“Loss and Damage” is the current injustice of our generation.
The negative impacts of climate change are being felt to an extent that has never been recorded in human history, especially by young women and girls. But I am proud to be a part of the generation that doesn’t want to blame the past generation as we seek to be part of the solution.
My name is Ineza Umuhoza Grace, I am an Eco-Feminist impact-driven actor in the climate change sector based in Rwanda. I am part of the Loss and Damage Youth Coalition.
Climate change’s impacts are a constant reminder that our inaction to address the issue is leaving the vulnerable far behind and we won’t be able to have a safe future if we ignore the issue. Rwanda is a landlocked country that did less to contribute to climate change, yet the community is vulnerable as any hope of a sustainable future can be washed by the negative effects of climate change.
Intensive rainfall destroys the crops, especially of the small-scale farmers who are mostly women, in addition, the infrastructures (schools roads, hospitals) are also destroyed and it is usually our country’s GDP that is used to build back from all the damages.
The Loss and Damage Youth Coalition is from both the global south and north aiming to build a partnership by taking action on loss and damage. We demand that the global north countries take responsibility for the outside contribution to the climate change impact. It is unfair that those who did less are the ones paying up to recover what is damage mainly done by others.
We started in 2020, and are now a coalition of more than 400 youth from 41 plus countries.
The core demand of our initiative is “Loss and Damage finance,” we need new additional and accessible finance to be allocated for the frontline communities who are facing climate change impacts on a daily basis; hence we need the Loss and Damage Finance now.
We share our message through open letters that are sent to the world leaders, by delivering training on loss and damage to enhance the ability of the youth to participate and engage on the national and international level, we share the lived experiences of the youth in the form of blogs and videos.
In our message to COP27 in June, we requested the establishment of the youth advisory committee on loss and damage. As the international process needs to promote public participation there is a need of building a long-term strategy in bringing together expertise to accelerate climate action. As youth are disproportionately affected by the negative impacts of climate change, the establishment of the advisory on loss and damage will allow the formulation of a non-tokenistic approach to youth inclusion in taking action to address loss and damage.
Youth inclusion should be an active strategy at all levels of taking action on climate change. Youth are holders of the tangible solution that can bring hope as we strive to achieve global solidarity for achieving climate justice.
On the road to COP27, we are undertaking #LossandDamageFinanceNow We are engaging with youth across the globe to collect and share their experiences that will serve as backup research to support the negotiation requesting the need for the finance for loss and damage under the UNFCCC, delivering a training session on loss and damage in French, English, Spanish; and supporting youth participation in COP27.
The world will achieve climate justice if we address the issue of loss and damage effectively. For me, this issue should be addressed by listening actively to the voice of the grassroots community as they demand the world to have a robust mechanism to address loss and damage, and an establishment of a funding arrangement that will allow the frontline community to have access on timely finance support to recover from damages because currently, these impacts are costing the development of the global south community; this finance needs to be new, additional, and accessible.
There is no excuse for justifying climate inaction. We are all part of one planet and none are “vaccinated” against climate change impacts, but together we can allow the future generation to have a safe planet.
Ineza Umuhoza Grace, serves as the global coordinator of the loss and damage youth coalition, her research interest lies in loss and damage in relation to its finance, politics, voice of the community and concrete action on the ground.