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.
The G8 must commit $2bn to help poor countries adapt to a changing climate Oxfam urged today ahead of a meeting of Finance Ministers in Lecce, Italy, later this week. The international agency also called for European Finance Ministers meeting in Brussels tomorrow to back a proposal from European experts for poor countries to receive 100bn Euros ($142bn) a year to help them reduce emissions.
In a letter addressed to G8 finance ministers meeting in Lecce, Italy on 12 and 13 June, Oxfam calls for an immediate injection of $2bn from rich countries to help the world's poorest countries get national climate adaptation strategies off the ground.
Putting money on the table to fund least developing countries' most urgent adaptation needs would be an important first step by rich countries towards delivering on longstanding promises of assistance. At least $50bn per year is needed to assist poor countries deal with the impact of climate change and at least $100bn to help poor countries reduce their emissions.
In 2001, the Least Developed Countries Fund was set-up and the poorest countries were invited to prepare National Adaptation Plans of Action to address their most urgent adaptation priorities. These plans need $2bn to implement; however, rich countries have committed less than 10 per cent of the money to date.
European Finance Ministers, meeting on Tuesday 9 June, could also address a crucial issue threatening to undermine hopes of a global climate deal by backing a proposal which contains concrete figures on the level of support poor countries need to tackle their emissions. To date rich countries have not said how much public funding they think should be made available.
Rich countries are responsible for two thirds of green house gas emissions currently in the atmosphere but it is the world's poorest people who are being hit first and hardest by the changing climate. In Africa, changes to rainfall are already affecting food production, and rising temperatures are boosting the spread of disease.
Antonio Hill, Senior Policy Advisor for Oxfam International said: "Funding to help poor countries adapt to a changing climate has been promised by G8 leaders - but it has largely failed to materialize. These politicians found the determination and $8 trillion to save the banks. They must now deliver the immediate financing which is needed to help the most vulnerable developing countries adapt to a changing climate."
"This adaptation funding is needed now, and it should not be used as a bargaining chip in negotiations for a global climate agreement," Hill added.
"We are encouraged that European Finance Ministers have a proposal on the table which seriously addresses the issue of how to support poor countries adapt to global warming impacts and reduce their emissions. Championing this proposal would bring us one step closer to tackling the climate crisis and put Europe back in the front seat at the talks," said Hill.