Updated 12th December

From November 30th-12th of December, COP28 brought together 84,000 people, including delegates from all 199 Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, to action meaningful change to tackle the ever-worsening climate crisis. 

2023 has been the hottest year on record, with countries across the world facing devastating disasters induced by changing weather patterns and rising temperatures, only reinforcing the need for wide-ranging interventions to protect our planet. For countries disproportionately impacted by climate change, such as Afghanistan, this need is even greater. 

So, what has been achieved at this year’s COP28, and how might these measures affect Afghanistan’s population? 

1. Loss and Damage Fund 

After extensive discussion around the creation of a Loss and Damage Fund last year, the initiative has finally been greenlit. This fund will pay for the loss and damages caused by climate-related disasters including floods, droughts, hurricanes, and other extreme weather events. According to this agreement, wealthier economies must contribute to the fund to a level proportionate to their role in contributing to climate change.

Parties within COP have pledged $700 million in funding to help lower-income countries recover from the effects of climate change, with the United Kingdom committing just over $75 million. While this is a huge milestone for climate justice, the funding still falls extremely short of what climate-vulnerable populations will need to rebuild their homes, livelihoods and communities when climatic disasters inevitably strike. 

2. Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty

The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty is a proposed international agreement aimed at addressing the global challenges of climate change by phasing out coal, gas, and oil and laying the foundation for greater use of renewable energy. 

Treaty members, including the World Health Organisation, declare that a transition to renewable energies is not just an option, but rather, necessary for the survival of the planet, as fossil fuel emissions make up 75% of global gas emissions annually. This will be key in stemming the increasing rise in global temperatures, especially in countries like Afghanistan, where the temperature has risen by 1.8°C between 1950 and 2010, twice the global average.

3. Food and Agriculture Declaration

More than 130 world leaders have endorsed the “Emirates Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems”, which highlights the crucial intersection of climate change and global food systems. This declaration sets a global commitment to adopt more sustainable agricultural practices, cutting carbon emissions within the food system, and promoting food security, all whilst promoting the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

Recognition of the vast inequality in how the world obtains its food is a critical first step to tackling food insecurity around the globe, and mitigating one of the most dangerous consequences of climate change. The declaration aims to intensify calls to incorporate legislation that will increase access to nutritious food and clean water, as well as bolster resilient and sustainable agricultural livelihoods in countries like Afghanistan. 

With 80% of the Afghan population reliant on agriculture to generate an income, worsening climate-related disasters have been detrimental to farmers and rural communities, who struggle to grow crops, store water, and protect their land. Furthermore, climate change-induced droughts and floods have put national food systems at risk, with over 15 million Afghans facing acute food insecurity. It is imperative for the international community to come together to mitigate the effects of climate change, especially for small-scale farmers like those in rural Afghanistan, and deliver on this new declaration for the betterment of the Afghan people.

Read about how climate initiatives can better support small-scale farmers

4. Climate, Relief, Recovery, and Peace Declaration

One of the final achievements of the conference was the COP28 Declaration on Climate, Relief, Recovery, and Peace. It outlines a non-binding call to action for governments, international organisations, financial institutions, and other stakeholders to collectively address climate resilience in highly vulnerable countries and communities, especially those affected by conflict and severe humanitarian needs. 

For one of the first times at COP, this document demonstrates that there has been recognition of the intersecting challenges of climate change, conflict, instability, and humanitarian crises, which disproportionately impact women, children, indigenous people, and people with disabilities. 

To address these disparities in communities facing conflict, the declaration encourages investment in climate adaptation programmes which are informed by vulnerable populations, are conflict-sensitive, and reflect the importance of adaptability within the implementation of solutions.

After facing four decades of conflict, Afghanistan has been grappling with the repercussions of economic collapse, as well as climate-related disasters, and widespread food insecurity. Recognising the intersections between these complex challenges is vital in implementing targeted solutions to the climate crisis, and is crucial to both building sustainable peace and to long-term development. 

How can you help Afghan communities tackle climate change? 

With your help and led by local peoplewe can ensure more communities have the knowledge, infrastructure and resilience to tackle the complex challenges they face as the climate crisis intensifies. Support our work today:

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