Rich nations paid less than five per cent of $53 billion East Africa needs to confront climate crisis

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Oxfam calls on the UK Government to deliver on its climate finance commitment

A new Oxfam report published today reveals that rich nations paid Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan just $2.4 billion in climate-related development finance in 2021, against the $53 billion East Africa needs annually in order to mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis which is already devastating the region.

The report, Unfair Share - published to coincide with the Africa Climate Summit taking place in Nairobi, Kenya from 4 – 6 September - highlights how the biggest polluting nations which have a responsibility to bear the costs, are failing to pay their fair share of funding to help one of the regions most affected by climate change.

Extreme weather, now more severe and frequent, is the primary driver of hunger in the four African countries, with 31.5 million people suffering from severe hunger as a result of a two-year drought and years of flooding, compounded by displacement and conflict. Climate change has made the drought across East Africa 100 times more likely.

The drought and erratic rainfalls have killed nearly 13 million animals, and decimated hundreds of thousands of hectares of crops, leaving millions of people without income or food. Oxfam estimates that Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia and South Sudan have lost $7.4 billion in livestock alone as a result of climate change in the last two years and incurred up to $30 billion in economic losses.

Industrialised economies have significantly contributed to the climate crisis, which now disproportionally affects regions like East Africa. G7 countries and Russia have been responsible for 85 per cent of global emissions since 1850 - 850 times the emissions of Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia and South Sudan combined. The UK, the eighth biggest polluter over the period, is responsible for three per cent of the global share of carbon emissions.

Oxfam is calling on the UK Government to fulfil its commitment to spend £11.6bn on international climate finance by 2026 and ensure that it contributes towards strengthening the resilience of countries across East Africa to ongoing climate shocks. Fulfilling this pledge must not be at the expense of other development priorities that also depend on the limited overseas aid budget.

Fati N’Zi-Hassane, Oxfam in Africa Director, said: “Even by their own generous accounting, polluting nations have delivered only pittance to help East Africa scale up their mitigation and adaptation efforts. Nearly half the funds they have given were loans, plunging the region further into debt.

“At the heart of East Africa’s hunger crisis is an abhorrent climate injustice. Rich polluting nations continue to rig the system by disregarding the billions of dollars owed to East Africa, while millions of people are left to starve from repeated climate shocks.”

Despite the soaring humanitarian need, rich nations have only funded a third of the UN appeal for East Africa this year. The UK government has budgeted only £252 million for the four countries - a fraction of the £861m that helped stave of famine in the region in 2017.

But the humanitarian system was not designed to respond to cyclical shocks of such frequency and scale, and is not built to address the severity of loss and damage people are now facing due to the impacts of the climate crisis. It is therefore of utmost importance that the UK commits to additional climate finance.

The UK must also ensure the Loss and Damage fund - agreed at COP27 to help countries deal with the costs already incurred due to climate change - is set up in a way that properly serves affected communities and is adequately funded.

The climate crisis has taken its harshest toll on women and girls. Women in Somalia told Oxfam they now have to walk more than four hours every day to fetch water, often in treacherous journeys - a significantly increased distance compared to previous droughts.

Nimo Suleiman, a displaced mother of two from Somaliland, said: “I have witnessed previous droughts but I have never seen anything like this before. The closest water point for us is five kilometers away, the road to the water point is not safe and it is very hot but our family's survival depends on us making that journey.”


For more information and interviews, please contact Zara Sarvarian on, 075 842 650 77

Notes to editor

Unfair Share report is available on request.

Oxfam is holding a roundtable at the African Climate Summit on 5 September 2023.

The $2.4 billion figure is based on the OECD records of “Climate-related development finance” statistics reported figures in 2021 for Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan, which capture both bilateral and multilateral climate-related external development finance flows. For more detail on the OECD methodology please see the OECD Methodology note.

Out of the total $2.4 billion funds provided, only $1.33 billion were in the form of grants (54.5%) while $1.09 billion were in the form of loans (45%). Source: OECD

The figure $53.3 billion is the four countries identified annual needed funds for the period 2021 to 2030, in their “National Determined Contributions” (NDCs) to enable them to implement their climate goals under the Paris Agreement. It includes: $62 billion for Kenya, $316 billion for Ethiopia, $55.5 billion for Somalia and $100 billion for South Sudan.

Historic global emissions ranking from Carbon Brief

According to the UN Economic Commission for Africa, the East Africa region’s average annual loss from climate change until 2030 is 2-4% of its annual GDP. For Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan, the total combined GDP in 2022 is $260 Billion.

Oxfam calculated livestock loss for Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia based on 2021 and 2023 estimates of the total government reported loss of 12.95 million heads of livestock - including 6.85 million livestock in Ethiopia, 2.6 million livestock in Kenya and 3.5 million livestock in Somalia. Ethiopia and Somalia have not provided an estimate of the value of the lost livestock. The approximate cost of per animal head in the region is $ 576.9, totalling $7.2 Billion for all 12.95 million livestock lost.

Food insecurity figures are based on IPC classification of the number of people in crisis or worse levels of food insecurity (IPC3+) for Ethiopia (11.8 million), Kenya (5.4 million), Somalia (6.5 million) and South Sudan (7.7 million).

Humanitarian need figures is based on the 2023 UN Humanitarian Response Plans for Ethiopia, Somalia and South Sudan and Kenya.

UK humanitarian and development aid figures for the four countries are provided in the DFID Annual Report for 2017 and FCDO Annual Report for 2023. Separately the figures for UK humanitarian aid to the UN Humanitarian Response Plans are provided in the notes above.

Humanitarian need figures for 2017 are based on 2017 Humanitarian Response Document for Ethiopia; Somalia and South Sudan , and the 2017 Flash Appeal for Kenya.

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