Development news

End of COP27 – fund for “Loss and Damage”

November 22, 2022
The main gate of the Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Change Conference (COP 27) The main gate of the Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Change Conference (COP 27). Photo: Matthew TenBruggencate / Unsplash

On Sunday morning, developing countries had a reason to celebrate: at COP27, countries agreed on a global fund for “loss and damage” that will provide financial assistance to developing countries affected by climate disasters. This fund is considered a historic agreement and is being celebrated as a possible turning point that recognizes the enormous injustices of the climate crisis. However, the deal of COP27 is far from perfect, as this the Guardian article shows.

The historic ‘loss and damage’ fund

Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general, said that this was “an important step towards justice” for poor countries that have done little to cause the climate crisis, but are suffering its worst impacts. “I welcome the decision to establish a loss and damage fund and to operationalize it in the coming period,” Guterres said. “Clearly this will not be enough, but it is a much-needed political signal to rebuild broken trust. The voices of those on the frontlines of the climate crisis must be heard.”

Antonio Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations

Sir Molwyn Joseph, minister of health, wellbeing and the environment of Antigua and Barbuda, and chair of the Alliance of Small Island States, said:

“Today, the international community has restored global faith in this critical process that is dedicated to ensuring no one is left behind. The agreements made at Cop27 are a win for our entire world. We have shown those who have felt neglected that we hear you, we see you, and we are giving you the respect and care you deserve. We must work even harder to hold firm to the 1.5C warming limit, to operationalize the loss and damage fund, and continue to create a world that is safe, fair, and equitable for all.”

Sir Molwyn Joseph, minister of health, wellbeing and the environment of Antigua and Barbuda

COP27 deal – far from perfect

However, the deal was far from perfect, with several key elements flawed or lacking. Some countries said the commitments on limiting temperatures to 1.5C represented no progress on the Cop26 conference in Glasgow last year, and the language on phasing out fossil fuels was weak, wrote the Guardian.

The two-week long conference in Sharm El-Sheikh ran more than 36 hours over its Friday night deadline, and was marked by stark division and harsh words between the rich and the poor. At many stages, a deal looked impossible to reach. In the final hours, countries wrangled over single words in an outcome that spanned issues from the 1.5C temperature goal, the phasing out of fossil fuels, the needs and rights of indigenous people, the protection of nature, and how to engineer a “just transition” to clean energy for those economically dependent on fossil fuels.

Many felt the deal fell well short on important issues. Frans Timmermans, vice-president of the European Commission, spoke of the tortuous negotiations, which included some countries trying to unpick the 1.5C goal, and to abolish the requirement established in Glasgow for countries to update their plans on emissions every year. “Too many parties are not ready to make more progress today in the fight against the climate crisis,” he warned. “There were too many attempts to roll back what we agreed in Glasgow. This deal is not enough [on cutting emissions].” Timmermans said the language on 1.5C was too weak. “We are disappointed we didn’t achieve [more],” he said. “We have all fallen short.”

This article was first published by Fiona HarveyNina LakhaniOliver Milman and Adam Morton in the Guardian on Sunday, the 20 November.

To learn more about the outcomes of the COP27 negotiations and hear the insights of experts, join the online dialogue on 24 November.