Global Responses to COP28’s Approval of Loss and Damage Fund: Demands for Heightened Pledges and Definitive Guidance

During the inaugural day of the global two-week climate conference in Dubai, COP28 officially adopted the Loss and Damage Fund, a significant milestone for the COP28 presidency. Vulnerable nations impacted by climate change effects have long called for such a fund whose contributions and pledges from rich countries have been contentious.

After five meetings, the Transitional Committee on Loss and Damage reached a consensus on fund recommendations, revealing discrepancies between developing and developed countries, particularly regarding the World Bank’s role and operational mechanisms.

The Loss and Damage Fund will have the World Bank as its interim host for up to four years, contingent on transparent and accessible operations. An issue that has further stirred mixed reactions from the global civil societies and the African climate leaders.

Former Malawi President, H.E. Joyce Banda, hailed the fund’s establishment as a win for vulnerable countries, even though emphasized the need for clear directions on benefiting vulnerable communities without causing additional debt.

World Bank President Ajay Banga called for inclusive governance during the European member states’ meeting, advocating robust representation from G77 countries on the fund’s board.

Founder of Power Shift Africa, Mohamed Adow, criticized the initial funding pledges as inadequate, calling for around $580 billion by 2030 to address issues effectively.

The Transitional Committee urged the fund to align with UNFCCC and Paris Agreement principles, ensuring autonomy and impartiality with an independent secretariat and accountable board.

Reflecting on the global Paris Agreement pledges, Mike Terungwa, Director of GIFSEP, emphasized the need for specific time frames to prevent pledges from becoming mere political statements.

Current pledges include:

UAE: $100 million

UK: Up to £60 million (£40 million for the fund and £20 million for funding arrangements)

US: $17.5 million for the fund, $4.5 million for the Pacific resilience facility, and $2.5 million for the Santiago Network

Japan: $10 million

Germany: $100 million

EU: $225 million

The fund’s replenishment cycle and scale remain unclear, despite increasing needs. The 2023 UNEP Adaptation report estimates up to $387 billion is needed annually for developing countries to adapt to climate-driven changes.

Global Civil Society Organizations and African climate leaders call for increased pledges, concrete timelines, and a substantial scale of finance. Professor Fadhel Kaboub criticized the US’s $17.5 million pledge, contrasting it with historical examples like the Marshall Plan, highlighting the need for a more serious commitment from the Global North.

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