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Zambia showing commitment to responding to climate change challenges – CARITAS

CARITAS Zambia has urged the government to strengthen policies, plans and programmes in order to address irreversible and inadaptable climate change impact currently taking place.

In a statement following the conclusion of the Conference of Parties (COP26) on climate change held in Glasgow, Scotland, livelihoods and climate change programme specialist Musamba Mubanga said Caritas Zambia participated in the conference which brought around 200 countries together.

Mubanga said COP26 was the 5th COP since singing the historic Paris Agreement in 2015, and was seen as the first real test of the effectiveness of that climate treaty in averting a climate catastrophe.

She said COP26 was important as the Paris Agreement states that every five years countries must revisit their promises and if possible, increase their ambitions.

Mubanga said Caritas Zambia appreciates the decision made by the conference on a Glasgow Climate Pact, requesting parties to consider formulating and publishing updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) before COP27.

“This we believe will provide countries with strong basis to start implementing the Agreement through the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). However, there is urgent need for parties to the agreement to meaningfully and practically increase their efforts to collectively reduce emissions through accelerated action and implementation of domestic mitigation measures in accordance with Article 4 of the Paris Agreement, and makes a particular call on the biggest historical polluters to increase the 2030 targets as soon as possible ahead of COP27,” she said.

On adaptation, Mubanga said Caritas Zambia recognises the importance of the global goal on adaptation for the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement, and therefore welcomes the launch of the comprehensive two-year Glasgow–Sharm el-Sheikh working programme.

She said the adoption of the adaptation programme would help to bring together different actors for a more open dialogue on climate change problems and solutions.

Mubanga, however, said the outcomes and how they could lead to change anything for the poorest on the ground was unclear.

“Caritas Zambia appreciates parties’ call to accelerate the phasing-down of coal. Although there was no clear date line set, it must be noted that this was the first time such a commitment has been made since the Paris Agreement. Further, Caritas Zambia commends the Scottish government’s symbolic leadership for breaking the taboo of financing loss and damage caused by human actions that cause climate change,” he said.

She called upon other developed nations to do the same and recognise their historical responsibility for the climate crisis the world is facing.

Mubanga said this finance should be in the form of reparative climate finance.

“It is also worth noting that the Zambian government is showing commitment to responding to climate change challenges and their leading role for the Zambian delegation that attended the COP26, allowing wide stakeholder participation is commended,” she said.

She welcomed the establishment of the Glasgow dialogue between parties, relevant organisations and stakeholders to discuss the arrangements for the funding of activities to avert, minimise and address loss and damage associated with the adverse impacts of climate change.

Mubanga said this would take place in the first sessional period of each year of the subsidiary body for implementation and would conclude at its sixtieth session in June 2024.

“However, our concerns begin with the fact that COP26 failed to deliver climate finance to guarantee justice for the most vulnerable people in the world. The lack of focus on finance for loss and damage of the environment leaves people living in poverty even more vulnerable and without hope. Climate finance needed a much more ambitious push to move the world and countries beyond the commitments that have already been made and to help meet the goal of capping global temperature rise at 1.5C,” she said.

“We went into COP26 on a trajectory towards a devastating 2.7C of warming, and called for world leaders to get on track for the safer level and agreed target of 1.5C. We cannot reach 1.5C without phasing out coal, oil and gas. The final outcome of COP26 saw relatively weak language on fossil fuels, calling for ‘efforts towards’ phase-down of unabated coal power, with no mention of oil or gas. In fact, the rich countries have not gone anywhere near enough on specific commitments to reduce emissions to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.”

Mubanga expressed disappointment that the $100 billion pledge that was made at the COP25, remains outstanding.

She said the leaders of wealthy nations had fallen short of their responsibilities to the communities already suffering from this crisis, and only 12 nations signing up to an alliance to turn off the taps to new oil and gas drilling.

Mubanga said Caritas Zambia regrets that the Glasgow Loss and Damage Facility proposed by the G77 and China and other groupings, was not established by the COP26 outcomes.

She said there was need to galvanise and build political will throughout 2022 to help parties sign up to finance for loss and damage, ahead of COP27.

Mubanga said while there were promises to shift the balance of funding by 2025 by doubling the level of support to the least developed countries to adapt, long-standing climate finance promises were not met.

“Therefore, we implore the new deal government to constantly urge the developed countries to double their climate finance for adaptation to developing countries by 2025. The messages from faith-based organisations, especially from climate vulnerable countries were consistent and clear in the run up to and throughout the COP26 session,” she said. “Wealthy countries must simply step up to their responsibilities and deliver the support and finance that low-income countries need to meet their own climate targets. This will help them adjust to the impacts of climate change, as well as to pay for the suffering already being experienced by many communities in the world.”

She said there was need for additional finance for loss and damage to be urgently raised to support affected communities.

Mubanga said loss and damage should be treated as a key standing item as the nation develops programmes to enhance community response to climate change alongside mitigation and adaptation.

She said there was urgent need to seek knowledge and evidence required to help understand the extent of loss and damage being experienced by communities due to climate change damage in Zambia, and how this affects vulnerable communities.

Mubanga said the Zambian government should therefore support initiatives that help gather evidence and develop knowledge of how loss and damage was impacting Zambians.

“As such we call on the government to engage with relevant stakeholders in this process and ensure that the national plans address local climate justice issues and give hope to the communities greatly affected from loss and damage. This should include addressing gender and human rights dimensions. Looking ahead to COP27, which will be the African COP, it will be important for the most vulnerable people who are affected in Zambia to be represented at this meeting. This will help to bring their stories to the world. Furthermore, there is need to enhance local actions and to learn from some of the failures of COP26,” Mubanga said.

“As a country we should emphasise that every failure to deliver compensation for irreversible climate-related loss and damage is a betrayal of communities suffering now. As such, we need a robust new climate action that will mark a key milestone of the talks for COP27-the African COP.”

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