COP 28 has been and gone – the global climate negotiations always get a lot of international media attention, but now that the delegates have all gone home, what do the commitments made mean for the communities that VSO works with on the ground who are already experiencing the impacts of climate change?
The new Loss and Damage Fund
One of the most historic outcomes from this year’s summit was the establishment of a loss and damage fund. This fund, which has collated more than $700 million to date, will provide technical assistance to countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
During COP28, VSO presented evidence from Malawi and Mozambique of the losses being experienced at household level due to climate change and shared how our volunteers are working to respond to issues in their own communities.
VSO response to Cyclone Freddy
Following Cyclone Freddy in March 2022, national volunteers Maya and Samsung led a loss and damage assessment in Mulanje district. They trained a small team of community volunteers to use an app which could be used on their phones offline to collect data from the local community about their needs. They found that a lot of children had experienced significant trauma and hunger following the cyclone and were at increased risk of malaria.
School and health services which they were reliant on for their safety and recovery had been disrupted, and their parents livelihoods had been affected reducing their families’ ability to repair their homes which had been damaged and destroyed.
The volunteers presented the results to the district government and health committees, who were able to mobilise local resources to address some of these challenges- including distribution of malaria kits, tree-planting and the re-construction of a bridge that had collapsed.
This example illustrates how important it is to consider the disproportionate loss and damage that climate disasters lead to for children and ensure that health, education and livelihoods impacts are prioritised. By engaging youth and communities, we can ensure that funding for loss and damage is able to reach those who need it most.
One concept that holds back the journey towards inclusivity is Othering. While it is not a term often thrown around in everyday conversation, its impact on our societies can be profound and far-reaching.
Outstanding performances, inspiring guest speakers and heartfelt speeches from our fantastic volunteers, the Volunteer Impact Awards had it all! Here are your highlights from the ceremony.
For many of us, education is something that we often take for granted. Providing quality education and access to education for all is a tool that has proven to build a cohesive and fairer society.