The Rwanda Climate Change and Development Network (RCCDN), which consists of 66 organizations addressing climate change and other development issues, has urged for the implementation of the global “Loss and Damage” fund. This fund is intended to provide compensation to developing nations when they are affected by the consequences of climate change. The government is seeking Rwf518.58 billion (approximately US$415 million) to facilitate the recovery from the extensive physical and economic losses inflicted by recent floods and landslides, as per the comprehensive landslides, and flood damage assessment. Last year, the 27th UN climate conference (COP27) in Egypt ended with a landmark agreement to establish a new Loss and Damage (L&D) fund to enable vulnerable countries to respond to and recover from the climate impacts they are facing. However, the fund has not yet been operationalised. ALSO READ: Vulnerable countries to get compensation for climate change effects Discussions for operationalising the new fund are expected on the round table at the 28th UN climate conference (COP28) scheduled to take place from November 30 to December 12 in Dubai, UAE, this year. “We are expecting loss and damage fund actualisation, doubling climate adaptation fund and enhancing mitigation ambitions for developing nations targeting the 1.5 Degrees Celcius limit,” said Faustin Vuningoma, the coordinator of Rwanda Climate Change and Development Network organisations in Rwanda. He said Rwanda should demand for loss and damage fund actualisation because it is one of the regions most affected by climate change despite contributing the least to global greenhouse gas emissions. “The impacts of climate change in Rwanda are already being felt through increased droughts, floods, and extreme weather events, which are affecting agriculture, water resources, and human health. These impacts are causing economic losses and hindering development efforts,” he said. ALSO READ: Rwanda awaits solid commitments on emission cuts at Climate Summit “A loss and damage fund would provide financial support to Rwanda to help in coping with the impacts of climate change and to compensate for the losses and damages they have suffered. This fund would also help to adapt to the changing climate and to mitigate the impacts of future climate change. Furthermore, the actualisation of a loss and damage fund would help to provide justice for the Rwandan citizens who are disproportionately affected by climate change. It would hold the developed countries accountable for their historical emissions and provide a means of compensation for the harm caused,” he added. ALSO READ: Rwanda needs Rwf518bn to recover from flood-induced losses Concorde Kubwimana, the CEO of Save Environment Initiative, a youth organisation, said that there is a need for inclusion of young people in decision-making processes related to climate policy. “I want to see meaningful participation of youth representatives in negotiations, discussions, and decision-making panels at COP28. Youth from vulnerable regions are particularly interested in discussions about climate adaptation and building resilience. “I hope COP28 will address the challenges faced by communities vulnerable to climate impacts and focus on equitable strategies for adaptation,” he said. He also called for funding and support for youth-led initiatives. “Youth activists often run local projects and initiatives to address climate issues. I expect COP28 will encourage and facilitate funding mechanisms to support youth-led projects and innovations aimed at climate mitigation and adaptation,” he added. Speaking to more than 40 science journalists who had gathered for a training organized by Power Shift Africa (PSA) and the Media for Environment, Science, Health, and Agriculture (MESHA) in Machakos County, Kenya, on August 29, 2023, Ephraim Mwepya Shitima, the Chair of the African Group of Negotiators on climate change, emphasized the importance of implementing the loss and damage fund. “The loss and damage fund should be operational. Countries have to make decisions in Dubai in December to make the fund operational,” he noted. Nahashon Aluoka, the regional Advisor at Pandemic Action Network, said: “The main question is that the fund was not capitalised. Why create a fund and do not capitalse it? The money must be made available.” The activists and non-state actors have said that the Africa Climate Summit to take place in Nairobi, Kenya from September 4 to 6 is also an opportunity to build momentum and solidarity for the African Agenda at the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference or Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP28), and beyond, by highlighting African countries’ common interests and aspirations in achieving a low-carbon, climate-resilient, and inclusive development. “Science journalists attending both summits are being trained to understand Africa’s priorities such as finance to compensate Africa for the loss and damage caused by climate change, to which developed countries have historical responsibilities,” said. Participating journalists are drawn from all regions of the African continent. Some are from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Gambia, Malawi, Zambia, Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Others are from Cameroon, Botswana, Togo, Mozambique, Rwanda, Lesotho, Burkina Faso, Benin, Namibia and Democratic Republic of the Congo.