26 June 2023 Speech by Federal Minister Svenja Schulze at the Berlin Insights Series on climate change and development
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Distinguished Members of Parliament,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Last Tuesday was World Refugee Day. And the consequences of the climate crisis are already causing more people to become internally displaced than factors related to violence and conflict. One place where we can see this is India – one of the hotspots of global climate change. In the past 30 years, India has been hit by 300 extreme weather events. Most of them have happened after 2005. For example, people living in the Sundarbans – the world's largest mangrove forest, which is located in the Ganges delta – are experiencing more and more frequent cyclones.
This region is home to 13 million people. Nine in ten are smallholder farmers or landless people without any social protection. They barely manage to feed their families. When crops fail, people go into debt. And crops fail often after a cyclone hits.
Many local people have already become displaced as a result. They have fled the rising sea levels and the cyclones that hit the region every 18 months on average. These cyclones regularly displace millions of people – climate-induced displacement.
And this is not limited to that region. According to estimates of the International Organization for Migration, up to 200 million people will be displaced by climate change by 2050 unless the international community manages to stop global warming.
The consequences of climate change have long been a tough reality in many places – not just in the Sundarbans.
They present the entire world with huge challenges. They threaten fundamental human rights. And, as so often, marginalized groups in the Global South are hit particularly hard – women and girls, and displaced people. The latest IPCC report has confirmed this. State Minister Naseem can give us a first-hand account of this experience later on.
Protecting the Earth's climate means, above all, stopping global warming, and in this way protecting all people on Earth. So climate action is a matter of social justice. The international community needs to base its climate action on solidarity, because the impact of climate change is hitting the poorest hardest. For instance the people in the Sundarbans.
In order to understand the risks posed by climate change and to identify the areas where the worst impacts must be expected, sound scientific evidence is needed. So the Development Ministry requires evidence-based analyses of climate risks and of the resulting losses and damages in order to adopt good policies. That is why the BMZ has been working closely with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research since 2018. I value our cooperation – especially because the Institute is a strong voice for the ambitious and solidarity-based international climate policies that we so urgently need.
By analyzing climate risks, we can identify protection gaps and then provide the best possible support.
Today's event focuses on how to completely prevent losses and damages or how to best limit them – and how to respond to them quickly. This will be possible based on the guiding vision of comprehensive risk management. In our climate action efforts, we must not give up the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees. My Ministry is fighting for that. We are also providing strong support for adaptation to climate change. In 2022, Germany's climate finance reached a balance between mitigation and adaptation funding.
And at last year's COP in Sharm el-Sheikh, the international community decided to create new financing arrangements. This includes a fund to address loss and damage. This was a breakthrough in the history of climate negotiations, and an important signal of solidarity and global climate justice. Now the Development Ministry is working for this financial support to reach particularly vulnerable countries and people as a matter of priority.
However, the climate negotiations are by no means the only area in which the BMZ is working to foster protection against loss and damage. We have been engaged in very practical ways for many years. For instance, the Ministry is providing active assistance to its partner countries' efforts to strengthen their resilience to climate risks.
This requires a systemic shift in the way we deal with extreme events – from ex-post support after disasters toward ex-ante approaches such as pre-arranged finance. This was also underlined again at the Paris financing summit at the end of last week.
That is why Germany, together with the Vulnerable Twenty and our G7 partners, launched the Global Shield against Climate Risks. The Global Shield seeks to advance the necessary systemic shift and improve financial protection against climate risks for vulnerable countries and people – through ex-ante financing mechanisms. They facilitate the swift and targeted disbursement of funding to people after an extreme weather event, significantly reducing the impact of future disasters. This creates predictability and social justice.
I wish us all exciting discussions and a fruitful second round of the Berlin Insights Series. Thank you very much for being here.