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UK Govt pledges £100m to tackle climate change disasters in vulnerable countries

By Obiabin Onukwugha

The United Kingdom, on Sunday, joined other countries at the on-going COP28 in pledging £100 million to assist vulnerable countries tackle climate change disasters.

The UK also called for bolder action to fight the impact climate change is having on health systems of vulnerable countries and to strengthen their resilience to the increasingly frequent and severe effects of climate change.

International Development and Africa Minister, Andrew Mitchell made the announcement, saying the UK will support an initiative to strengthen early warning systems in countries on the front line of climate change, such as giving people advanced warning of cyclones, flooding and other extreme weather so they can move away from danger, save lives and protect vulnerable communities.

Recognising the urgency of the situation, which forces 26 million into poverty every year, the UK Government also joined calls for bolder collective action to protect the lives, health and livelihoods of those most impacted by climate change.

Mitchell said the funding will help the countries better prepare against climate change disasters such as flood, extreme weather conditions and other natural disasters, and pledged the UK’s continued commitment to ensuring a safer planet for all.

“The funding will also help make healthcare in these areas more resilient and able to withstand disasters like floods, and ready to deal with spikes in infectious diseases like cholera and malaria, due to floods caused by climate change.

“The devastating effects of climate change hit the most vulnerable the hardest.

“These funding commitments will help countries and people be better prepared and protected against extreme weather events and natural disasters. They will help roll out measures such as early warning systems, and open up access to climate finance to build resilient health services.

“The UK will continue to press for a bold and ambitious approach to support those on the frontline of our changing climate, and to create a safer planet for us all,” the Minister said.

He outlined details of the funding package, which include: “Nearly £20 million for a package of disaster risk financing and early warning systems. This will help the one-third of the world’s population who are not covered by early warning systems to prepare for climate shocks and extreme weather, reducing disaster-related mortality and damage. It will also provide affordable insurance against climate disasters, such as droughts.

“Funding of £36 million for climate action in the Middle East and North Africa to support long-term climate stability. This will mobilise $500 million for clean energy and green growth projects, support 450,000 people to adapt to climate change, and support 200,000 women in better protecting their families from climate shocks. This delivers on the UK’s commitment to scale up pre-arranged finance for crisis recovery.

“Over £4.4 million to improve access to climate finance for Small Island Developing States and enable them to adapt to the impacts of climate change, with support from the Global Environment Facility’s Special Climate Change Fund and the Alliance of Small Island States.

“Another £3 million for a new research hub in partnership with Canada, to help local communities address climate shocks and adapt to the long-term impacts of a changing climate. This will be delivered through the Climate Adaptation and Resilience (CLARE) programme, launched by the UK at COP26.

“Up to £18 million for an innovative new programme to adapt and strengthen health systems. This will help partner countries manage the growing health impacts of climate change, from infectious diseases and food shortages, to water insecurity and other health-related emergencies. It will be the first climate and health programme to be announced by a G7 country.

“A further £20 million for a new research programme to guide the UK’s future work on climate-resilient health systems, recognising the fast-evolving agenda and the need for a stronger evidence base of what works to address the growing threats from climate change to health, and.

“£3 million for a new partnership with the International Rescue Committee to reduce the impact of climate-related crises on schools, students and communities. The Climate Resilient Education Systems Trial will build an evidence base of effective approaches to combatting climate change in and through education.”

Mitchell also endorsed the ‘Getting Ahead of Disasters’ Charter, the ‘COP28 Declaration on Relief, Recovery and Peace’, and the ‘COP28 Declaration on Climate and Health’ on behalf of the UK Government.

The UK had earlier convened experts and thought leaders for a panel discussion on climate security.

According to a statement by the Senior Press & Public Affairs Officer/Comms Lead, Prosperity and Economic Development of the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office in Nigeria, Ndidiamaka Eze, it was the first time that the UK has hosted such an event, with the US, the EU, Iraq, Kenya, Mali, NATO, and United Nations Development Programme in attendance.

The essence was to improve collective understanding of the security implications of climate change, including global instability and conflict, while exploring best practice to respond to these risks through data-informed policy making, stress testing, analytical foresight capability, and international cooperation.

The statement added that “the new CLARE Research for Impact (R4I) Hub will identify demand from key stakeholders and match it with past research investments made by the UK and Canada. By repurposing this evidence to meet the specific decision-making contexts and the local adaptation needs and priorities, it will lead to more tangible impacts on the ground.”

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