COP27: Historic Loss and Damage Fund takes COP27 to the brink

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Climate activists at COP27, currently underway in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Credit: Busani Bafana/IPS
  • by Aimable Twahirwa (sharm el sheikh)
  • Inter Press Service

COP27 was extended by a day after negotiators failed to agree on the fund – leading to UN Secretary-General António Guterres saying on Friday 18 November 2022 that the time to talk about financing loss and damage is over. He alluded to a growing lack of trust between developing and developed countries.

Guterres, early on Sunday, November 20, 2022, welcomed the fund by saying, “I applaud the decision to establish an indemnity fund and operationalize it in the coming period. It is clear that this will not be enough, but it is a much needed political signal to restore the broken trust.”

He added that the voices of those on the frontlines of the climate crisis must be heard.

At the previous global climate summit, which took place in Glasgow, Scotland last year, the parties agreed on the roadmap where developing countries, which have contributed little to the climate crisis, arrived with a determination to get a commitment from rich countries to help them to compensate for this damage.

On several occasions during the negotiations, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, also the COP27 chairperson, has stated that climate finance remains crucial for Africa as the continent contributes 4 percent of global emissions and is being adversely affected to a much greater extent by events related to global warming.

In terms of losses and damage, some climate finance experts believe that the ongoing climate finance talks at COP27 are one of the most painful examples of the African proverb that when the elephants fight, the grass is trampled.

“Ongoing loss and damage negotiations are the most recent iteration of this protracted battle,” said Sophia Murphy, executive director of the U.S. Institute of Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP).

IATP is a think tank that analyzes the interdependence between agriculture, trade and climate in developing countries.

Since 2015, loss and damage have served as the main catalyst under the UNFCCC process, particularly for increasing financial support for adaptation to prevent, minimize the impacts of climate change in developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change and tackle.

Murphy pointed out that the G77 spans a very wide range of countries and interests, and that the climate crisis is not being suffered equally in the South.

“Currently at COP27, developing countries are likely showing that everyone is responsible for the negative realities of climate change and that loss and damage negotiations are the most recent iteration of this protracted struggle,” she said.

While many negotiators in Sharm El Sheikh believe that rich countries are lagging behind in allocating finance for loss and damage, there is consensus that the current climate finance negotiations have not gone very well, particularly in terms of expectations for COP27.

Dr. Somorin Olufunso, Regional Principal Officer, Climate Change and Green Growth (East Africa) at the African Development Bank, says the financial negotiations are primarily a “confidence negotiation.”

“Unfortunately, if trust is broken, it could affect other issues being negotiated and ultimately our collective action to fight climate change,” said the senior financial expert.

The bank published the 2022 African Economic Outlook report on African countries’ needs for loss and damage in 2022-2030 for between $289.2 and $440.5 billion. The estimated need for adaptation financing is in a similar order of magnitude.

According to Olufunso, the negotiations were not aggressive enough for many Africans to find solutions that were urgently needed, both on scale and speed.

Until the end of the summit, the non-life fund remained a major bottleneck.

“Negotiations are going well on some points and not well on others (…) Rwanda and other vulnerable countries had high expectations in getting a decision to approve the establishment of a loss and damage fund,” Faustin Munyazikwiye, the deputy director general of the Rwanda Environmental Management Authority (REMA) and chief negotiator of Rwanda says in an interview.

According to him, this item did not go well.

African negotiators at COP27 prioritized closing gaps between current risks associated with climate change and funding for adaptation.

However, most developing countries prefer that the financing of loss and damage be through the private sector and not necessarily a liability for rich countries.

But other experts believe the cost of repairing this damage is enormous and that the countries that should pay are the ones that contributed to climate change in the first place.

While some climate finance experts note that the commitment of rich countries to pay the developing world $100 billion cannot even offset what Africa’s needs are, others point out that COP27 should provide a bold financing facility to pay for loss and damage to communities already affected by climate change on the continent.

Kelly Dent, Global Director of External Engagement at World Animal Protection, told IPS that the most vulnerable countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, see the climate crisis as a matter of life.

“Without a coherent and meaningful agreement on finances, COP27 will fail to deliver on its mission and put millions of lives at risk,” she said.

From Dent’s perspective, a roadmap to track down and deliver a doubling in adaptation finance is critical.

UNEP’s 2022 Adaptation Gap Report, released on the sidelines of COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, indicates that the continent needs $7 to $15 billion annually to improve adaptation to climate change, in addition to the nearly $3 trillion investment required to implement nationally determined measures. contributions (NDCs) and cap emissions in line with the Paris climate agreement.

IPS Report of the UN Office


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© Inter Press Service (2022) — All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service





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