What’s going on here?
Scotland becomes one of the first countries to pay for climate change by sending money to Malawi through the new “loss and damage” fund.
What does this mean?
At COP27, a “loss and damage” fund was created to ensure developed countries foot the climate crisis bill. Loss and damage is one of three different types of climate action payments, the other two being mitigation and adaptation. The Scottish government sends this money through Scottish charities to help communities affected by climate change in Malawi.
For example, the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund explains how loss-and-damage cash is helping communities build long-term resilience following disaster, instead of providing emergency humanitarian aid. This includes rebuilding schools following Tropical Storm Ana, and protecting graveyards from flooding.
Loss and damage funds are even helping rebuild years after impact. Following torrential rains in 2015, the homes in the village of Mambundungu were washed away and people were exposed to crocodiles, prompting a move to a new settlement uphill. Loss and damage funds will be used to build flood defences in the new settlement, protecting people and their crops.
Why should we care?
These funds are key to climate justice. Richer countries in the global North are responsible for the majority of carbon emissions which have led us to the climate crisis. Global South countries are much more vulnerable to the effects of climate change, but have less resources to adapt and mitigate damage. The loss and damage funds aim to close this gap.
Scotland and Malawi have a relationship rooted in colonial history – though Malawi celebrated independence from the UK in 1964. This relationship has been transformed into one of international cooperation with many Scottish charities working in Malawi. Loss and damage payments therefore represent how these ties can be used for climate justice.