Side events in COP28 at the Expo City in Dubai, UAE are opportunities for broadening advocacies and gathering more voices in climate action.
The Jesuits Justice and Ecology Network Africa (JENA) is actively putting the focus on Africa in COP28 and the climate crisis impact in the region. Prior to the climate summit, Kevin Okoth Ouko wrote about global food systems transformation and the focus that COP28 will bring to food security.
COP28 is the first climate COP to focus on food, with food, agriculture, and water central to at least 22 major events, and a dedicated food day and Food4Climate Pavilion. The JENA Echoes newsletter is also coming out with COP28 special editions.
JENA also hosted a COP28 side event at the Faith Pavilion with the Panafrican Climate Justice Alliance on A Just Transition for Africa: Mining for Climate Change Mitigation – Ethical Perspectives, held under the broader theme of Just Energy Transition, Industry, and Trade to foster dialogue at the intersection of faith, ethics, climate change mitigation, and a just transition within the mining sector in Africa. Charles Chilufya SJ, JENA Director, opened the side event where faith leaders and civil society representatives called for ethical practices in accessing natural resources in Africa.
Dr Ciara Murphy at the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice wrote on the high expectations on Loss and Damage at COP28, why it is important, the acknowledgement of responsibility, and ensuring the fund’s access to those vulnerable to climate breakdown. The agreement on a loss and damage fund was reached on Day 1 at COP28, even as the mechanism for its full operation and where the fund will be lodged are still under negotiation.
In relation, the operationalization of this Loss and Damage Fund deal was discussed in another COP28 side event, Loss and Damage Fund: What Next? and tackled concerns on ensuring the fund can deliver finance at a scale and speed that addresses the needs of affected communities at the local level. Much work needs to be done to ensure the new Loss and Damage Fund benefits communities at the frontlines of the climate crisis. Governance, hosting, access, and principles are critical concerns as well as filling the fund with real finance. Chaired by Teresa Anderson of ActionAid, speakers included Mariana Paoli of Christian Aid, Criselle Mejillano of Environmental Science for Social Change from the Philippines, and Harjeet Singh of Climate Action Network International.
Meanwhile, students of Saint Ignatius’ College Riverview in Australia are also engaged, circulating COP28 information and developing a COP28 banner that provides quick facts and what actions can be taken to respond to the calls of Pope Francis and other faith leaders.