Mercy Corps supports and endorses the United Arab Emirates (UAE) COP28 Presidency Climate, Relief, Recovery, and Peace Declaration and is pleased to contribute a package of solutions in support of climate-vulnerable communities.
The declaration calls for more robust action to increase the scale of climate action and finance for communities affected by fragility and conflict. Fragility, characterized by weak institutions, poor governance, and conflict, can hinder access to international climate finance and limit effective climate adaptation. Paradoxically, these are the very countries most affected by climate impacts.
Adrianna Hardaway, Mercy Corps Senior Policy Advisor for Climate and Water Security, says:
“While the issue of the intersection between climate and conflict has been gaining traction in recent years, it has not received adequate attention within the UNFCCC climate processes. This year, the needs and realities of communities in fragile contexts have been elevated to a level we have not seen before.
“The declaration articulates one of the central challenges faced by communities impacted by fragility and conflict: they are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change yet lack the financial resources needed to rebuild between repeated climate shocks and invest in adaptation measures. The declaration also references scaling up grants-based finance, increasing access to finance, and prioritizing local action, issue areas that Mercy Corps sees as critical for decreasing debt burdens and directing climate finance to the local level where it is most needed.
“We also appreciate the reference to conflict sensitivity and peace in adaptation and loss and damage programs since we believe that peace and governance interventions are adaptation actions, as they are the first step in creating an enabling environment that supports climate adaptation.
“Finally, the part on partnerships is the weakest in the declaration – there are no specifics on how donors should adjust their risk appetite to invest in fragile contexts. Prioritizing communities in fragile contexts for climate finance is impossible without a shift in risk appetite of donors for investing in these contexts. While we recognize the challenges donors face in increasing their risk appetite, we would have liked to see explicit references to this in the declaration.
“As our latest report demonstrates, when financing is available, Mercy Corps team members are overcoming the unique challenges presented by fragility and conflict to implement highly effective programming. We would like to see this work further complemented by donors providing adequate, predictable, and additional grants-based finance to increase the scale of this work.”
We have climate experts attending COP28 that could discuss Mercy Corps approach to climate adaptation in fragile and conflict-affected countries.