Rich nations on the spot for dismal climate change compensation to EAC

Rich nations have only met about one-third of the UN appeal for East Africa this year. [iStockphoto]

Despite being largely responsible for the worsening climate crisis in East Africa, rich nations paid four East African nations just $2.4 billion (Sh348 billion) in climate-related development finance in 2021.

This is in stark contrast to the $53.3 billion (Sh7.78 trillion) that Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan say they need annually to meet their 2030 climate goals.

Oxfam’s “Unfair Share” Report published recently, shows that the biggest polluting nations have fallen short of meeting both the climate and the humanitarian funds East African countries need to recover from their climate-fuelled hunger crisis.

The report highlights the impact of climate change on the future of the region.

“Even by their own generous accounts, polluting nations have delivered only pittance to help East Africa scale up their mitigation and adaptation efforts,” said Oxfam in Africa Director Fati N’Zi-Hassane.

“Nearly half the funds (45 per cent) they gave were loans, plunging the region further into more debt.”

A prolonged drought and erratic rainfalls have killed nearly 13 million animals, and decimated hundreds of thousands of hectares of crops, leaving millions of people without income or food. According to Oxfam, the four countries have incurred an estimated loss of $30 billion (Sh4.3 trillion) between 2021 and 2023.  

Severe hunger

Oxfam calculates that these countries have also lost approximately $7.4 billion (Sh1.073 trillion) worth of livestock.

As a result, over 31 million people across the four countries are suffering severe hunger because of a two-year drought and years of flooding, compounded by displacement and conflict.

And despite the soaring humanitarian need, Oxfam says in the report, rich nations have only met about one-third of the UN appeal for East Africa this year.

“At the heart of East Africa’s hunger crisis is an abhorrent climate injustice. Rich polluting nations continue to rig the system by disregarding the billions owed to East Africa, while millions of people are left to starve from repeated climate shocks,” said Ms N’Zi-Hassane.

Industrialised economies have significantly contributed to the climate crisis, which now disproportionally affects regions like East Africa.

The G7 countries and Russia alone are responsible for 85 per cent of global emissions since 1850.