Nairobi, Kenya, August 30, 2023 — The International Rescue Committee (IRC) calls for heightened attention to climate-vulnerable, conflict-affected communities that have been marginalized within global climate efforts in the lead-up to Africa Climate Week. While contributing minimally to global emissions, Africa bears a disproportionate burden of climate impacts, especially in conflict-affected regions. Approximately 205 million people, a third of those living in extreme poverty, inhabit 15 countries at the nexus of climate vulnerability and conflict, 11 of which are in Africa. Despite contributing only 4% of global emissions, Africa faces an outsized burden from climate change, with the East African region accounting for less than 1% of global emissions.
Shashwat Saraf, IRC East Africa Emergency Director said,
"Africa Climate Week signifies a pivotal moment to reshape COP28's agenda. It's only fitting that these discussions commence in Africa, where climate-vulnerable nations have been left behind. In East Africa in particular, IRC operates within some of the most climate-vulnerable countries. These communities bear undue burdens from a crisis they didn't cause. A severe lack of international support compounds the challenges faced by these communities, where issues like extreme hunger and climate-induced crises are prevalent. Climate impacts are exacerbated when they intersect with conflict and poverty. Unfortunately, climate financing commitments for conflict-affected regions remains inadequate."
IRC urges developed nations to fulfil their commitment of $100 billion annual climate finance, allocating 50% to adaptation efforts. However, it's not just about increasing funding, the COP28 agenda should also expand partnerships with local organizations are crucial to ensure accessibility for conflict-affected areas and ensure greater investment in adaptation and resilience programming, such as on anticipatory action and seed security. Adopting these points will ensure the communities most impacted by the climate crisis are not left behind in the pursuit of effective global climate action.