Nicola Sturgeon has pledged £5m funding to tackle loss and damage caused by the climate crisis in developing countries.
The First Minister announced the boost ahead of a panel discussion at COP27 in Egypt.
The pledge follows £2m set out at last’s year’s COP26 in Glasgow, which made Scotland the first country in the world to introduce a dedicated loss and damage fund.
The term refers to the impacts of the climate crisis which largely affect more deprived countries and cannot be directly avoided by reducing emissions or adapting to rising temperatures.
One of the key issues being discussed at COP27 is the need for new finance to support low-income communities facing losses and damages.
Following a conference on loss and damage hosted in Scotland this year, the Scottish Government has said it will offer the cash as grants as opposed to loans, so as not to compound financial hardships already seen in the countries impacted by climate change.
Sturgeon announced the increase in funding on her second day at the Sharm El-Sheikh summit.
The money due to come from the Scottish Government’s climate justice fund.
She said: “In virtually everything we do on loss and damage, Scotland is trying to ensure that we listen to international perspectives, especially the perspectives of the global south.
“After all, for more than 30 years now – since the views of island states were first ignored – decisions at Cop have been dominated by the voices of the global north.
“With loss and damage now on the formal agenda for the first time, this Cop can mark a turning point in ensuring the views, experiences and perspectives of the global south assume a far more central role.
“If that does happen, it will lead to greater progress on loss and damage and will also, I hope, lead to quicker action on other aspects of climate change.
“I encourage all parties to make space for serious, open and honest discussion over the next two weeks.
“The funding Scotland has announced today is a small sum in terms of the overall scale of the loss and damage that developing countries face, but I hope that it sends an important message.”
Sturgeon added that countries don’t have to wait for a decision to be taken at Cop27 on loss and damage funding.
She said: “I very much hope that we will make collective progress on loss and damage at this Cop,” she continued.
“If that doesn’t happen, I expect that more and more governments will take action on their own – my belief is that as we do, it will create a momentum for change which will feed into future Cop summits.”
Meanwhile, Kenyan environmental activist Elizabeth Wathuti said countries acknowledging the problems caused by climate change was a “step in the right direction”, but added that a “real political commitment and collective effort from developed countries through a loss and damage finance facility is crucial”.
Ms Wathuti said: “We need permanent, reliable and sufficient funding.”
Sturgeon’s pledge was welcomed by head of Oxfam Scotland’s Jamie Livingstone.
He said: ““The world badly needs climate leaders and this further £5m allocation of grant-based funding by the Scottish Government to help address climate-induced loss and damage reinforces Scotland’s leadership on this issue.
“The climate crisis was caused by high-polluting industrialised countries and their continued failure to drive down emissions is leaving millions of people in low-income countries to suffer more frequent floods, droughts and storms, destroying homes and crops and increasing hunger and displacement.
“Low-income communities cannot continue to foot the bill for climate breakdown.”
He added: “After more than 30 years of blocking progress, all rich nations must use COP27 to establish a new global finance institution to address loss and damage that reflects the huge scale of the need and the principle of climate justice.
“More money from the Scottish Government to address loss and damage is very welcome. However, like all rich nations, the Scottish Government should ensure this money is fully new and additional, and avoid in any way squeezing the support it provides to its partner countries to help them adapt to the climate crisis.
“To achieve this, while also increasing investment to urgently cut Scotland’s climate-damaging emissions, the Scottish Government should identify new sources of finance which make polluters pay for their damage.”
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