THE Scottish Government is "putting its money where its mouth is" and will provide £300,000 to support communities in Malawi impacted by Storm Freddy, the First Minister told Climate Week.

Speaking at the event in New York, Humza Yousaf called on governments to accelerate financial support for countries most affected by climate change.

It was also announced that Scotland’s Humanitarian Emergency Fund will be given an additional £1 million to support communities affected by disasters, disease or conflict.

And, the £5m pledged by former first minister Nicola Sturgeon to support communities in the Global South will be delivered in partnership with the Climate Justice Resilience Fund, Yousaf told the conference.

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He said that he hoped Scotland could play a “significant role” in calling for greater international action during his keynote speech, despite having a small population in comparison to many other countries.

Yousaf also said that funding deployed, not simply pledges, are what makes a difference, as he committed further funding to Malawi and the humanitarian fund.

The Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF) will receive a further £300,000, on top of an existing £500,000 in funding, to protect them from future floods. More than 200 people were confirmed dead in Malawi after the tropical storm ripped through southern Africa for the second time in a month in March this year.

The National: Homes destroyed by Cyclone Freddy,  Phalombe District, MalawiStorm Freddy destroyed homes in Malawi

Homes were swept away and communities were devastated by the storm, with the government declaring a state of disaster in 10 districts.

During his keynote speech in New York, the First Minister noted that Scotland became the first country in the world to commit funds to loss and damage, via his predecessor Sturgeon at COP26.

“It remains the only government-led climate justice fund in the world, that’s something we’d like to help change,” he said.

“Not because mobilising £36 million, Scotland’s contribution, will change the entire course of climate history, but because we hope it will inspire others to come with us on the journey of practical action.

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“Today I’m pleased to announce that we’ll be extending our funding to communities that have been impacted by Storm Freddy in Malawi, to a total of £800,000 in partnership with the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund.

“This programme so far has reached over 86,000 people in Malawi, protecting them from future floods, helping to build resilient homes and increasing access to safe drinking water.”

Yousf added that he was insistent that the Scottish Government doesn’t just “pledge money, we want to make sure it goes out the door”.

He then announced that the Climate Justice Resilience Fund will be the Scottish Government’s “partner in delivering a £5m non-economic loss and damage programme that will be mobilised this year”.

The National:

“This will help families and individuals who have suffered non-economic loss such as health impacts, gender-based violence and nature loss as a result of the climate emergency,” he added.

With the £1m given to the humanitarian fund, Yousaf said this amounted to £7m worth of pledges have been allocated “in full, not sitting in a government treasury” during a strained economic period for the Scottish Government .

“We are putting our money where our mouth is and ensuring that people that need it the most receive it, and that to me is climate action,” he added. Climate campaigners welcomed the First Minister's call for urgency and action as the “time for talking is over”.

Becky Kenton-Lake, of the Scottish coalition group Stop Climate Chaos, said: “We couldn’t agree more, and welcome his emphasis on urgency, highlighting the unequal impacts of the crisis and the positive role Scotland can play to drive international action.

“However, where Scotland can have the most impact now is to show how to swiftly and fairly transition away from fossil fuels to a low carbon society, with action funded by making polluters pay.

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“We need a shift from pledges to action in relation to Scotland’s emissions, to match his confirmation of Scotland’s Loss and Damage funding.”

Lewis Ryder-Jones, Oxfam Scotland’s policy adviser, said that the Scottish Government should be “commended” for its “pioneering role” in relation to climate justice funding and loss and damage.

“More countries must follow Scotland’s lead by stepping up to the plate and delivering on climate finance,” he said.

“However, the Scottish Government’s recurrent failure to both meet its own emission reduction targets and to unequivocally oppose new oil and gas, risks making the First Minister’s international climate efforts akin to repeatedly throwing a brick through someone’s window while offering to pay for the damage.”