Exclusion of Arab Countries, Including Iraq, from Climate Financing Raises Concerns: ICRC and Norwegian Red Cross

Exclusion of Arab Countries, Including Iraq, from Climate Financing Raises Concerns: ICRC and Norwegian Red Cross

Shafaq News/ The International Committee of the Red Cross and the Norwegian Red Cross issued a joint warning on Thursday, emphasizing the exclusion of Arab countries, particularly Iraq, from financing efforts related to combating climate change.

The organizations highlighted that countries affected by conflicts in the Middle East are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

In their report focusing on Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, the two organizations called for increased assistance, stating that the combination of climate change and armed conflict is intensifying humanitarian challenges in the region.

According to the Climate Funds database, which collects information from 27 funds, only 19 projects in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen have been approved for funding as of January 2022.

The total amount spent on these projects in the three countries is merely $20.6 million, less than 0.5% of the global expenditure on climate change-related projects.

Ann Bergh, Secretary General of the Norwegian Red Cross, highlighted that climate financing disproportionately neglects the most fragile and unstable regions. She emphasized the need for change from a humanitarian perspective.

Embroiled in an ongoing civil war for eight years, Yemen is considered one of the countries most severely impacted by climate change.

The ICRC pointed out that people in Yemen often flee their homes due to conflict and the inability to sustain agriculture because of drought and water scarcity.

Still recovering from decades of conflict, Iraq is classified by the United Nations as one of the countries most affected by climate change.

After more than a decade of the devastating war, Syria also faces increasing danger with the destruction of its infrastructure.

Fabrizio Carboni, the ICRC's regional director, highlighted that while deaths, injuries, and destruction are well-known consequences of armed conflict, the simultaneous challenges posed by conflict, climate change, and environmental degradation often go unnoticed.

Climate financing is expected to be a significant topic at Dubai's United Nations Climate Conference (COP28) from November 30 to December 12.

During a panel discussion held in Dubai, Elena de Jong, advisor to the Emirati team for COP28, expressed the need to expedite and finance climate change actions in conflict areas ahead of the conference. De Jong suggested that COP28 could provide an opportunity to engage with climate change funders, including development banks and humanitarian agencies, to establish a global pact addressing the issue. Proposed solutions may involve streamlining financing requests and promoting more local projects instead of relying solely on government initiatives.

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