Climate loss-&-damage fund clash

A major clash between developing nations and the West evident in lead up to COP28 at end of November.

Last year’s UN Climate Change summit (COP27) in Egypt marked a victory for developing nations when they secured agreement to establish a new fund to support the victims of climate disasters – an idea many developing countries had been advancing for decades.

A transitional committee (composed of members from developed and developing countries) was tasked with discussing everything from who would pay into this fund to where it would be located, ahead of a final decision due to be taken at the next Climate Change summit COP28, to be held in Dubai this month.

According to a report by Carbon Brief, the meetings ran over time this year as members clashed over long-standing grievances. A key dispute was that the US and the EU wanted to see the fund hosted by the US-based World Bank, a proposal that G77 and China members strongly opposed. Developing countries wanted to ensure the fund was accessible for as much of the global south as possible. 

The opponents of the US/EU proposal, led by G77+China, argued that World Bank finance is based not on grants but on loans, which are not desirable for debt-burdened countries in the global south. They also said the bank is not set up to allow fast, direct access of the kind required when dealing with climate disasters.

In addition, the G77+China said it would not be accountable to all parties, due to the dominance of the US – its largest shareholder – and other major donors in decision-making.

The wealthy developed countries wanted to see funds coming from sources besides ‘their’ public coffers, including those of the wealthiest developing nations, such as China and Saudi Arabia.

However In the end, the final committee meeting held last weekend in Abu Dhabi settled on a US and EU promoted draft proposal that would see the new fund housed at the World Bank for at least four years. 

Neither developed countries nor anyone else would be obliged to pay into the fund.

This proposal will now form the basis of a final decision by leaders at COP28.

While the committee’s recommendations were adopted by consensus, a last-minute objection from the US provides an early indication that those talks at the UN’s upcoming climate summit may not progress smoothly.

Read more on the key issues involved in the full Carbon Brief article or via the following hyperlinks:

Source: Carbon Brief, 7 November 2023.