MALAWI’S President Lazarus Chakwera says a Scottish fund designed to help poor countries hit by climate change should serve as an example to the rest of the world.

The Scottish Government announced in 2021 that it would begin funding what are known as “loss and damage” projects.

At COP26, Nicola Sturgeon was given the Ray of the Day award for kickstarting the fund, which became one of the main points of discussion at COP27 in Egypt. 

Chakwera confirmed that the project had already made a significant difference in 10 areas.

In an interview with the BBC, he said: “It has made huge differences in the people and their livelihoods because they are given a hand up, so the resilience we talk about becomes a practical issue.”

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A quarter of the £2 million allocated for this year is being spent in Malawi with a further £5m to be made available in April.

Sturgeon tweeted about the news, saying: “Recognition for (Scottish) leadership on climate loss and damage.

“It’s well past time for other countries – the biggest and richest especially – to follow suit.”

Chakwera added that it was not fair to describe the money as aid, instead saying it should be seen as countries taking responsibility for climate change together.

Loss and damage refers to destructive impacts of climate change that cannot be avoided by adaptation or mitigation, such as reducing emissions.

Poorer countries in the Global South have repeatedly campaigned for richer countries to pay up for the climate impact they have had, with many reluctant to accept responsibility. 

However, since Scotland launched the fund, many other countries and organisations have since contributed.

In Malawi’s Zomba region, the Scottish Government’s money is being used to rebuild parts of a four-mile flood embankment on the Phalombe River which was breached by storms last year.

Elsewhere, new flood defences are being built in the village of Mambundungu which was relocated to higher ground to avoid flooding.

The National:

Chakwera believes that more vulnerable countries such as Malawi would benefit if the Scottish Government’s fund was replicated by other countries.

“This fight belongs to all of us and I believe that this example will serve as a prototype of what could happen.”   

Although world leaders agreed at COP27 to set up a “loss and damage” fund, the details have still to be finalised.