By launching a $14 billion climate risk facility, Africa showed that patience is running out for the West’s failed promises.

Failure can sometimes lead to victories. Just ask Africa.

At the recently concluded COP27 global climate talks, the continent triumphed over a status quo of consistently failed pledges of $100 billion in climate finance from rich nations.

The launch of the African Climate Risk Facility — a $14 billion local, market-based funding tool to help African countries build the resilience of their vulnerable communities — is a wake-up call to a world frustrated by the hollow promises of rich nations. The funding is a climate solution designed by Africa, for Africa, to support losses and damage (L&D in climate negotiation jargon) caused by climate change. And it should serve as an example for Asia.

Of course, COP27 eventually reached one historical agreement to establish an L&D fund. But developing countries are used to hearing big promises that never see the light of day. The $100 billion in climate finance should reach poorer countries by 2020. That year has passed and the figure has since become irrelevant. Pakistan alone needs more than $30 billion to recover from the direct losses alone caused by this year’s catastrophic floods.

Why would the new damage fund turn out to be any different? At the moment it is an empty account. Who will contribute what has yet to be decided. It took the United Nations-sponsored COP process more than a decade and thousands of natural disasters to agree on the creation of the fund, so you can only imagine how much loss and damage climate-sensitive countries will have to bear before the money starts flowing.

There is another risk. By creating an L&D fund and forgoing talk about phasing out fossil fuels, COP27 has come dangerously close to allowing rich countries to do as much damage to the planet as they want, as long as they promise to make it happen. Pay.

The message from the UN climate conference is clear: save yourself. Africa has heard and responded.

“This is the African insurance industry saying, let’s get together and try to fix this ourselves.” said Kelvin Massinghamdirector of risk and resilience at FSD Africa, one of the partners behind the launch of the African Climate Risk Facility.

A group of 85 insurers in Africa created the fund, which is designed to provide protection against droughts, floods and tropical cyclones by providing climate risk insurance to African governments, humanitarian organisations, cities and non-governmental organisations.

To be clear, the idea is not to stop holding the Global North to its obligations. It is vital that wealthy nations are pressured to keep their word and that they are held accountable for their failures. But by simultaneously taking matters into its own hands, Africa is helping to underscore the gulf between the West’s big words and their negligible deeds, while at the same time making a bold statement: It will not allow others to dictate its future.

Above all, the African Climate Risk Facility’s mandate is to provide a domestically funded alternative to similar global initiatives, such as the World Bank’s Global Risk Insurance Facility and the Global Shield Financing Facility. Such local alternatives will inevitably free disaster-stricken Africa from the pain of begging and competing for climate finance, only from others. The African effort builds on a similar initiative in the Caribbeanwhere a risk pooling facility has existed since 2007.

At the same time, the African initiative shows how the continent recognizes that climate change is a borderless problem and requires borderless thinking to find solutions.

Climate-sensitive Asia must take this into account. Asian countries — including Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Thailand and Nepal — are among the countries most threatened by climate change, according to the Bonn-based nonprofit organization German watch.

While pushing rich countries to cut their emissions and recoup the damage they have done, Asian countries too must now come together to build a self-sufficient, self-sufficient mechanism that can help them develop resilience to climate change losses and damage.

They can no longer wait for the West. Like Africa, they must move to shape their own destinies.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial view of Al Jazeera.



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