A historic decision has been made at COP 27 this year. Seven states, including Pakistan, will be the first ones to receive ‘Global Shield’ funding right after the conference ends. In addition to Pakistan, Senegal, Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Fiji, Ghana, and the Philippines were named as recipients of the package by the Group of Seven (G7) and the Vulnerable 20 Group of Finance Ministers (V20), an organization made up of 58 countries with climate-vulnerable economies. The pre-arranged financial support program known as “Global Shield” has been designed to be quickly implemented in the event of a climate disaster.
Germany is contributing around 170 million euros as a seed investment, of which 84 million euros are the Global Shield’s core funding and 85.5 million euros are allocated for related climate risk finance instruments. 35 million Danish kroner (roughly 4.7 million euros) from Denmark, 10 million euros from Ireland, 7 million dollars from Canada, and 20 million euros from France are additional core funding commitments to the Global Shield. Initial contributions from other nations total about 170 million euros. Donors are anticipated to make additional contributions in the near future.
Climate vulnerable countries needed this funding for multiple reasons. The most vulnerable countries are, more often than not, low income, third world states with weak economies. They are stuck in a cycle of foreign loans that they cannot repay and have weak institutions, policies, and governments. In addition to that, many of them have internal conflicts going on within the country. To add a cherry on top, climate disasters also strike them.
Pakistan, quite recently, witnessed devastating floods. The heavy monsoon rains and overflowing rivers displaced thousands of people, many of whom already belonged to the low income vulnerable groups. The estimated damage done by the floods was $30 billion. Pakistan itself could not cover these costs as it is already on the brink of default with a poor economy and political instability that further exacerbates economic problems. Donor agencies around the world contributed to relief efforts, however, not much was collected for the reconstruction of much of the destroyed infrastructure in the country.
Similar is the case with Bangladesh. According to reports, the average tropical cyclone costs the country approximately $1 billion annually, and by 2050, one in seven people will be displaced due to climate disasters. Moreover, the country is likely to lose one third of its agricultural GDP and 13 million people could become internal climate migrants.
It was imperative for the global south to ask for this shield as it is most vulnerable to the climate crisis through no fault of its own. It is time for the world to pay up for the damage it has caused. Now that the payments will start arriving, it is imperative for those receiving the funding to use it prudently. Transparency is vital, and the money should be spent only for the betterment of people in whatever way possible. There should be accountability so that the global shield actually provides a shield to the most vulnerable in the climate crisis and not fill the pockets of the representatives.