“Now the real work begins to fund a reality,” commented Shamil Haque, the Center’s director.
Representatives of countries participating in the COP27 United Nations climate summit, which began today in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, agreed after overnight talks to put on the agenda of the conference for the first time the thorny issue of whether the rich countries should compensate the poor who are most vulnerable to climate change.
Diplomats agreed to include this thorny issue in the agenda of the conference and specifically agreed to discuss issues related to the “financing arrangement regarding losses and damages (i.e. compensations), which result from the negative effects of climate change.” ..”.
“This creates for the first time an institutionally stable space on the official COP and Paris Agreement agenda to discuss the urgent issue of settling the funding needed to address the existing loss and damage gaps,” he said at the COP27 President Sameh Shoukry opened the plenary session of the conference.
For more than a decade, rich countries have rejected formal talks on losses and damages, that is, the resources they should allocate to help poor countries deal with the effects of global warming.
At COP26 last year in Glasgow, rich countries blocked a proposal for an agency to fund loss and damage, arguing instead for a new three-year dialogue on funding.
However, as Soukri clarified, the discussions on losses and damages now on the agenda will not include culpability or mandatory compensation, but aim to lead to a final decision “by 2024 at the latest”.
“Inclusion in the agenda reflects a sense of solidarity for the victims of climate disasters,” Shukri added.
The issue risks being more tense this year than at previous conferences as the war in Ukraine, rising energy prices and the risk of a recession have increased the reluctance of governments to commit to reparations to poor countries that have economic needs of poor countries.
Last night’s negotiations before adopting the burning issue “were too demanding,” said Harjit Singh, head of global political strategy at the NGO Climate Action Network International. “Rich countries initially did not want the issue of loss and damage to be on the agenda.”
Some have criticized the disparaging language used about responsibilities, but agreeing to formally put the issue on the agenda means richer countries will be forced to get involved.
“They are right to expect greater solidarity from the rich countries and Germany is ready for this, both in terms of financing to deal with climate change and in terms of damages and losses,” German Foreign Minister Analena Burbock said in a statement.
Germany wants to establish a “protective shield against climate risks” during the conference, an initiative on which it is working with vulnerable countries such as Bangladesh and Ghana.
The Bangladesh-based environmental research organization, the International Center for Climate Change and Development, described as “pleasant” the news that it had been agreed to put the issue of damage and loss on the agenda.
“Now the real work begins to fund a reality,” commented Samil Haque, the Center’s director.
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