ActionAid Ireland’s top five COP28 asks of world leaders

  • Date: 27/11/2023
  • Author: Jo-Ann Ward

We are calling on world leaders to agree on a strong Loss and Damage Fund at the COP28 climate summit. This needs to effectively deliver finances to vulnerable communities on the front line of the climate crisis.

Ireland must play its part by committing to a target and making an ambitious contribution to the Loss and Damage Fund above its existing climate finance commitments.

As part of our top five policy asks for COP28, we are calling for agreement on the phasing out of fossil fuels in a way that is “fair, fully financed and enables transitions”.

Ireland must do everything it can so that COP28 delivers for the communities in the Global South who have done little to cause the climate crisis, but are disproportionately affected by its impacts. 

People in the global south paying the highest price

ActionAid Ireland CEO Karol Balfe said: “People in the Global South are paying the price for our inaction, particularly women. Women and children are 14 times more likely to die from climate disasters as men. 80% of people displaced by climate disasters are women. The greater the gender and economic inequality, the greater the disparity between men and women’s chances of survival.”

Ms Balfe continued: “COP28 arrives at a critical juncture for global efforts to address climate change. Temperature records are consistently being shattered, and the world is experiencing unprecedented wildfires, floods, storms, and droughts, underscoring the urgent need for climate action. Ireland can play a leading role at this year’s summit in Dubai.”

She said civil society actors have been pushing for a Loss and Damage Fund for the past 30 years. “Last year’s COP was a huge victory for climate justice as governments agreed to establish a Loss and Damage Fund. The crucial question now is the level of funding, how the fund will work and how it will be distributed, all of which is still to be agreed. The Loss and Damage Fund will be an empty shell without finance.”

The proposal that the fund be hosted by the World Bank is rightly under scrutiny. It risks being controlled by the US and other developing countries who still refuse to accept responsibility for climate-induced losses and damage, said Ms Balfe, who added that loss and damage must be in the form of grants, rather than loans.

To avert a catastrophe we need to limit temperatures to the agreed 1.5 degree-Celsius mark by phasing out fossil fuels.

Investment in fossil fuel is still flowing

ActionAid’s research has found that in the seven years since the Paris Agreement was signed, banks in the Global North have provided $3.2 trillion to fossil fuel activities in the Global South.

“This unsustainable financing is provided by many of the world’s biggest banks – and Ireland enables billions of this money to flow. More than 1,200 multinational companies have established themselves in Ireland, and investment managers registered in Ireland held US$ 6.2 billion in bonds and shares attributable to fossil fuels and agribusiness in the Global South.”

“In essence, this means that some of the world’s largest polluters – Shell, Exxon and Chervon – are channelling money through Ireland, with devastating consequences for climate change in the Global South. It is completely by design that Ireland acts as a channel for global institutional investors to profit from their fossil fuel investments in the Global South.” said Ms Balfe.

ActionAid Ireland’s top five COP28 asks of world leaders

  • Agree and put money towards a new Loss and Damage Fund so that communities on the front lines of the climate crisis can rebuild and recover in the aftermath of climate disasters. 
  • Agree to phase out fossil fuels in a way that is fair, fully financed and enables transition
  • Make progress on scaling up climate finance and shifting the world’s financial flows to stop doing harm and to build a more sustainable future.
  • The Global Stocktake at COP28 must result in a frank analysis and a real ramping up of climate action. 
  • The new work programme on Agriculture and Food Security to be agreed at COP28 must talk about the real solutions such as agroecology to make farmers and food systems fit for purpose in an era of climate change.

Nearly half of the agricultural workforce in the global south are women. Their livelihoods and food security are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Photo caption: Asiya pictured in her destroyed home in Malawi. She lost four of her children earlier this year when they were swept away by flooding during Cyclone Freddy, the longest and most powerful cyclone ever recorded.

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