New Delhi: With just weeks to go until the next UN climate summit named COP28, the host United Arab Emirates on Sunday said the crucial meeting on the operationalization of funds to developing nations hit by climate change has agreed on a recommended approach to operationalizing it, which the 198 parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will consider and hopefully adopt at the summit.
Contrary to what the host, climate, and community activists said at the fifth meeting of the Transitional Committee of the Loss and Damage Fund that concluded in Abu Dhabi on Saturday rich countries turned their backs on vulnerable communities with the US saying “it is not a consensus document” because they were not in the room when it was adopted.
Two-week-long COP28 in Dubai at the end of the month is the place to deliver and operationalize the fund and funding arrangements for loss and damage.
“I welcome the agreement reached today in Abu Dhabi by the Transitional Committee,” Sultan Al Jaber, COP28 President-Designate, said.
He said that this is a clear and strong recommendation to operationalize the Loss and Damage Fund and funding arrangements, paving the way for agreement at COP28.
“Billions of people’s lives and livelihoods who are vulnerable to the effects of climate change depend upon the adoption of this recommended approach at COP28.”
The Transitional Committee on the operationalization of the funding arrangements and new funds for responding to loss and damage resulting from climate change held its earlier meetings too which resulted in significant progress towards fulfilling the mandate given to the committee at COP27 in Egypt last year.
COP27 established new funding arrangements and a fund for assisting developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, in responding to loss and damage. The fund includes a focus on addressing loss and damage.
During the Transitional Committee 5 (TC5) meeting, young people from the Loss and Damage Youth Coalition called on wealthy countries to stop hindering the swift setup of the Loss and Damage Fund and its funding plans.
“The Transitional Committee must prioritize principles of justice, equity, common but differentiated responsibility, and common interest in discussions on loss and damage,” they said.
Responding to the outcome of the TC5 meeting, Harjeet Singh, head of the global political strategy at Climate Action Network International, quoted: “It is a somber day for climate justice, as rich countries turn their backs on vulnerable communities, allowing those who have contributed the least to the climate crisis to suffer its most severe consequences.
“The reluctance of wealthy nations to fulfill their financial responsibilities, in spite of historical obligations, has starkly revealed their true intentions and their indifference to the plight of the developing world.
“Rich countries, particularly the US, have not only coerced developing nations into accepting the World Bank as the host of the Loss and Damage Fund but have also evaded their duty to lead in providing financial assistance to those communities and countries most in need of support to recover from the intensifying impacts of climate change.
“The current set of recommendations to operationalize the Loss and Damage Fund falls short of providing vulnerable communities with adequate assurance that their financial needs for coping with climate impacts and rebuilding their lives will be met.”
The activists have been demanding that the Loss and Damage Fund be established as a new and independent entity under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Also civil society organizations, particularly those led by women, youth, indigenous peoples, and frontline communities must have a significant role in decision-making regarding the loss and damage fund.
The Loss and Damage Fund, which must incorporate human rights as a guiding principle, should be reliable, sufficient, accessible, and grant-based to avoid increasing countries’ debt.
At COP21 in 2015, the world agreed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels by 2050.
To remain on target, science tells us that emissions must be halved by 2030. Now the globe has another seven years to meet that goal.
COP28 UAE is a prime opportunity to rethink, reboot, and refocus the climate agenda.
A seasoned journalist with over two decades of experience, Vishal writes on a wide range of subjects which include biodiversity, climate change and links between environment & development. He also covers politics and other developments in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. He lives in Chandigarh & Shimla.