“Local communities say, climate change is creating ‘cascading effects of climate change from which we cannot recover’”
At Climate Refugees we believe frontline communities should be at the center of informing decision-making processes. Extreme weather and climate change-related events are disproportionately impacting the world’s poorest and marginalized people. We are not alone in our beliefs, with just about every policy paper stressing the importance of community inclusion and participation. However in practice, community engagement is still lacking in informing policy. With the decision at COP27 in Sharm el Sheikh to establish a UNFCCC Loss and Damage Fund to deploy resources to affected communities, closing this gap is more vital than ever.
Through the community interviews Climate Refugees conducted in Kenya, this report provides an opportunity to identify the specific losses and damages communities are suffering from both sudden and slow onset climate change events, in their own words. We have been intentional about sharing this community storytelling, detailing the essence and heart of the losses they described. And in doing so, we have been conscious not to summarize or dilute the messages conveyed to us, instead seizing a valuable opportunity to share information from affected communities who are not seen and heard as potential, powerful changemakers nearly enough.
We avoided predetermined categories of loss and damage, thereby allowing affected communities to detail their lived values, their cultures and their realities that they feel are most important and at-risk to climate change-driven events, all the while allowing us a space of learning.
In addition to fostering learning and openness, these community disclosures have given us an opportunity to frame loss and damage as human rights losses and development setbacks already enshrined in human rights instruments and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Wherever possible, we have called upon these legal and policy instruments to better define the losses vulnerable and affected communities are suffering, and to illustrate solutions. Relatedly, on displacement as a result of climate change – an issue many of these communities are facing in some way – we highlight existing and potential additional avenues which may prove helpful in providing protection and solutions, which are currently far from adequate.
The work to operationalize the Loss and Damage Fund, and indeed any efforts to implement meaningful and appropriate solutions for those affected by climate change, must be informed by impacted people to identify needs, gaps and the most impactful ways to deploy resources that facilitate inclusion, representation and compensation of all affected communities. As such, this report draws together case study evidence from 10 distinct locations in Kenya in which communities are suffering extreme climate impacts, and who lack the support to withstand those growing climate impacts that put them at risk to human rights losses, development setbacks, displacement and migration.
This report was originally published by Climate Refugee.