COP28 Blog:  #AnticipatoryAction for the climate crisis

By Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe (DKH)

Reduced impact of hazards when applying anticipatory action. Graphic: Centre for Humanitarian Data.

 Loss and damage can be understood as the negative impact of climate change that occurs despite, or in the absence of, climate change mitigation and adaptation measures. Limits to adaptation are the point at which adaptive responses cease to provide protection against climate impacts. When an adaptation limit is reached, loss and damage will escalate as adaptation is no longer able to reduce negative impacts. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has also warned that even if effective actions to limit global temperature increase to 1.5°C were put in place, loss and damage stemming from climate change are not preventable, as there is a “locked-in” level of warming that already leads to unavoidable consequences. 

United Nations Early Warning for All initiative

Climate, weather and water-related extremes have led to 15 times more deadly hazards for people in Africa, South Asia, South and Central America, and small island states. Over the last 50 years, nearly 70 percent of all deaths from climate-related disasters have occurred in the 46 poorest countries. This initiative aims to enhance collaboration and accelerated action to address gaps and deliver people-centered, end-to-end multi-hazard early warning systems that leave no one behind. 

Getting Ahead of Disasters Charter: One of the biggest obstacles preventing the conversion of early warnings into effective early and anticipatory action is the lack of pre-arranged financial resources. Over 98% of crisis financing is still arranged after disasters strike – despite reliable science to predict them. Evidence from the field suggests that twice as many vulnerable persons can be served at the same cost by deploying resources pre-disaster.  

Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe’s work on locally led anticipatory action 

Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe has a focus throughout our programming on humanitarian disaster risk reduction and tackling the climate crisis. One key approach we have developed is Locally led Anticipatory Action – applied to localize and scale up early warning and early action. We have developed a Guide & Toolkit on this topic in collaboration with our local partners and the Global Network of civil society actors for Disaster Reduction (GNDR).  

We are also supporting our local partners, especially those from the Global South, to establish working groups on locally led anticipatory action, with the Anticipation Hub and ACT Alliance, to influence policies and shape fully and predictably financed, scaled-up early action. 

A call for collective action 

Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe joins our sister organization Brot für die Welt in calling to increase the contribution for start-up financing to the #LossAndDamage fund to one billion euros. We also join Climate Alliance Germany and VENRO in the call for the German Government to advocate for a robust and measurable global adaptation target and to implement the Principles for Locally led Adaptation. We also endorse the ICVA, Joint call on Loss and Damage Fund to empower communities with skills and resources to prepare, respond and recover from climate impacts, including through timely, flexible, predictable, multi-year funding support for both rapid-onset and slow-onset impacts. 

Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe encourages our local partners and other allies to join us in addressing climate change loss and damage by endorsing, making commitments, and promoting the following charter and calls to action. 

Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe is a partner of both the Risk-informed early action Partnership (REAP) and the Anticipation Hub, and a member of GNDR and ACT Alliance. 


COP28 Blog: Vulnerability and climate finance

By Niko Humalisto

The distribution of the $100-billion-dollar climate finance commitment sparks competition among developing countries vying to be primary recipients of support. Notably, many African least developed countries (LDCs)

haven’t received aid from the key UN fund for climate action. Prioritising these limited finances for actions yielding the most benefits aligns with the interests of countries mobilising these funds. Central to this prioritisation is the concept of particular vulnerability. 

In climate negotiations such as COP28, nations often highlight their vulnerabilities: the Arabian Peninsula faces extreme heat, island states are grappling with rising sea levels, and countries with savannahs are at risk of desertification. Consequently, there is growing competition to establish vulnerability to increase the chances of being eligible for climate finance for mitigation, adaptation, and loss and damage in future. 

The competition for finance is partly due to scientific ambiguity. Vulnerability lacks a singular definition and can vary in terms of duration (long or short term), geographic scale, and an emphasis on societal, technological, or natural causes of vulnerability. Different scientific criteria lead to inconsistent results when answering the question of whether climate finances are largely targeted to vulnerable countries. Since a scientific consensus might not soon emerge, a political solution becomes imperative. 

Vulnerable or particularly vulnerable nations 

However, defining vulnerability politically remains not only ambiguous but controversial. The Paris Agreement identifies Lesser Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) as particularly vulnerable. The Bali Action Plan, established at COP13, designates Africa as “most vulnerable” alongside SIDS and LDCs. The original 1992 convention on climate change outlines various criteria affiliated with biophysical conditions, such as lowland coastal areas prone to floods or areas with high desertification risk as particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. Despite attempts to differentiate between vulnerable and particularly vulnerable nations, all developing countries are eligible for climate funding. 

As negotiations proceed for the new quantified collective climate finance goal and the establishment of modalities for the Loss and Damage Fund, donor countries have noted that some Gulf states already have a higher GDP per capita than they do. This poses a challenge to a more than thirty-year-old division of donors and recipients. Many developing country groups strongly oppose this challenge and emphasise developed nations’ historic responsibility for climate change and corresponding responsibility to rectify it. The ambiguity in both scientific and policy realms impedes the creation of meaningful mechanisms to delineate eligible and non-eligible countries. 

Focus on local leadership and vulnerable populations 

For civil society organisations dedicated to promoting climate justice, having a position on this issue—a thorny, cross-agenda debate—is crucial. One approach is to emphasize local leadership in climate action, recognizing that when it comes to vulnerability, disparities within countries often surpass those between countries. ActAlliance also stresses targeting vulnerable population groups for financial aid, such as Indigenous people, persons with disabilities, or smallholder farmers. There is no scientific ambiguity as to whether these groups are vulnerable or not. Another avenue involves not committing to pre-established boundaries on particular vulnerabilities, opting instead to evaluate problems on a case-by-case basis as modeling technologies advance. 

We must also acknowledge that economic prosperity, climate change, and vulnerability are dynamic processes which require evolving criteria for financing eligibility. Insisting on robust differentiation mechanisms between countries based on vulnerability at this stage might do more harm than good. This is especially the case when there are existing avenues to channel financial resources into combating the climate crisis without increasing geopolitical tensions.  

Niko Humalisto works as a leading advocacy specialist for ACT Alliance member the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission and holds a title of an adjunct professor in the University of Eastern Finland. Apart from his work in advancing climate finances and circular economies, he volunteers in the bicycle workshop in Turku, Finland.