UN climate summit adopts ‘loss and damage’ fund

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PM hails fund as first step to climate justice

Observer Report
Sharm El-Sheikh/ Islamabad:

The UN’s COP27 climate summit approved on Sunday the creation of a special fund to cover the losses suffered by vulnerable nations hit by the impact of global warming.

Delegates applauded after the “loss and damage” fund was approved by consensus following two weeks of contentious negotiations over demands by developing nations for rich polluters to compensate them for the destruction from weather extremes.

The “loss and damage” inflicted by climate-induced disasters was not even officially up for discussion when UN talks in Egypt began.

But a concerted effort among developing countries to make it the defining issue of the conference melted the resistance of wealthy polluters long fearful of open-ended liability and gathered unstoppable momentum as the talks progressed.

“At the beginning of these talks loss and damage was not even on the agenda and now we are making history, said Mohamed Adow, executive director of Power Shift Africa.

“It just shows that this UN process can achieve results and that the world can recognise the plight of the vulnerable must not be treated as a political football.”

Loss and damage covers a broad sweep of climate impacts, from bridges and homes washed away in flash flooding, to the threatened disappearance of cultures and whole islands to the creeping rise of sea levels. This year an onslaught of climate-induced disasters — from catastrophic floods in Pakistan to severe drought-threatening famine in Somalia — sharpened the focus on disaster-hit countries, which were already struggling with soaring inflation and mounting debts.Pakistan hails ‘pivotal step’ as countries adopt COP27 deal with ‘loss and damage’ fund.

Pakistan on Sunday welcomed the announcement that countries adopted a hard-fought final agreement at the COP27 climate summit that sets up a fund to help poor countries being battered by climate disasters.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif welcomed the development as the “first pivotal step towards the goal of climate justice”.

“It is up to the transitional committee to build on the historic development,” he said. The premier also thanked Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman and her team for their hard work.

He said the development was a “manifestation of excellent climate diplomacy that made this possible”.

Earlier this year, Pakistan was struck by devastating monsoon floods that left nearly a third of the country under water, affecting more than 30 million people.

Taking to Twitter, Rehman said that it had been a “long 30-year journey from demand to formation of the loss and damage fund for 134 countries”.

“We welcome today’s announcement and joint text hammered out through many nights. It’s an important first step in reaffirming the core principles of #climatejustice.”

She went on to say that now that the fund had been established, Pakistan looked forward “to it being operationalised, to actually become a robust body that is able to answer with agility to the needs of the vulnerable, the fragile and those on the frontline of climate disasters”.

“The announcement offers hope to vulnerable communities all over the world who are fighting for their survival from climate stress,” she said.

Rehman also specially thanked PM Shehbaz and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari for “checking in daily after they left Sharm El Sheikh to see where they needed to intervene to help the negotiations”.

“Such solid support kept many of us going just when we thought it’s touch and go,” she said.

FM Bilawal also hailed the “monumental achievement” for climate justice as he congratulated the Egyptian leadership on successfully holding the summit.

“Having experienced first-hand the scale and devastation of Pakistan’s floods, we travelled to the United Nations General Assembly to advocate for climate justice,” he said in a series of tweets.

“When I chaired Group of 77 at the UN, Pakistan’s proposal was unanimously adopted to demand loss and damage be part of COP27 agenda.

“In Egypt, we were happy to report that Pakistan’s proposal as G77 chair to include language on loss and damage on the agenda had achieved consensus. Upon conclusion of negotiations, we’ve sustained that consensus and also included necessary language on fund ND financial arrangement,” he said.

FM Bilawal went on to say that he spoke to US climate envoy John Kerry in Egypt and over the phone “once negotiations went into overtime”.

“Appreciated leadership on climate, requested support for G77+ demand on inclusion of financial arrangement to tackle loss and damage. Grateful we were able to reach a compromise,” he said.

The minister also thanked all the G77 members and China for their support, and recognised the efforts of the foreign affairs and climate change ministries.

He termed the development to be a win for climate justice and the developing world.

The Foreign Office (FO) hailed the development as a “momentous achievement” for G77 members and China in a press release issued today.

The FO said that Pakistan’s catastrophic climate-induced funds earlier this year had “refocused” global attention to the critical issue of climate change.

“Pakistan, as Chair of the Group of 77 and China, galvanised support for establishment of the fund in COP27 in Sharm el Sheikh, first by having it placed on the Agenda of the Conference, and then pushing for a consensus agreement.

“The dedicated ‘Fund for Loss and Damage’ will address losses and damages in developing countries, such as Pakistan, which are particularly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change,” the FO said.

 

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