Global South's era for fair governance has come
Published: Nov 28, 2022 06:27 PM

Illustration:Liu Xidan

Illustration:Liu Xidan

The better part of November saw the world's attention focussed on Sharm El-Sheikh, where the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference was held. 

More commonly referred to as the COP27, the meeting came at a time when the world is confronting the unprecedented impact of climate change, which has caused the spread of, as well as an increased magnitude and frequency of droughts, floods, and other disasters. 

Against this background, the Global South become sick and tired of the usual lengthy discussions with its stalling, delaying tactics and procrastination that have hampered implementation and delivery at such Summits. These countries have made it clear from the onset that the world can no longer afford to spend more time ducking around the real issues.

The discontent, irritation and resentment directed at the developed world by the Global South during the conference was welcomed and justified. To date, the pledge made in 2009 during the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Denmark, committing $100 billion annually, remains unsubstantiated.  

It is a development that has aroused angry discourse with questions emerging on why developed countries continue to power industrialization using dirty energy instead of decarbonising their production and making use of clean energy to manufacture for the world. In the early days of COP26, the Scottish Government committed £2 million for Loss and Damage. This escalated the focus on finance for Loss and Damage, exerting more pressure on other developed countries to follow Scotland's footsteps. 

Subsequently, developing countries collectively called for the establishment of the the Glasgow Facility for Financing Loss and Damage to mobilize and channel finance to vulnerable developing countries to support their efforts to address loss and damage. 

 Ultimately, pushback from developed countries has proved too strong to overcome, and the Facility was not established. Instead, as a shaky compromise, the Glasgow Dialogue was established as a platform for discussing the arrangements for funding to avert, minimise and address loss and damages. 

It is worth mentioning that Loss and Damage is not an abstract subject of endless dialogue; it is our daily experience and the living nightmare of millions of people especially in developing countries. Due to the scale of disruption, it was inevitable that Loss and Damage would take the centre-stage in Egypt. 

Speaker after speaker from the South took issue with it, and sought that it be addressed with a level of seriousness which demonstrates fairness, urgency and consideration.

At one point, the West was reminded, not once, not twice, but multiple times, that Africa contributes only less than 3 percent of the pollution responsible for climate change. But it is most severely impacted by the ensuing crisis. It was, therefore, only fair and proper that COP27 takes requisite measures to recognise Africa's special needs and circumstances under the Paris Agreement, in line with the convention and relevant decisions adopted by previous COPs.

In the face of impending catastrophe - whose warning signs are already unbearably disastrous - the Global North was told that weak action will be unwise and that no action will be dangerous; Rather, our discourse must focus on delivery, and our conversation must be centred on our commitments and implementation. It was maintained that developed nations must rise to the challenge of the moment and make difficult but necessary decisions and seize transformative opportunities from the grasp of climate disaster. This, the Global South explained, meant honoring spending commitments for mitigation and adaptation, and mobilizing increased financial flows to those affected.

The overwhelming pressure exerted on developed countries appeared to bear fruit. After almost two weeks' long conference, the Parties at COP27 made a historic decision - after nearly three decades of deliberate delay and inaction - and agreed to establish and operationalize a Loss and Damage fund, particularly for nations most vulnerable to the adverse effects of the climate crisis.  

The fund is expected to see these countries supported for losses arising from droughts, floods, rising seas and other disasters that are attributed to climate change. But it is not clear who should pay into the fund, where this money will come from and which countries will benefit. 

Be it as it may, the development brings to an end the thorny issue that has been one of the most contentious on the negotiating table. It has also brought to the fore the question: Is Africa, Asia and South America finally exerting its influence in the governance of the world? How will the Global South shape the globe in the future? This, clearly, looks to be the case as the South-South cooperation flourishes in various areas such as trade, regional security, infrastructure development, economy, among others. Indeed, this is the era of the South.

The author is a researcher and expert on China-Africa cooperation based in Nairobi, Kenya. Follow him on Twitter @kapchanga. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn