From the catastrophic recent floods in Pakistan to the ongoing drought emergency in Kenya, similarly disastrous impacts are blighting developing nations across the globe.
UN secretary-general, António Guterres, stated this week, ahead of November’s Cop27 summit in Egypt, properly addressing this dimension of the climate crisis – the damage already being done – is a “moral imperative that can no longer be ignored”.
The manner in which available climate finance has been distributed has also been deeply flawed. Far too much assistance has come in the form of loans rather than grants, and been directed at middle-income countries rather than the poorest nations. Private finance and institutions such as the World Bank have funnelled money to projects designed to reduce emissions – where profit streams are more readily available – but neglected the need for poorer countries to deal with climate challenges that are overwhelming fragile economies. Belatedly, there are signs that the rich world is waking up to its responsibilities to the global south. Last month, Denmark became the first party to the Cop negotiations to offer funding related to “loss and damage” – defined as the destruction caused by climate-related disasters so extreme that no protection is possible against them. The $13m pledged by Copenhagen to the Sahel region in north-west Africa must act as a catalyst for other developed nations to step up to the plate.