Acknowledge local resilience in global climate forums

By Jessica Novia

YAKKUM Emergency Unit (YEU) supports over 50 women’s and community groups  in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, where we help develop community insight and responses to the profound impact of a changing climate.

In these vulnerable regions, rapid-onset disasters include floods, landslides, and strong winds that cause significant damage. Repairs to a family’s home can cost the same as or more than the income from their harvest. Such devastation also affects their mental health. A survey of 34 women’s communities in the Gunungkidul region of Yogyakarta revealed that some experienced PTSD, anxiety, depression, and even suicide as a result of loss and damage. Water scarcity is also a significant threat, made worse by the unremediated environmental impacts of previous development projects. 

Community resilience clear

COP28, the annual global climate conference, has left us reflecting on the urgency of addressing climate change impacts felt by grassroots communities. There is also a need to acknowledge their many resilience efforts. While discussions and commitments at the global level are crucial, we must not lose sight of local efforts. Robust global regulations could ensure recognition of community-based resilience and provide sustained, accessible funding for them. 

In Gunungkidul, the resilience of local communities is clear. In one community, a group of young people initiated a tree planting project called Javanese Bamboo Sewing Earth, drawing inspiration from traditional tree-planting practices. The trees will strengthen and bind the soil, mitigating against landslides. This innovative approach will fortify the soil and bolster the local economy by cultivating economically valuable and sustainable horticultural plants. The young people further preserve their culture by using native trees that are disappearing from the area, and use this Indigenous knowledge to defend against climate threats.

Elsewhere in the region, farmer groups have developed mist irrigation which conserves water and offers easier access to farmers with mobility challenges. Despite this, their crops may fail due to El Niño, which is expected to cause the first drought in the area.  Another example of innovative resilience comes from women’s groups such as the Melati Women Farmers’ Group. Facing ongoing drought, these groups secure their families’ livelihoods by managing water, animal feed, and their rice fields. They also use waste to produce organic fertilizer and manage plastic waste. These activities have allowed them to generate additional income during the dry season and to mitigate the risk of floods in the rainy season.

Women’s groups’ unique insights

Women’s groups often have unique insights into potential disasters, understanding the local context and the specific challenges they face. By including the voices of their representatives, COP meetings could ensure that policies and decisions address communities’ real concerns. Gender justice must be at the forefront, acknowledging how women are often disproportionately affected by climate change. Their perspectives offer valuable insights into building resilient communities and sustainable solutions. Amplifying local voices, particularly those of women, is not just a matter of justice but a practical necessity for creating effective and inclusive climate policies.

Developing inclusive and effective approaches

Community-driven initiatives need direct and accessible funding. Decisions made at global COPs should prioritise the voices of grassroots communities as they grapple with the urgent impacts of the climate crisis. Regulations governing the use of loss and damage funds should ensure easy access for community-based initiatives. Support for capacity strengthening and accountable monitoring should be part of effective implementation. 

A more inclusive and effective approach would include the following steps:

  • communicate climate disaster contexts in simplified, local languages for community understanding;
  • develop partnerships with local organizations that collaborate with communities to leverage insights for effective climate resilience strategies;
  • formalise grassroots women’s leadership in public decision-making structures;
  • channel financial investments to grassroots organisations to build their knowledge, skills, and leadership capacities;
  • prioritise partnerships with grassroots organizations to ensure their access to funding and decisions that are aligned with community priorities. 

A resilient and just future

Climate conference decisions must amplify the voices and experiences of communities on the frontline directly affected by climate-induced disasters. Global leaders should ensure that funds allocated for loss and damage, along with efforts toward gender justice, directly benefit society. COP meetings should transition from theoretical discussions to pragmatic solutions grounded in the realities of the most vulnerable communities.

Local communities, especially women, play a crucial role in identifying and dealing with potential disasters caused by climate change.  With a community-centred lens, we can pave the way for a more resilient and just future.

 

Jessica Novia attended COP28 as an ACT delegate in December 2023. Her work with ACT member YAKKUM Emergency Unit (YEU) includes strengthening the capacities of at-risk groups, people with disabilities, women and older people with community-led disaster preparedness and humanitarian response. She is also a young representative of YEU’s climate focal point, striving to increase accessibility, accountability, and inclusion in her work. 

Display Photo caption: The youth group Karang Taruna Prima Gadung initiated a tree-planting project called Javanese Bamboo Sewing Earth, drawing inspiration from traditional tree-planting practices. This innovative approach will not only fortify the soil and mitigate landslides, but also bolster the local economy by cultivating economically valuable and sustainable horticultural plants.
PHOTO: Lorenzo Fellycyana/YEU

Slow-onset loss and damage a reality

Tsitsi Musingazori (left) and Anjeline Sumu received food assistance in Mwenezi, Zimbabwe. They both lost their yields due to drought. PHOTO: Ruusa Gwaaza/FELM

By Ruusa Gawaza, Felm

In December, as I travelled through southern Zimbabwe with our local partner, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, the disastrous impact of climate change was clear. Usually, the fields would be full of maize, sorghum, and millet as high as your knee. Instead, the fields were empty and dry, and the temperature was much higher than usual.  

In the southern districts of Mwenezi and Gwanda, farmers had been left with nothing for the second year in a row. This was due to a lack of rainfall, made worse by the effects of El Niño. The annual Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment report estimates that more than a quarter of the population, about 2,700,000 people, will face food insecurity in the coming months. More than 95 percent of farmers across the country had not yet started ploughing their fields due to lack of rainfall, even though the rainy season was already halfway over.  

The Zimbabwe Council of Churches supports communities with both short-term food assistance and long-term climate resilience work. During the week, we saw food being distributed to the most vulnerable communities in the area. The assistance package included 50 kg of maize flour, 40 kg of beans, and 4 litres of cooking oil, enough for a household of five for one month.  

Listening to community members, I heard one desperate story after another. Mr. Vila, the Chair of the Ward 14 Food Distribution Committee in Mwenezi, told me that the situation is catastrophic. Some days, the temperatures have been 10 degrees higher than in an average year. The crops he planted in October, after the first rains, had already withered and his cattle had started to die. When I asked Mr. Vila what the solution might be, he said quietly: “It would be best just to leave.”  

We heard more stories of drought, hunger, the inability to produce food, and loss of livelihoods. Farmers had prepared their fields and fixed natural dams to contain water for livestock and irrigation, but the rain never arrived. The situation was dire and getting worse by the week. Food assistance was all that was keeping them alive.  

Seeing empty fields and listening to community members, it was obvious that slow-onset losses and damages are already a reality. It might never again be possible to practice farming in the same way because drought recurs each year. When a farmer loses the ability to grow crops on land that has produced food for generations, non-economic loss becomes very real. The communities face the loss of culture and Indigenous knowledge at the same time as they lose their livelihoods.  

While we continued our discussions with Zimbabwe communities, world leaders at COP28 in Dubai discussed the Global Goal on Adaptation and made pledges to the Loss and Damage fund. The decisions made in these annual climate conferences are a matter of survival for people in rural communities like the ones I visited in Zimbabwe.  

If the goals of the Paris Agreement for mitigation and adaptation are not met, and sufficient funds for adaptation, loss and damage are not available, millions of people like Mr. Vila and his family will have no option but to leave their homes forever. Lives, livelihoods and culture will be lost. 

Ruusa Gawaza works for the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission (Felm) as a Global Climate Resilience Advisor and lives in Harare, Zimbabwe. She is a member of the Act Alliance Climate Justice Reference Group and co-chairs the Global Climate Program Community of Practice.

 

 

 

Press Release: COP28 delivers disappointing results

For Immediate Release

December 13, 2023 13:00 GST

Perhaps not surprisingly, COP28 moved into overtime after the Presidency released a weak draft text on December 11, one that was met with disdain by many nations, including the US and the UK, and with civil society organisations and faith groups demanding stronger text.

Although the Presidency was determined to end by noon on December 12th, that timeline was not met, with the final plenary only beginning at 11am  on the morning of December 13. Parties worked through the night to deliver a sort-of consensus, one that left at least one Global South group noting for the record that they hadn’t finished their discussion before the gavel fell.

ACT Alliance followed the negotiations for more than two weeks, with ACT members from around the world keeping track of all climate finance issues, in particular Adaptation and Loss and Damage funding, with an eye on the Global Stocktake. How  human rights and gender were treated in the negotiations were also key concerns.

Overall, COP28 started on a high note for those concerned about climate justice. Parties agreed to operationalise the Loss and Damage Fund with pledges of up to $792 million.  Sadly,  this is less than 1 percent  of what is needed to support people facing the greatest challenges from the impacts of climate change.

Global Stocktake

Unfortunately, the ambition of the Global Stocktake (GST)  is the exact opposite of what is needed to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

What we see in the GST is weak language on human rights. Merely respecting human rights is not enough.

Elena Cedillo of Lutheran World Federation and co-chair of the ACT Alliance Climate Justice group, comments:

Protecting, promoting and fulfilling human rights must be at the heart of the climate negotiations. Leaders at the COP28 climate summit should have put human rights at the centre. Ambitious climate action prioritises justice and equity; there is no climate justice without human rights.

Loss and Damage

 The agreement to operationalise the Loss and Damage Fund on the very first day was a breakthrough.

Elena Cedillo, LWF and co-chair of ACT’s Climate Justice group, comments:

While pledges came in, much more is needed to support people affected by climate change-related loss and damage. Contributions to the fund should be based on common but differentiated responsibilities and the polluter pays principle, not be made on a voluntary basis.

Maua Maro, LWF delegate to COP28 comments:

Though the result of COP28  is disappointing, youth will never give up pushing for more ambition and a clear path to implement the agreed operationalisation of the Loss and Damage Fund.

As youth living in a community where there is no more room for adaptation, mainstreaming non-economic loss and damage, especially on the intangible impacts caused by climate change such as human-induced mobility and displacement, loss of land and people, culture and the knowledge of Indigenous peoples, must be addressed without delay.

Climate Finance

 Julius Mbatia, ACT Alliance Climate Justice lead, comments:

Yet again, climate finance has played an intricate role in determining the level of ambition at COP28. It is clear that the COP28 finance package is worrying. Commitment by rich nations to provide public, new and additional, grant-based concessional finance fell through the cracks on many occasions.

Adaptation

The negotiations in Dubai adopted a framework for the Global Goal on Adaptation. It suggests targets to seven thematic areas and acknowledges the need to develop indicators based on best available science for accountable monitoring of the progress of securing people’s lives and livelihoods in a changing climate.

Furthermore, the framework urges parties to build adaptation action in an inclusive fashion, taking into consideration and involving localised communities, Indigenous peoples and other marginalised groups such as persons with disabilities.

Although the decision pinpoints the need to ramp up action and support for adaptation, poor and vulnerable countries should not be lulled into a false sense of security: the decision only recalls and acknowledges previous commitments that are hardly sufficient for closing the adaptation gap.

Niko Humalisto of Felm in Finland, an ACT Alliance member, comments:

It is saddening that the decision doesn’t demand new and additional finances from developed countries. Without adequate resources, we fail to guarantee the right to development for those who bear the heaviest brunt of the carbon legacy of the richest nations.

Gender

Jessica Novia of ACT member YAKKUM in Indonesia, and an ACT  COP28 delegate, comments:

Climate justice should go hand in hand with gender justice. In Indonesia, there were more than 3,000 disasters in 2023, overwhelmingly hydro meteorological disasters. These disproportionately affect women, girls and people with disabilities. Funding for loss and damage should reach them before its too late.

Mitigation

Mattias Söderberg of DanChurchAid and co-chair of ACT’s Climate Justice group comments:

We now have a new direction for world development. The fossil era is ending and we should move towards a green future. That is great, but the agreement is unfortunately full of loopholes. It will thus be up to each country, how they will move forward. At the same time there is no promise about additional funding to the global south, which means that the transition may not happen. The next COP will focus on finance, and that is when we will find out if this green transition will be possible.

Youth

Savanna Sullivan for intergenerational justice /youth engagement-LWF Program Executive for Youth comments:

The world and the COP must acknowledge that not only does climate change disproportionately affect young people, but that our conversations about justice are incomplete without the creativity and wisdom of every generation – including youth.

Human rights

Sara Savva, Deputy Director of Syria’s GOPA-DERD, an ACT member, and an ACT COP28 Delegate comments:

Climate change is not only a political or economic issue, but also a human rights issue – the biggest in human history. Unless we adopt a human rights-based approach to guide policies and measures of COP28 mitigation and adaptation, climate justice will be a mirage; indirectly violating human rights.

To arrange interviews, please contact:

Mattias Söderberg, co-chair ACT Climate Justice group, Phone or WA +45 29 70 06 09

Fiona Connelly, ACT Alliance Communications, phone or WA +1 647 210-1238

COP28 Blog: New and additional monies important for Loss and Damage Fund

By Nushrat Chowdhury 

The historic agreement to operationalise the Loss and Damage Fund was completed in the early day of COP28. Thanks goes to the host of this year’s climate summit, the United Arab Emirates, for all their work in the run up to this moment.  

Despite having no obligation to do so, the United Arab Emirates committed $100 million to the Fund, acknowledging its significance in helping climate vulnerable communities around the world. This gesture has paved the way for the industrialised nations to support the immediate capitalisation of the fund – only fair, as they are responsible for about 80 percent of historical greenhouse gas emissions.  

At the time of writing, developed countries including the UK, the US, Ireland, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Japan, Canada, Italy, Estonia and Spain had pledged around $500 million to the Fund. This is too little to support the needs of climate impacted communities. The economic costs of loss and damage in developing countries is estimated to be between $290 to $580 billion by 2030. This doesn’t include losses that are difficult to measure, such as the loss of territory, ecosystem services, and biodiversity. 

While these pledges to the Loss and Damage Fund are appreciated, it is important to determine whether it is new and additional finance in the form of grants. Repurposing previously committed finance from humanitarian assistance or any other overseas development aid (ODA) will limit support for ever-growing humanitarian needs. Relabelling mitigation and adaptation finance as loss and damage finance will put more lives and livelihoods in danger. Given the interlinkages between mitigation and adaptation costs and loss and damage, delayed climate action will only contribute to increased and more frequent losses and damages in climate afflicted communities. 

Addressing climate change is a matter of justice. Poorer communities are disproportionately impacted by the climate crisis despite having the least responsibility for causing it. New and additional grants-based finance can help climate change-affected communities rebuild their lives and livelihoods after a disaster strikes or following slow-onset disasters such as sea-level rise, river erosion, or desertification. There’s no way that relabeling or repurposing finance is acceptable in battling the climate crisis.  

Developed countries also need to indicate their potential contribution in replenishing the Fund, as a significant portion of the finance pledged at this COP will be used to establish the facility with some finance going to related funding arrangements. This will signal the possible amount of money truly going to the impacted communities. Creating a direct access pathway to the Fund for communities is critical – enabling disaster-affected communities to reach out to the Fund without intermediaries. 

The many pledges to support the newly operationalised Fund are positive signs. Yet they shouldn’t take away from previously committed climate action finance.  

Nushrat Chowdhury is a climate policy advisor with Christian Aid, based in Dacca, Bangladesh. 

MEDIA RELEASE: COP28 Global Stocktake draft offers “small fruits among large thorns” 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

December 11, 2023 

Dubai, United Arab Emirates – The text released on the Global Stocktake (GST) on Monday evening, December 11, offers only “small fruits among large thorns,” says Julius Mbatia, ACT Alliance’s global climate justice programme manager. 

After nearly two weeks of discussions in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates’ presidency has presented a text to the plenary that offers very few wins amidst a sea of disappointing, unambitious provisions. 

 Julius Mbatia, ACT Alliance, comments: 

The GST text is weak in ambition.  It does not offer needed crucial decisions but typically restates previous agreements while carefully not committing to fully supporting NDCs and NAPs. 

The GGA text too carefully steers away from developed country obligations to provide finance to developing countries; only recalls COP26 doubling adaptation finance decision; and is silent on the future need for developed countries to provide finance for adaptation. This is not a  reassuring finance package amidst worsening climate impacts.

 Elena Cedillo, Lutheran World Federation, co-chair of the ACT Alliance Climate Justice Group comments: 

The current text of the GST falls far, far short of what is needed to keep the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement. Governments must raise their ambition to face the climate emergency. The survival of our planet is at stake. 

 Rev. Tamsyn Kereopa of the Arawa & Tuwharetoa tribes, Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand  and Polynesia comments: 

We are at a tipping point and strong commitments are needed now in order to safeguard Mother Earth and the life she supports. This text therefore comes as a devastating blow. It is tragic that politics and the economic interests of the powerful are still the strongest priority for many parties. Such short sightedness will be directly responsible for the coming irreversible damage. 

Maro Maua, Lutheran World Federation youth climate activist, comments: 

As youth participating in COP28, this is very disappointing. Governments must show commitment to future generations. Raising ambition is a must to provide a future for future generations. 

George Devendorf, Senior Director of External Relations, Church World Service, comments: 

Tonight’s draft agreements illustrate a remarkable degree of timidity at a time calling for courageous, principled action. As COP28 draws to a close, we implore nations to seize this moment, demonstrate true leadership, and deliver a robust, accountable, and just roadmap to help humanity navigate the daunting challenges that lie before us.  

 Savanna Sullivan, Lutheran World Federation, comments: 

I am angered by the lack of government commitment in the GST. Their actions prioritise the profits of a few over both the survival of the planet and over the voices of millions of young leaders calling for change. Phasing out of fossil fuels quickly is essential for the respect of God’s creation and the survival of future generations. 

Mattias Söderberg, DanChurchAid, co-chair of the ACT Alliance Climate Justice Group comments: 

 The text throws out the target of 1.5.  It is a scandal. 

Most items are voluntary. If this document is adopted, the effect will depend fully on political will by parties. Text that could be positive is often couched in nebulous terms like “notes” and “could include” without actually requiring anything. In particular, finance – critical to implementation of ambitious mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage actions – is largely lacking from the new text. 

The new proposed #COP28 text will not lead us towards the 1.5 degree target. I do hope that parties continue to engage in the negotiations, to increase their ambition.

 ACT Alliance joins many parties in the developing world and civil society and other organisations in calling for a phase out of fossil fuels.  “This phase out must go hand in hand with a just transition and finance for the phase out to support developing countries as they shift,” notes Simon Chambers, ACT Alliance’s director of communications.  

Media contact: 

Simon Chambers, Director of Communications, ACT Alliance 

WhatsApp: +1-416-435-0972 email: simon.chambers@actalliance.org 

COP28 Press release: The final stretch – ambition must go up, and not be watered down

Negotiations at the UN Climate Summit, COP28, are struggling. The usual conflicts over finance and equity are making it difficult for parties to agree. The new text, which builds on consultations with the parties, is a sign of some worrying  compromises, as they inadequately  acknowledge the seriousness of the climate crisis. Still, countries are far apart and getting ambitious decisions at this COP seems a tall order.  

This is despite COP 28 starting on a good note with the adoption of a decision to set up the Loss and Damage fund and funding arrangements. 

Nushrat Chowdhury, Climate Justice Policy Advisor, Christian Aid, comments:

  • This is a landmark  moment for communities and people on the frontline of climate induced loss and damage impacts. The fund must be capitalized and continuously replenished to a scale that meets the loss and damage impacts costed at hundreds of billions of dollars each year.

2023 has been full of climate related disasters, in both the global north and the global south, and climate scientists have delivered fresh and concerning research, indicating that we need bold and drastic decisions to manage the climate crisis.

Mattias Söderberg, co-chair of the ACT Alliance Climate Justice Group, comments:

  • We must remember that the climate crisis is about people, and their lives and livelihoods.  For people who are displaced by flooding in South Sudan, or who face landslides in Nepal, the need for mitigation, adaptation and efforts to address loss and damage, is evident.

Controversial elements include the phasing out of fossil fuels. A phase out of all fossil fuels, not just unabated fossil fuels is urgently required in order to keep global temperature rise to 1.5C. However, failure to phase out fossil fuels without appropriate measures to create alternative income and employment and to ensure access to renewable energy for all through a just transition will have devastating impacts on growth and development around the world. Thus, climate finance, and initiatives to promote collaboration to ensure this just transition, is the key to a strong COP28 outcome.

Sara Savva Deputy Director GOPA-DERD/ACT Alliance – Member of ACT MENA CJWG comments:

  • If we do not act now, consequences will be terrifying for us all, especially for the most vulnerable in the global south, as worldwide temperature increase moves beyond 1,5 degrees.

Julius Mbatia, ACT Alliance global climate justice programme manager, comments:

  • It is undeniably true that the world must transition from fossil fuel-run development to greener, renewable energy powered development. This transition must be fair, and equitable with rich countries taking the lead and providing sufficient finance  to cushion the transition in countries without equal levels of wealth and capacity. 

Mattias Söderberg, co-chair of the ACT Alliance Climate Justice Group, comments:

  • The only option we have is to phase out all fossil fuels. The alternative will be terrifying for us all, and global temperature increase will move beyond the 1,5 degree.
  • It is sad that this need is not acknowledged and respected by the global north. Finance and commitments about cooperation are a crucial block in these talks, and we will not have an ambitious outcome of fossil fuels unless we also have an ambitious outcome on finance.

Finally, the fact that the climate crisis is so critical, makes the Global Goal on Adaptation even more important. COP28 should adopt a framework for this goal, to ensure that we have  a blueprintfor adaptation action. It should present global targets for adaptation action, and guide governments, politicians and organizations, when they invest in adaptation, ensuring that their efforts have impact.

Sara Savva Deputy Director GOPA-DERD/ACT Alliance – Member of ACT MENA CJWG comments,

  • Without  a good blueprintfor adaptation, I am afraid the scarce adaptation funds will not have the desired impact. 
  • A blueprint  without targets indicators will be difficult to monitor, and if there are no references to funding, it will be very uncertain if the plans actually will be implemented. 
  • The current text for the Global Goal on Adaptation is far too weak, and it will not become the tool governments, organisations and politicians will need when they plan their adaptation interventions.  

Mattias Söderberg, co-chair of the ACT Alliance Climate Justice Group, comments:

  • As ACT Alliance, we urge all the parties to come to consensus on a final decision at this COP that incorporates strong climate justice, clear indicators on the Global Goal for Adaptation, a full phase out of fossil fuels that includes a just transition, and adequate new and additional climate finance- in the form of grants, not loans- to meet the needs of countries and communities in the global south, who face the brunt of the impacts of climate change already.

Media contact:

Simon Chambers, director of communications, ACT Alliance
WhatsApp: +1-416-324-0972 email: simon.chambers@actalliance.org 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COP28 Blog: Accountability is key at negotiations

By National Council of Churches in the Philippines

On average, at least twenty typhoons make landfall in the Philippines every year; five of these are predicted to be destructive. The

Typhoon Goni, Bicol Region, Philippines

devastation caused by these typhoons has unfortunately become a normal occurrence in marginalised Filipino communities. Somewhat ironically, these communities are being praised worldwide for their resilience and optimism in otherwise hopeless scenarios. The experiences of the people of the Philippines are living testimonies that climate change impacts are not just measured by the strength of typhoons, but by their intersectional and lasting effects on vulnerable communities. 

According to the 2021 Global Climate Risk Index, the Philippines is the fourth most vulnerable country to the long-term impacts of climate change. To take this risk seriously, the country must address the losses and damage caused by the climate crisis and execute adaptation and mitigation measures toward a people-centered development, low-carbon future. 

While the Philippines’ contribution to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is relatively small compared to those of the G20, studies show that the country’s emissions have increased by 114 percent between 1990 and 2017. This is due both to the Philippine energy and industry sectors which continue to build coal-fired powerplants, and to government projects that allow massive degradation of the country’s natural resources through reclamation, land conversions and mega dam construction. The lives of environmental defenders who struggle to protect all life in land and sea are also at stake; as they are deliberately attacked because of their advocacy. It is high time for the country to take genuine steps towards climate crisis mitigation that puts the welfare of people and biodiversity at its core.  

There is also an important global aspect that we would have hoped was addressed at COP28. The National Council of Churches in the Philippines believes that the climate crisis must be addressed by holding major greenhouse gas contributors accountable for the impacts of climate change that their emissions have caused.  

The Council notes that the climate crisis is “a consequence of the historical impact of the patterns of consumption and industrialisation by what are now the wealthiest so-called ‘developed’ nations in the world.” To demonstrate accountability, they must support those countries most affected by climate change’s adverse impacts through climate finance, technology transfer, and capacity building. They should also comply with the global commitments to keep their own carbon footprint in check. 

COP28 has been the ideal occasion in which to demonstrate this accountability.  Decisions at COP28 must include doubling adaptation finance and operationalising the loss and damage fund.  All interventions should uphold and respect human rights. Vulnerable communities must be first in line to access funds that will help them adapt and rebuild sustainably. Wealthy countries can, and must, demonstrate their accountability through just financing of these funds, and by reducing their own emissions exponentially. 

The National Council of Churches in the Philippines is a member of ACT Alliance.

Press conference at COP28: Voices of faith call for justice in COP28 decisions and actions

10 December 2023

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEDIA ADVISORY

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Voices of faith share their calls to world leaders for justice in negotiations on topics such as fossil fuel transition, climate finance, loss and damage, human rights, and GST. Faith members, involved in climate advocacy, bring a unique perspective grounded in the moral call to climate change. This perspective influences their technical experience and their work with communities on the frontlines of the climate emergency.

85% of the world’s population ascribe to a faith tradition. Members of these faith communities work at the local, regional, national, and international levels to pursue climate justice. The Interfaith Liaison Committee brings together faith constituencies working to achieve climate justice to raise their voices together and share their stories from their traditions and experiences around the world..

What: Call for justice in GST, human rights, just transition, climate finance, Loss & Damage, Indigenous justice, and intergenerational justice.

Who: 

Lindsey Fielder Cook, Representative for the Human Impacts of Climate Change, Quaker United Nations Office, Gernamy
Mattias Søderberg, co-chair ACT Alliance Climate Justice Group, DanChurch Aid, Denmark
Maua Maro, youth climate activist, Lutheran World Federation, Kenya
Shantanu Mandal, youth climate activist, Brahma Kumaris, India
Elena Cedillo, co-chair ACT Alliance Climate Justice Group, Lutheran World Federation, Switzerland
Faith Sebwa, 12 years old, student of class VI, hearing impaired, Kenya
Rev. Henrik Grape, Senior advisor on Care for Creation, Sustainability, and Climate Justice for the World Council of Churches – Moderator

Where: Press Conference Room 2 Zone B6 building 77 and online

When: Monday, December 11, 2023 14:30-15:00 Dubai time

Why: Faith communities bring concrete experiences of the impact of climate change on the most vulnerable people, including women and girls in all their diversity and people on the move, who have done the least to cause climate change and are facing the brunt of its impacts. Faith groups are on the front lines, responding to climate change through mitigation, disaster risk reduction, adaptation, and more.

# # # # #

MEDIA CONTACT
Simon Chambers- WhatsApp: +1-416-435-0972, Email: simon.chambers@actalliance.org
Director of Communications, ACT Alliance

COP28 Blog: Loss and damage in Zambia

By Rev. Chali Mfuta, United Church of Zambia

The climate crisis has had a negative impact on communities in countries in the Global South which do not have the financial capacity

to mitigate the effects. Earlier this year, on January 22, a tropical storm known as Cyclone Anna hit Madagascar, Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia. It caused death, destruction and power outages due to the heavy rains. In the southern part of Zambia, Namwala and Monze districts were very affected by these floods. It really is sad to see the damages, the loss, and the risks that people were exposed to and the mitigation for the same.  

There was severe damage to all the crops as they were submerged in flood waters. Livestock and houses were swept away. This led to hunger in the communities which experienced these losses, making it hard for children, pregnant women and the elderly to survive. 

In the communities of Nanwala and Monze alone, 32,448 households were displaced, leaving a number of people homeless. Everything was submerged in the water so that the affected people had to be airlifted from higher places or the small islands where they had sought refuge.  

The risk of not having shelter, access to clean water and health facilities for vulnerable groups such as the elderly, children and the physically challenged led to fear of violation, abuse, and neglect. Permanent structures for shelter and health and safety services were urgently needed, as was nutrition.  

Assistance came from different faith-based organizations, the Red Cross, the Zambian police force, the Ministry of Health and the government’s Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit. They provided items such as food, toiletries, clothes, tents and medicine, and even spiritual support.  

When reaching out to the community, the priority must be affected households and families. The challenge is the rehabilitation and reconstruction of damaged or destroyed facilities including houses, schools, shops, markets, health facilities and police stations. COP28 is an opportunity to increase funding for these kinds of disasters which affect the most vulnerable communities. The type of funding should be grants and not loans. 

The funds should be easily accessible in order to mitigate the disasters in good time to avoid losing lives. 

As we work towards the climate justice the earth needs, let us also put in place policies and funding that will effectively respond to the damage and loss caused by climate change.  

Rev. Chali Mfuta of the United Church of Zambia serves as minister in Livingstone, Zambia. She is attending COP28 virtually as part of The United Church of Canada delegation. Chali witnessed first-hand the devastating impacts of Cyclone Ana and is a strong climate justice advocate. 

 

 

COP28 Blog: In Syria, adaptation is part of life

Here in Syria, people’s capacity to cope will most likely be significantly reduced in months to come. Syria has been in crisis for the past twelve years. Now, continued inflation and other substantial challenges have made everyday life for Syrians almost impossible to bear.  

After being here for seven years, I can see how humanitarian work has in one way or another, and perhaps indirectly, taken a dive into climate adaptation programming. Climate adaptation has become a vital turning point for many. Syrians already opt for eco-friendly solutions when going about their daily routines – without putting a label on it or knowing that it is part of reducing the world’s carbon footprint and adapting to climate change.  

Syrians ride bicycles instead of driving cars, they install solar panels and establish home gardens. These are just some of the many activities that are more affordable, support many livelihoods, and use reliable resources.  

The humanitarian response to climate change in Syria will soon feel a growing demand. One very successful way for the humanitarian community to engage in climate programming is to access adaptation funding to increase multi-purpose cash and in-kind assistance. This can protect livelihoods, reduce humanitarian needs, and strengthen people’s adaptive capacities and resilience. 

We in the humanitarian sector must advocate for funding for disaster preparedness, early recovery and resilience-building activities to be part of climate-related adaptation, and we can do so with a unified voice at COP28. At the moment, we do not have clear information about donors and climate financing streams, let alone how local actors can access such funding. 

Sara Savva is Deputy Director of Gopa-Derd, one of ACT’s newest members.  She is also an ACT delegate at COP28 from December 7 to 12.