Opinion Features COP28 Focus

COP28 gets off to a running start with $450 million pledged for Loss and Damage Fund

image is COP28 LDF MAIN

COP28 President Dr. Sultan Al Jaber on Thursday presided over the first major milestone of COP28, bringing to life a global fund that would help compensate vulnerable countries coping with loss and damage caused by climate change – a historic breakthrough on the first day of this year’s UN climate conference.

“The hard work of many people over many years, has been delivered in Dubai,” Dr. Al Jaber said, adding: “The speed at which the world came together, to get this fund operationalised within one year since Parties agreed to it in Sharm El Sheikh is unprecedented.”

“This Fund will support billions of people, lives and livelihoods that are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change,” Dr Sultan said. “I want to thank my team for all their hard work to make this possible on day one of COP28. It proves the world can unite, can act, and can deliver. Over the next two weeks this Presidency will work with Parties to now deliver the highest-ambition response to the Global Stocktake [GST].”

The fund was first agreed upon during COP27 in Egypt, and becomes operational on Wednesday following the agreement reached by parties during 5 transitional committee meetings. The fifth transitional meeting hosted in early November in Abu Dhabi was added by the COP28 Presidency following the impasse reached at the fourth meeting, where Parties reached a resolution.

“Today’s news on loss and damage gives this UN climate conference a running start. All governments and negotiators must use this momentum to deliver ambitious outcomes here in Dubai,” UN climate chief Simon Stiell told a press conference at COP28 shortly after the Fund was agreed upon.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres also welcomed the agreement, calling it an essential tool to deliver climate justice, and urged global leaders to support the fund. US climate negotiator John Kerry called the deal a “great way to start this COP.”

Following the announcement, COP28 host United Arab Emirates and Germany each committed $100 million to the start-up phase of the fund, while other initial contributions came from the United Kingdom ($75 million), the United States ($17.5 million) and Japan ($10 million). A European Union representative at COP28 said the 27-member bloc would provide $145 million on top of Germany’s contribution - taking the total pledges so far to nearly $450 million.

The historic activation of the so-called Loss and Damage Fund follows an extensive listening tour by the COP28 leadership and holding successive dialogues with national governments from around the world.

As per the agreement between the countries, the World Bank will be hosting the fund and its role will be regularly reviewed over the next five years. As part of the next steps, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will set up a new board to determine how the fund will be capitalised in a sustainable way.

This decisive action on Loss and Damage will enable the Parties to focus on the strongest possible response to the Global Stocktake, the world’s report card on progress toward Paris Agreement goals, the COP28 Presidency said.

The 28th annual Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC opened on Thursday at Expo City Dubai and is scheduled to run through to December 12, welcoming more than 70,000 delegates, climate negotiators and other participants.


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