Negotiations for Loss and Damage account at Cop25 hits a wall

By Chimwemwe Njoloma – Mana.

While they expected sunshine, developing countries have walked out of the just ended climate negotiations, Cop25 in Madrid, Spain disappointed as developed countries have refused to commit on loss and damage bringing a fatal flow to the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) for Loss and Damage meant to benefit developing countries.

The Warsaw International Mechanism is purposed to implement appropriate approaches to address loss and damage particularly where loss and damage pushes society to reexamine current ways of thinking and managing climate risks.

In an interview with Malawi News Agency (MANA) in Lilongwe Tuesday, Director of Risk Reduction in the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA), James Chiusiwa who follows the loss and damage agenda in the negotiations, stated that if WIM was working according to the expectation of developing countries, Malawi could have benefited from the financial mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC).

He said however, this has not been possible as there have been no funds under the mechanism to assist developing countries that have been affected by disasters.

Developed countries, who are supposed to provide the funds due to their contribution to climate change as a result of their emissions of greenhouse gases have been opposing the idea.

For example, Chiusiwa said after the 2015 floods, the World Bank provided US$80 million, half of which was a loan to support recovery efforts. After the 2016 drought, the Bank provided US$104 million while after the 2019 floods, the African Development Bank has provided US$27 million to support recovery and reconstruction efforts but the funds aren’t enough.

“If you consider the recovery and reconstruction requirements, you will see that the provided funds fall far short of the requirements. This means that the country has not been able to fully recover from the 2015 and 2016 floods and drought and will not fully recover from the 2019 floods.”

“This is where we had expected that WIM and other accounts would come to our rescue. Unfortunately, this is not the case,” he explained.

Chiusiwa said the funds could have been used to support recovery and reconstruction efforts after the three disasters, but this has not been possible despite the fact that these disasters are occurring to this magnitude because of climate change which Malawi hasn’t contributed much to.

The loss and damage took center stage of this year’s climate negotiations, vulnerable countries demanding the largest countries to align their climate plans and fund the loss and damage account to help developing countries in curbing climate change effects.

Developing countries, through their submissions on the WIM review, are of the view that it has not been very effective in averting, minimizing and addressing loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change because not much has been done enhancing action and support.

Developing countries expected support in terms of financial resources to address loss and damage after occurrence of disasters to assist in the recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction of damaged infrastructure and livelihoods.

Chiusiwa said that though developed countries have refused to be held accountable for loss and damage, developing countries have made recommendations to Cop25 and will need to be met.

He mentioned that Cop needs to establish a network on addressing loss and damage to facilitate a technical network of organisations, bodies, partners and relevant stakeholders involved in loss and damage and identify ways to support approaches for all components of comprehensive risk management among others.

“We have recommended that Cop should support vulnerable countries in implementing identified actions, plans and strategies, more progress to be made in the implementation of the work stream on enhancing action and support to address loss and damage and a lot more,” the Director said.

Commenting on the issue, Care International Regional Advocacy and Partnership Lead for Southern Africa also Malawi’s negotiator at Cop, Vitumbiko Chinoko said Cop ended with very little commitment to increase ambition and finance for climate adaptation despite developing countries announcing their long term plans.

He said it deferred most important agenda such as modalities to manage Kyoto Protocol emission reduction strategies into Cop26 in the United Kingdom.

“That makes Cop26 a terribly packed agenda. We are calling on the parties to reach out to each other and the Chilean presidency to collaborate with the Cop26 on the next Cop.

“We can’t repeat what happened in Madrid. We are failing the vulnerable people,” Chinoko said.

EU announced their plans to have net zero emissions by mid-century 2050 as the UK reiterated their £11.6 billion commitment over the next five years through overseas development cooperation.

“We applaud the gesture by the EU and call upon other nations to emulate the same and continue to increase their contribution to the Green Climate Fund,” Chinoko said.

WIM was established in 2013 at COP 19 in Warsaw, Poland to address loss and damage associated with impacts of climate change including extreme events and slow onset events, in developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.

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