One of the key requests from the world’s developing nations was finally agreed upon after 30 years and 40 hours beyond the deadline of COP27.
As the curtains fell on the 27th Climate Conference (COP-27) on 20th November, a breakthrough agreement on a new Loss and Damage fund was agreed upon.
COP27 is unique in that it was the first time global negotiators discussed the issue of financing loss and damage due to the climate crisis in 28 years since the adoption of the UN climate convention. This International event on a small resort town on the Red Sea coast with close to 50,000 participants stands as one of the best opportunities for the world to take action to combat climate change amid economic turmoil across the globe.
This ambitious initiative is crucial to help impoverished countries struggling with the effects of climate change, being the likes of natural calamities, according to UN officials and delegates. It was also seen as a positively bold and ultimately necessary way to move forward by many economists worldwide. The pact was reached through tense negotiations that continued for 40 hours exceeding the deadline, followed by a plenary session where the final text was released and gaveled. The fund for loss and damage, for use in supporting the societal and physical infrastructure of nations devastated by catastrophic weather disasters, has been agreed upon by over 200 countries which could be established within the following year.
In the words of UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell, “This outcome moves us forward. We have determined a way forward on a decades-long conversation on funding for loss and damage – deliberating over how we address the impacts on communities whose lives and livelihoods have been ruined by the very worst impacts of climate change.”
The summit began with an aim to raise finance and meet the agreed-upon financial commitments. Hereafter, negotiations on other aspects of climate change, such as adaptation and mitigation, dominated the first week of the summit apart from the loss and damage. However, diplomats from across the globe were tight-lipped on the progress. So far, some rich nations have sought to avoid dialogues on the qualifications of climate finance and how it is reported and assessed.
Some nations made big statements and impacts, like the approval of the US on the Loss and Damage Fund. In addition, The German foreign minister stated that several significant polluters and oil producers have blocked long-overdue actions on mitigation and the phase-out of fossil fuels. The EU also played its part by conveying its main goal during the negotiations to guarantee that these nations – including China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations – were considered potential contributors.
Nevertheless, many aspects were still left to be desired after the conference. Some crucial points were yet to be resolved, presumably delayed until the next summit. Among them were the outlines of the Loss and Damage Fund with questions such as how much money would be put in, by whom, and on what basis are yet to be settled. Although many are speculating about COP27 that it was a failure, as many oil-producing nations and high polluters reduced and withdrew crucial agreements on greenhouse emissions and the phase-out of fossil fuels. Moreover, many experts stressed that this conference’s triumphs paled compared to potential promise.
Climate talks like this and advances in climate finance call into question the ability of annual summits to make any progress on climate action beyond setting targets that ultimately depend on financial flows from rich to poor countries. Nonetheless, the full effects of the summit are yet to be seen, especially in the long term. That being said, the international community is urged by the world to guarantee the proper set-up of the fund within the next year with strict guidelines for carbon emissions.