As the COP27 is underway in Egypt, climate change activists in Rwanda are expecting world leaders to support the idea of creating a fund to compensate developing countries that are victims to losses and damages caused by climate change. The proposed ‘loss and damage compensation fund’ seeks to see developed countries compensate developing countries for the loss and damages they cause as they are the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases causing climate change. The fund was rejected by developed countries last year in Glasgow during COP26. Now, delegates at COP27 have agreed to discuss the creation of an international fund to compensate developing countries for loss and damage caused by climate disasters. The agreement could represent a significant breakthrough compared to last year's COP26 Summit in Glasgow, when the US and the EU — fearing potentially enormous compensation claims for past emissions — blocked a compensation scheme. “This was highly demanded by different civil society organisations among other stakeholders, especially from developing countries that are vulnerable to climate change impact,” said Hyacinthe Niyitegeka, a climate activist attending COP27. She noted that at COP27, countries must decide on the institutional structure that will deliver on the functions of the Santiago Network. The Santiago Network for Loss and Damage was established by United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to connect developing countries with providers of technical assistance, knowledge, and resources. But while the functions of the network have been decided, how it will deliver on those functions is yet to be agreed on. “They must consider how sustainable funding arrangements will be assured at scale for the Santiago Network to operate and deliver technical assistance at a scale commensurate with the needs of developing country parties,” Niyitegeka said. The “Loss and Damage finance facility (L&DFF) or fund” expected to be created, will be equipped to deliver new, additional and accessible financial support in addition to adaptation and mitigation finance. “It must be established at COP27 and a process agreed to operationalise it as soon as possible to help developing country parties address loss and damage,” added Niyitegeka. Faustin Vuningoma, a Climate activist as well, said that there should be strategies for Rwanda to mitigate climate change, and that one of the things the country should concentrate on is soil health conservation. “We are a small country with a growing population and cannot afford to continue losing our soils through soil erosion. With the global negotiations going on, our adaptation should mostly focus on agriculture since a bigger proposition of our population depends highly on agriculture. “We need to support agroecology and embrace it for climate resilience. Reforestation and agroforestry should also be high on Rwanda's agenda of climate conservation,” he said. He noted that Rwanda should keep up the political will to build climate-resilient communities. “The NDCs (climate action plans) proposed should be implemented with a major focus on targets that address resilience issues of the most vulnerable communities to climate change calamities,” he said. Vuningoma is also of the view that Rwanda needs to improve awareness among communities on issues to do with climate change. “This awareness should equally be done for policy makers at both national and local government level. This is because many people don't yet understand the global challenge of climate change. “They see calamities happening and don't understand the emergency that is climate change. Awareness and capacity building to create ownership of the collective response to climate change concerns is very critical,” he said. Grace Ineza, another Climate activist, reiterated the need for the ‘Loss and damage funding scheme’ that seeks to ensure that vulnerable communities are protected and supported toward a climate-resilient future. “My expectation is to see the world standing in solidarity and for once, listening to the demand of the community as we pace the most appropriate answers, especially as we have been dealing with the negative effects of climate change for a long time,” she said. She noted that Rwanda, as a developing country, with a tangible hope of showcasing that environmental protection can work hand-in-hand with the economic development of the community, conserving the habits of green investment. “Not only does it help our planet, but it has to do more with youth; and we believe that there is much more in terms of business innovation services and technology we can offer to both our people and the planet,” she said. Rwanda remains committed to reducing carbon emissions by 38 per cent by 2030.