By Memory Chamisa in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt
The Conference of Parties (COP27) ended this Sunday with a historic deal that has seen African countries, including Zimbabwe succeed in establishing the Loss and Damage Fund.
The deal came through after vicious debates and tense negotiations that went into the early hours of Sunday, the 20th of November 2022.
Loss and damage refers to the most severe impacts of extreme weather on the physical and social infrastructure of poor countries, and the financial assistance needed to rescue and rebuild them.
It was the most contentious issue at the conference and has been a long-running demand by developing countries since 1992.
While others left the negotiations three days ago out of frustration, Zimbabwe, led by its head of delegation, the Deputy Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Hon Babra Rwodzi, stayed put in ensuring their demands were met.
“Yes, we delivered a great deal for Zimbabwe, Africa and the world for posterity. We have delivered what has been resisted for three decades, and on African soil. We have rescued climate change for today and the future of our children across the globe.
“This fund on Loss and Damage is not charity. It’s an investment in everyone’s future. As Team Zimbabwe, we never left the negotiation rooms, and stayed the last 3 days, day and night because this was dicey and decisive to deliver. We compromised a lot, on one condition that L&D must pass for the world and for the 1.3 billion Africans hardest hit by climate change. Africa and Zimbabwe are at huge risk from climate change and we carefully put a strategy to win this matter. We were not doing it for just ourselves, but because the world is under crisis and will be affected worse if we did not act,” said Hon Rwodzi.
Africa Chair of Negotiators, who is also the Zambian Minister of Environment, Hon Collins Nzovu congratulated all parties that stayed and ensured their voice was heard.
“This is a win for Africa and other developing countries, the priorities of developing countries on climate action. In the years to come, we will look at the African COP27 as a pivotal moment in our joint commitment to ensure the convention and Paris Agreement finance architecture is on track and is delivering.”
While for nearly two weeks, Europe and the United States of America refused demands from poor countries for a new fund to address loss and damage, arguing that existing funds should be redirected for the purpose, the European Union made a dramatic change on Friday, agreeing to a fund with the condition that big economies and polluters who see themselves as developing countries much be included as potential donors and not recipients as they are not equal with poor countries that desperately need climate funding.