The Facts on the Ground for L&D Finance

ECO keeps hearing about “finance that’s available for loss and damage” under the Sendai framework via disaster risk reduction (DRR), humanitarian assistance, and the SDGs. ECO calls bollocks on this idea. The amount of finance available for loss and damage is COMPLETELY INADEQUATE when compared to the scale of loss and damage being suffered.

According to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) there is already a serious funding shortfall for both disaster response and long-term disaster risk reduction and development. In 2019, 40 percent of all humanitarian funding went to just two protracted emergencies – Yemen, and the Syrian region.  These emergencies are not going away, and given that climate change is a key driver of conflict, these kinds of emergencies are only likely to intensify. So, expecting the global DRR and humanitarian pots to accommodate a growing financial burden as loss and damage accumulates is wishful thinking.

Let’s look at a case by case basis at this “there’s already finance for loss and damage” bollocksy bollocks:

When Hurricane Marie caused loss and damage worth 226% of Dominica’s annual GDP in one storm, they got an insurance payout from the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility, undertook a successful humanitarian fundraising drive, and received World Bank loans. Adding all of this together – and ignoring how incredibly unfair it is for countries to be forced to take loans in such situations – Dominicans and the Dominican Government were still left with 70% of the cost to pay themselves.

[ed: original graphic here: https://us.boell.org/2018/08/30/not-silver-bullet ]

When Cyclone Pam devastated Vanuatu, wiping out US$600 million, or 64% of GDP in a matter of hours, Vanuatu only received approximately $50m in humanitarian assistance, and a measly  $1.9m insurance payout. Subsistence farmers and fisher people were left to foot the bill.

When Cyclone Winston smashed into Fiji, despite bilateral funding, a UN appeal, and loans, $1.2 of the $1.4b  in loss and damage (30% of Fiji’s annual GDP) was left for the government and people of Fiji to cover.

[ed: Original graphic here: https://www.rosalux.de/en/publication/id/39802/climate-and-gender-justice/ ]

There is demonstrably not enough finance for loss and damage. If developed countries don’t agree here in Madrid that we need more finance for loss and damage, that it should come on top of already existing (and inadequate) adaptation aid, and humanitarian finance, and that it should come from new sources of finance with a deadline for making a recommendation to the COP, then they will be violating their human rights obligations to the most vulnerable people. They will be demonstrating that their stated concerns are no more than crocodile tears. You will be held to account. The world is watching.

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