SUSTAINABLE CLIMATE FINANCE: AFRICA MUST UNITE TO ACHIEVE ITS GOALS – PROFESSOR OLANREWAJU FAGBOHUN, SAN.
Renowned environmental lawyer and past Vice-Chancellor of the Lagos State University, Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun, SAN tasked African countries to take a united stand in asserting their joint position if they intend to achieve their sustainable finance goals regarding loss and damage.
Fagbohun stated this while delivering the Keynote Address, titled “Loss and Damage and The Quest for Sustainable Climate Finance Mechanism”, at the Corporate Accountability & Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) 2nd National Conference on Climate Change, 2023, themed: Creating Agenda for Sustainable Climate Finance for Nigeria.
The professor of environmental law explained the concept of loss and damage and its categorization, and further undertook an historical excursion as a guide for future actions.
He shed light on the agitation of developing countries for the creation of a fund to support the funding of climate-related loss and damage. He explained that this drive was necessitated by the fact that the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities and countries that have contributed the least to global greenhouse gas emissions were already facing devastating impacts.
He explained further that the climate impacts were not only threatening human rights and resulting in loss of livelihoods, homelands, and cultures, but they have also curtailed the ability to pursue developmental goals that can end poverty and ensure their citizens’ general prosperity.
In his Keynote, he noted the historic importance of COP27, especially for the establishment of a fund and new funding arrangements that focus on addressing loss and damage for developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, as well as the constitution of a Transitional Committee to see to the operationalization of the new funding arrangements and the fund. However, he was quick to remind attendees that the challenge is always in the execution and implementation of these agreements.
Offering his thoughts on implementation, Fagbohun explained that the starting point will be to acknowledge the philosophy behind the concept of loss and damage, namely historical responsibility and solidarity. He emphasised it as an issue of justice . Among others, he tasked the transition committee to structure the Loss and damage fund in a way that is inclusive, reflecting the highest level of transparency and accountability.
He noted the need for the financing to be truly new and additional and not a ‘greek gift’. He lamented current gap in funding as a result of unfulfilled promises of developed countries, bias against adaptation in allocation of funds, and the current wave of unsustainable debt burdens on developing countries.
Fagbohun commended African leaders for jointly reaching a position regarding climate change, but noted that the Nairobi Declaration did not go far enough. Africa needs to unequivocally make the point that global climate governance cannot continue to be predominantly used to protect, project and promote the global North.
In conclusion, Fagbohun urged African countries to revolutionize their approach to climate negotiations in order to realize their goals.