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WaterAid Tasks World Leaders On $100bn Climate Finance Target

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – A frontline international not-for-profit organization, WaterAid has called on world leaders to meet their $100 billion climate finance commitment sooner than 2023.

The call is coming as WaterAid’s message to the international community in the ongoing 26th session of the United Nations (UN) Conference of Parties (COP26) holding in Glagow, United Kingdom (UK).

Meanwhile, COP26, once again brings parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

With women and girls usually responsible for collecting water, the lack of these  services means they often have to walk for hours to get clean water, leaving them  no time to work and no capacity to respond to climate impacts. These impacts can themselves hamper access even further as water sources become less reliable or flooded and polluted, and journeys get longer.

Last week, rich nations published a Climate Finance Delivery Plan, confirming they won’t deliver on their long-promised target of $100 billion each year to support poorer countries battling the impacts of the climate crisis. The target is expected to be met by 2023, three years later than promised.

WaterAid, however warned that many people can’t wait that long, as frequent flooding and longer droughts are a matter of life or death for many vulnerable people on the front lines of the climate crisis. Climate change is likely to exacerbate these impacts for millions of people already living without clean water, decent toilets or good sanitation, the organisation further explained. 

During the 12 days of COP26, estimates show the urgent need for action. A lack of basic water means communities on the front line of climate change are already struggling with overlapping crises and it’s costing lives.

Consequently, 8640 children under the age of five around the world could die from diarrhoea caused by dirty water and poor toilets, a woman responsible for water collection will spend 60 hours, or 20 percent of COP26, collecting water for her family of four to drink, cook and wash with, while 2,880 lives of children under five could be saved from diarrheal deaths if everyone, everywhere, had access to clean water.

International Affairs Director for WaterAid, Bernard Aryeetey said the news that rich countries won’t deliver on their promise of $100bn a year for developing nations until 2023 is threatening to derail the COP26 summit, adding that world leaders must recognise poorer nations hit hardest by climate change cannot wait two more years as they continue to carry the burden of richer nations’ inaction.

“Across the globe, mothers and fathers are struggling to ensure their children have access to clean water because of the devastating impacts of floods and droughts caused by climate change.”

“During the 12 days of COP26, women will miss out on 2.5 million working days globally – a figure that could be exacerbated by climate change. Urgent action is necessary and world leaders must see that decisions taken in Glasgow will have the greatest impact on vulnerable communities thousands of miles away”, he said.                                

In 2009, richer nations, including the UK, committed to supporting poorer nations to protect themselves against the effects of climate change by providing $100 billion by 2020. Only 80 per cent of this money has been delivered, according to the latest data. In addition, only a fraction – around 25 per cent – is going towards helping communities adapt, while that should be at least half, according to WaterAid.

Africa is the most exposed region to the adverse effects of climate change despite contributing the least to global warming. The entire continent accounts for less than 4% of total global carbon emissions but is home to 33 of the top 50 countries most vulnerable to climate change.

Climate change threatens critical water supplies for Africa’s most vulnerable people, piling more pressure on water sources that are already overstretched due to inadequate infrastructures, poor water management and a lack of government funding.

Moreover,  climate change is also aggravating the sanitation crisis, with extreme weather – floods, rising temperatures, prolonged droughts –causing irreparable damage to weak sanitation systems and causing illnesses to spread further in vulnerable communities

Nigeria ranks 55th most vulnerable country to climate change,  among the top 35 percent in the world – but only receives USD $1 per person, per year in climate finance. This is for both mitigation – cutting carbon emissions – and adaptation – reducing the impacts of climate change.

While developing countries contribute very little to global carbon emissions, they are the least prepared to withstand the effects, with little money allocated towards helping them. The average person in Nigeria accounts annually for emissions of 0.546 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide – compared to the average per capita emission in the United States of 16.5 metric tonnes.

Country Director of WaterAid Nigeria, Evelyn Mere noted that climate change has intensified both the sanitation and water crisis, adding that no one can survive without clean water.

“No one can thrive if they have to struggle to find it. But our changing climate is making life harder for the world’s poorest people who are already struggling to get clean water. Far too little is spent on helping the most vulnerable people adapt to the impacts of climate change which is putting the health and lives of millions at risk.

“The government must respond now to the urgent threat of climate change and recognise the vital role climate-resilient water and sanitation services and systems play in helping vulnerable communities be more prepared for climate change; because despite contributing the least to it, it’s the world’s poorest people currently suffering the brunt of its destructive impact. We call on our government to work to address this urgent threat now so that future generations can stay safe and healthy”, she added.

WaterAid is working with governments, the private sector, development banks and others to develop the Resilient Water Accelerator, a coalition launched by HRH The Prince of Wales, which aims to increase funding to support the most climate-vulnerable communities around the world to adapt to the impacts of the climate crisis. When fully funded, it aims to reach 50 million people in water-stressed areas with climate-resilient water resources and services by 2030.


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