Loss and Damage funds an obligation, not a gift – Joyce Banda

By Leonard Masauli

Former President Joyce Banda has emphasised that the Loss and Damage funds sought by African nations from the Global North are not a charitable contribution but rather an obligation owed by the global community to support countries hit by disasters.

Banda made the remarks on Wednesday during the opening ceremony of the 3rd African Regional Dialogue on Loss and Damage meeting at Bingu International Convention Centre in Lilongwe.

She stressed the importance of African leaders presenting a united front to advocate for justice and ensure that the Global North fulfills its commitment to providing financial support to countries in the global south for loss and damage mitigation.

“In providing funds for loss and damage, the Global North is not extending a gift, but fulfilling a responsibility.

“My advice to Africans is that we must persist in our advocacy efforts to increase these pledges. Heads of State must unite as a continent and demand what is rightfully ours to ensure that countries receive the necessary support,” said Banda.

In his remarks, Minister of Natural Resources and Climate Change, Michael Usi underscored that loss and damage is not only an ethical and political issue, but also a developmental one.

He emphasised the need to hold the Global North accountable by presenting the reality of the situation rather than treating it as an academic debate.

“Instances such as Cyclone Freddy serve as powerful illustrations of the urgent need for climate justice. Fulfilling promises is not a favour but an obligation.

“It is imperative for Malawi and other affected nations to develop strategies to ensure that these promises are upheld,” said Usi.

Board Chairperson for the Civil Society Network on Climate Change (CSONECC), Gift Numeri, highlighted the urgency of addressing climate change impacts, stressing that the suffering of communities, particularly women and children, cannot be ignored.

“This gathering is pivotal for Africa to take proactive steps in addressing climate change impacts. We must devise our own mechanisms to tackle these challenges before seeking assistance from external parties,” said Numeri.