exposure to diseases and abuse due to displacement abound. This besides hunger, drought and smaller-scale weather events in other poor countries globally.

The latest Global Hunger Index report shows Africa with some of the highest hunger levels. Hope to attain SDG2 (Zero Hunger) is dwindling. Somalia is an extreme case.

Chad, Congo, Central Africa Republic, Madagascar, and South Sudan are at alarming hunger levels. Climate change has been cited as a contributor to the hunger situation. The climate injustice meted on the global South should be addressed. 

The dialogue in and out of COPs negotiation rooms should now yield proper action.

Calls for funding for loss and damage should be louder, bilateral ties to achieve the same goal enhanced, as developed nations' heads hopefully choose to make stubborn cartels controlling their economies and decision making quit the obvious climate injustice.

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