The Future is Equal

COP26 week two: Oxfam urges governments to move faster

At the start of COP26 week two, Oxfam urges governments to move faster and decisively in the final five days, if they are to reach a deal that will keep 1.5°C within reach and increase support to vulnerable communities.

On keeping 1.5°C within reach, Tracy Carty, head of Oxfam’s COP26 delegation said:

“Last week saw a flurry of announcements, from halting deforestation to reducing methane emissions. And it is an important signal that more countries have committed to ending coal use, and some even fossil fuel financing abroad. Yet, for some of these announcements there is a glaring lack of detail on what they entail.

“They must not be a distraction from the urgent issue of countries needing to increase the ambition of their national emission reduction targets (NDCs) by 2030. Current pledges still add up to a catastrophic 2.7°C.

“This is a crisis COP. There is no time to waste and duck responsibility. Governments absolutely have to keep 1.5°C within reach. This week there has to be a deal that compels all countries to increase the ambition of their NDCs in line with their fair share.”

On the issue of adaptation finance:

“Adaptation finance is a lifeline for poor communities, crucial for helping countries adapt to extreme weather events which they are least responsible for. But currently, only $20 billion of the $100 billion commitment is allocated to adaptation, less than half.

“We need agreement at this COP that there will be a significant increase in adaptation finance, in line with developing country calls for a 50/50 split between adaptation and mitigation, with a greater percentage of funds provided as grants not loans. Last week an increasing number of countries, including Germany, said this call for 50 per cent needed to be taken seriously.

On Loss and damage finance:

“Even at today’s 1.1°C of warming, we are all witnessing more frequent and devastating climate impacts around the world. And the world’s poorest countries are footing the bill for a climate crisis they did little to cause.

“We saw a glimmer of hope start of week one when Scotland stepped forward and became the first rich nation to explicitly commit to finance for loss and damage. We need other rich nations to now do the same.

“We have seen long-standing resistance from developed countries on the question of how to increase resources to help developing countries facing the worst impacts of climate change. Governments have five days to show communities on the frontlines of climate change that they’re not alone.”

Oxfam is also calling for world leaders to listen to the voices of people from developing countries and act on their concerns. Margaret Masudio, a smallholder from Uganda who travelled to the COP with Oxfam to participate said:

“We are very worried, particularly for our children. How do we survive? If right now, the hardship we are facing is at this level, how about the future? Farmers are paying the price for climate change, without knowing why they are paying the price.

“At past COPs, we feel their impact very little – most of the things remained on paper. We hear policies but implementation is not done, because finance is not adequate.” 

“In Uganda they have being giving support to communities that have been affected, but it is insufficient. So, at this COP my hope is that all the nations that are here are going to join hands to ensure that loss and damages are financed.”