A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
International climate talks (in Bonn, Germany 1 – 12 June) must ensure that a climate finance proposal – backed by the world’s biggest economies at a meeting in Paris this week – meets the needs of the world’s most vulnerable countries said Oxfam. The international agency also warned that negotiations must move forward quickly if a global deal is to be secured in time to avoid a human catastrophe.
A meeting of the Major Economies Forum in Paris on 25 and 26 May backed a Mexican proposal on finance for adaptation and mitigation action in developing countries. The proposal would require all countries to contribute to a global fund based on their past and current emissions of greenhouse gases and the size of their economy. However this proposal remains dependent on individual countries being willing to deliver on their funding commitments – a risky strategy given that rich countries have been notoriously bad at delivering aid money they have promised developing countries.
For the first time, negotiators in Bonn (meeting 1-12 June) will debate the draft text of a global deal – a mixed bag of good, bad and ugly proposals for tackling climate action. The meeting is also the last chance countries will have to test any last-minute proposals for a deal before the 17 June deadline for submissions.
Oxfam International’s Senior Climate Advisor, Antonio Hill said: “Its good news that that the world’s richest countries are putting their weight behind a proposal for financing climate action in poor countries. However we need to ensure the proposal works for the people it’s designed to help. The history of international aid shows that any proposal that depends solely on voluntary promises from rich countries is doomed to fail. Poor countries need a guaranteed flow of funding that is not subject to the whims of national governments.“
"We have a finite amount of time to secure a climate deal that will prevent a human catastrophe. Now that a draft deal is on the table, countries must stop skirting around the big issues and get these talks moving. Officials must quickly weed out those proposals that will set us on course for climate disaster and those that will leave poor countries to cope alone with the devastating effects of climate change. Leaders must push for a climate deal that avoids catastrophic climate change and is fair for all,” said Hill.
Rich countries have largely created the climate crisis but it is poor countries that are being hit first and hardest, and who are least able to cope. For example Oxfam estimates that by 2015 the average number of people affected each year by climate-related disasters could increase by over 50 per cent to 375 million – nearly of them in the developing world.
Oxfam says that rich countries must commit to a global deal which that will keep global temperatures as far below 2 degrees as possible. They must agree to cut global emissions by at least 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020, with most of these cuts happening at home. Rich countries must also provide the money that is needed to help poor countries achieve low carbon growth and adapt to the effects of climate change. The UN has estimated that developing countries will need in the region of $100bn a year to fund mitigation and Oxfam says they will need a further $50bn to adapt to changes in climate.