Groups demand governments put loss, damage on COP27 agenda
Over 400 organisations from all over the world have signed a letter, initiated by Climate Action Network (CAN), addressed to UN climate change Heads of Delegations, calling on them to ensure that Loss and Damage finance is on the formal agenda for COP27.
The UN climate summit, which starts in early November, is being presided over by Egypt and preparations are underway through various consultations.
Loss and Damage refer to those climate change impacts, which are felt when people cannot adapt to climate change any further, or the limits of adaptation have been reached. Developed countries, with a historic and moral responsibility to act, are failing to phase out fossil fuels fast enough resulting in escalating and more intensive climate disasters.
By 2050 the economic cost of Loss and Damage in developing countries is conservatively estimated to be between $1 trillion to $1.8 trillion, and this does not include non-economic losses such as loss of life, culture, and territory amongst others.
Speaking at a press briefing recently by CAN, civil society experts noted that the issue of Loss and Damage has consistently been blocked or reduced to mere dialogues or side events, with rich polluter countries like the EU, the USA, Norway and others consistently refusing to discuss details on finance.
Recently CAN International, together with other partners, published a discussion paper unpacking key elements of a Loss and Damage Finance Facility and how it can deliver support to people.
Recently, 33 million people were displaced by floods in Pakistan, drought and impending famine in some communities in the Horn of Africa threaten the food security of 50 million people and record-shattering heatwaves and droughts persist in parts of China and Europe.
While climate impacts are being experienced all over the world, it is clear that a finance facility dedicated to addressing Loss and Damage is essential for poor countries who have done the least to cause the climate crisis yet face intensifying and frequent climate catastrophes.
In the last round of consultations in July, the summary of the co-chairs noted that: “Overall, parties viewed that loss and damage would be one of the defining characteristics of success of COP 27. Many Parties made it clear that a successful outcome would mean a concrete outcome on the Glasgow Dialogue, which would mean the establishment of funding arrangements or a funding facility under the COP and the CMA to address loss and damage with transparent, predictable resources, which would be separate from adaptation finance, and an agreement for it to become a standing COP and CMA agenda item.”
In June at the Bonn climate conference the Glasgow Dialogue, an informal open “talkshop”, was set up to deal with issues related to Loss and Damage. The dialogue offered no mandate to take forward political decisions.
In COP26 last November, small island states and the largest bloc of developing countries, the G77, together representing over 5 billion of the world’s people, held their demand for a Finance Facility for addressing Loss and Damage till the last day of the meeting. This was ultimately blocked by rich countries particularly the USA and the European Union.
According to Tasneem Essop, Executive Director, CAN International, said: “We cannot arrive in Egypt for COP27 without the issue of financing for Loss and Damage being on the official COP agenda, which is necessary for the formal decision-making. The credibility and legitimacy of global leaders will be in question if yet again a COP fails to address this issue and does not provide the support needed for losses and damages caused by climate change in a concrete and meaningful way. Especially in this year of devastating impacts across the world.
“The people who suffer the most from these impacts are not responsible for the climate crisis, they are suffering from a crisis caused by the greed of rich polluting countries and corporations. We must be honest and question the validity of an international climate conference every year that refuses to address this climate injustice.”
Head of Global Political Strategy, CAN International, Harjeet Singh, said: “The devastating floods in Pakistan are a testimony to the deep inequality and injustice caused by the rich polluters who spewed emissions unabated and blocked financial assistance for people facing a climate emergency. Loss and damage finance is a make-or-break issue for the upcoming climate conference in Egypt. The credibility of climate talks hangs by a thread.
“The COP27 conference will be counted as a failure if developed nations continue to ignore the demand from developing countries to establish a Loss and Damage Finance Facility to help people recover from worsening floods, wildfires and rising seas.”
For Lavetanalagi Seru, Regional Policy Coordinator, Pacific Islands CAN: “Many small islands developing states continuously remain in a recovery phase, as new disasters strike while they are still recovering from previous ones. Recent scientific assessments suggest that Pacific Island Countries would face rising temperature, a further rise in sea level, and more intense tropical storms – impacts which notably would also weaken fiscal positions in most Pacific Island countries. The scale of financial assistance is grossly inadequate for Pacific Island countries to build climate-resilient infrastructures.
“This is why it is imperative that Heads of Delegations, especially from the global north, the rich, industrialised, developed and polluter countries, to agree and ensure that Loss and Damage become part of the main agenda for COP 27. We cannot allow the rich polluter countries to get their way, by ignoring, undermining, and blocking this issue, refusing to discuss Loss and Damage to finance, and we also cannot afford to be caught in an endless circle of dialogues. We need loss and damage finance now!”
International Climate Diplomacy Manager, CAN, Canada, Eddy Perez, said: “We need to fix the horrifying system that ignores the need to address the impacts of the climate crisis. Finance will make the whole difference at COP27 and finance for loss and damage will be the most important outcome. The gap is huge the needs are high and urgent.”
Dallas Conyers, Senior Programmes and JEDI Manager, Southeast Climate and Energy Network & USCAN international liaison: “We must understand that the US response or lack thereof to Loss and Damage finance is rooted in the fact that the US has been and will be a country based on systemic racism and classism in an unfair capitalist system. Loss and damage are happening in the US now – the working poor is suffering. America does not want you to look at it as the per capita cause of climate change and certainly Loss and Damage. Caring about people and the planet vs corporations? We know where America stands – but we as Americans, we stand with you.”