Nigeria: COP28 - How Nigeria Will Benefit From 'Loss and Damage Fund' - Official

2 December 2023

The official, who is part of Nigeria's delegation to COP28 in Dubai, the United Arab Emirate, says the fund will help to alleviate sufferings of climate frontline communities in Nigeria.

A Nigerian lawmaker, Terseer Ugbor, has said he plans to push for efficient mobilisation of the Loss and Damage fund being pledged at the ongoing ongoing 28th meeting of the United Nations Conference of Parties (COP28) for the benefits of vulnerable Nigerian communities.

Mr Ugbor, the Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Environment, who is part of Nigeria's delegation to COP28 in Dubai, the United Arab Emirate, said the fund will help to alleviate sufferings of climate frontline communities in Nigeria.

He said this on Friday in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES on the sidelines of the conference.

This followed the adoption of the new Loss and Damage Fund operationalisation by delegates at the opening plenary of the summit on Thursday.

"My agenda at COP28 is to ensure that the Loss and Damage Fund is effectively mobilised to bolster adaptation and relief efforts in Nigeria," he said.

Mr Ugbor, who is the House of Representatives member representing the Kwande/Ushongo constituency of Benue State, said he will push for allocation of the funds to building resilient agricultural practices, support displaced communities, and mitigate the deepening farmer-herder conflicts in Nigeria.

Operationalisation of the Loss and Damage Fund at COP28

The yearnings and aspirations of climate vulnerable countries, particularly in Africa, prior to the commencement of COP28 are to see to the operationalisation of the historic loss and damage fund established at COP27 in Egypt last year.

This came to fruition on Thursday at the opening plenary of COP28 after delegates adopted a loss and damage operationalisation agenda. Just after that, high-income countries began to make pledges in solidarity with the new funds, with over $500 million pledged so far.

This has been described as a historic moment for climate action globally, particularly in climate-vulnerable countries, and the first big win ever recorded on the first day in the history of COP negotiations.

Many climate activists have lauded the move by the world leaders, saying the adoption of the new fund initiative will help to galvanise climate-resilient development for developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

However, there are lingering concerns.


Reacting to the loss and damage fund operationalisation, Nnimmo Bassey, director of the Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), said COP28 is running on a basic agenda that is destined to leave the planet on life support in the best outcome scenario.

He said the COP also appears to favour false solutions such as carbon offsetting and related but unproven techno-fixes.

While noting the significant strides that greeted the COP28 opening plenary and pledges made so far, Mr Bassey said cash pledges made so far is still a drop in the ocean of the needed $400 billion per year.

"Although some would applaud the token offered so far, we do not ignore the fact that $400 million may just be equal to the price of one missile which the big polluters do not blink before exploding in territories to create more vulnerability rather than invert in building of resilience," he said.

The environmentalist said: "It is conceivable that the pledges would be met by proceeds from the patently speculatory carbon trading that is seeing huge swathes of African land being grabbed in ways that can best be described as carbon colonialism."

Significance for Nigeria

On Friday, Mr Ugbor told this medium that the operationalisation of the Loss and Damage Fund at COP28 is a pivotal development for the Northern and Central regions of Nigeria like Benue State.

In the region, climate change has exacerbated conflicts between farmers and herdsmen that has resulted in over 10,000 fatalities with over 250,000 displaced people.

"This fund represents a tangible mechanism to address the financial and socio-economic impacts of such conflicts, which are rooted in climate-induced environmental change," he said.

He explained that the fund would serve as a "Mechanism for Justice and Support" for communities in North-central Nigeria that are constantly grappling with the fallout from cattle migration caused by desertification and drought.

"The Loss and Damage Fund is not just financial aid, it is a form of climate justice. It acknowledges that the adverse effects of climate change are disproportionately felt by these must vulnerable poor communities who contribute the least to climate change," he said.

On her part, Ure Utah, Founder of Bridge Synergy, said it is incredibly heart warming to witness the operationalisation of the Loss and Damage fund, as it is a historic milestone that carries profound significance for Africa.

"The swift action in operationalising the Fund within a year since its agreement at COP27 showcases an unprecedented level of global unity and commitment," she noted.

This rapid progress, she said, reflects a growing acknowledgment of the urgency with which countries must address climate change impacts.

"The Fund is particularly crucial for Africa. As a continent, we face some of the most severe impacts of climate change, despite contributing minimally to global emissions. This Fund is a beacon of hope, promising to support vulnerable communities across Africa, safeguarding lives and livelihoods against the harsh realities of climate change," she said.

Fora Luckie Abang, a Commonwealth Youth mobilise and climate justice advocate at COP, the final decision to operationalise the loss and damage fund further validates African leader's resolve as contained in the Nairobi Declaration pact adopted by African leaders in Kenya.

"This further validates the fact that Africa actually holds a strong voice to influence global climate politics," he said.

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