Sharm El-Sheikh: Delegates at the COP27 climate summit in Egypt concurred after late-night talks to put the delicate issue of whether rich nations should compensate poor countries most vulnerable to climate change on the conventional agenda for the first time.
For over 10 years, rich nations have rejected official discussions on what is alluded to as loss and damage, or funds they provide to help poor countries cope with the consequences of global warming. COP27 President Sameh Shoukry told the plenary that opens this year’s two-week United Nations conference attended by more than 190 countries the decision made an institutionally stable space for discussion of the pressing issue of subsidizing arrangements.
At COP26 last year in Glasgow, wealthy countries blocked a proposal for a loss and damage financing body, rather than supporting a three-year dialogue for funding discussions. The loss and damage conversations now on the COP27 agenda will not guarantee compensation or necessarily acknowledge liability but are expected to lead to a conclusive decision no later than 2024, Shoukry said.
The issue could create even more stress than at previous conferences this year as the Ukraine war, a surge in energy prices, and the risk of economic recession have at once added to governments’ hesitance to promise funds and poor nations’ requirements for them.
Negotiations on Saturday night before the agenda’s adoption were extremely challenging, Harjeet Singh, head of global political strategy at the non-profit Climate Action Network International, said. “Rich countries in the first place never wanted loss and damage to be on the agenda.”
Some criticized the dismissive language on liability, however weaker than hoped, getting the issue formally on the agenda will oblige rich nations to engage on the topic. “They rightly expect more solidarity from the rich countries, and Germany is ready for this, both in climate financing and in dealing with damage and losses,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said in a statement.
Germany wants to send off a “protective shield against climate risks” at the conference, an initiative it has been working on with weak states such as Bangladesh and Ghana.
Bangladeshi-based environmental research body, the International Centre for Climate Change and Development said it was good news loss and damage were officially on the agenda.
“Now the real work begins to make finance a reality,” Salmeel Huq, director of the center, said.