Hope for Communities Living in the Frontlines of Climate Disasters.

ActionAid International Kenya Representatives Lucy Ntongai and Jeniffer Kibon (both at the center) participate in a march at COP27 Event in Shamar El Sheikh, Egypt.

COP27 has brought hope for communities living in the frontlines of climate disasters as nations agreed to establish a loss and damage fund. The Loss and damage fund will support with recovery in the aftermath of destructive climate impacts caused by both sudden onset disasters like cyclones and floods or slow onset impacts like drought or desertification. It will ensure farmers can be compensated if they lose their livelihoods, homes can be rebuilt, and traditions saved. 

As nations and stakeholders pressed for the creation of this fund, ActionAid was not left behind; the organization sent a team to Egypt to add their voices on calling for developed nations to commit to a loss and damage fund, considering that they are responsible for producing most planet heating gas emissions. ActionAid International Kenya team was led by the Executive Director, Susan Otieno, Lucy Ntongai, Project Officer, Gender Responsive Alternatives for Adoption to Climate Change and Jeniffer Kibon a community mobilizer and a climate crisis survivor from Tangulbei whose passion on climate justice is unfathomable.

The ActionAid team from Kenya actively participated in calling for establishment of the Loss and damage fund. This was highlighted through the ‘flood is coming’ messages where the team wore blue dresses with flood is coming message. The call to establish the fund was culminated with a march that amplified their call on the loss and damage fund.  

“There were high hopes that COP27 would deliver for Africa – and on the issue of loss and damage it has. For the millions of people across East Africa who are at risk of starvation after endless drought; for the girls who are being taken out of school to walk miles for water; they will now know that the world stands in solidarity with them. All these people have done the least to cause climate change, but they are paying the highest price. But this is only the first step, and the negotiations next year must address the many questions still hanging on how it will work in practice.” Susan Otieno, Executive Director at ActionAid International Kenya,

“COP27 has provided me with a chance to voice my concerns on the effect of climate change to my local community. I am happy that the world leaders heard our voices and have set the fund to address the loss and damage. I am looking forward to an inclusive loss and damage fund that recognizes the voices of the communities on the frontline.” Stated Jeniffer Kibon Community mobilizer and Climate crisis survivor.

Establishment of the fund is a step in the right direction but there is need to go to the details of what climate finance is used for. “The climate finance should focus on the immediate needs of the people, recognition of huge adaptation gaps and political commitment to meet needs and establishment of clear time bound tracking on finance and quality mechanisms from local communities to access the funds.”  Stated Lucy Ntongai, Project Officer, Gender Responsive Alternatives for Climate Change Project

The team attended several side events and had some key take aways:

1. Climate induced disasters require bold and pragmatic steps from other regions including Glasgow commitments for emissions reduction.

2. Climate solutions should be designed to look at the human aspects in order address the immediate and future needs for people, and the environment.

3. Local leadership should be involved in developing interventions or solutions to address climate change.

Authors: Ezra Kiriago (Communications Coordinator AAIK) and Lucy Ntongai  (Project Officer, Gender Responsive Alternatives for Climate Change Project)

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