Egyptian minister urges nations to honour Cop27 loss and damage pledge

How to finance and manage a fund for climate disasters will be on agenda at Cop28 in Dubai

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World leaders must honour their pledge to help vulnerable countries pay for climate damage, Sameh Shoukry, Egyptian Foreign Minister and president of Cop27, has said.

Mr Shoukry said negotiations on the landmark Loss and Damage Fund, agreed in Sharm El Sheikh last year, were hard-fought.

Decision-makers had a collective responsibility to follow through when the matter returns to the negotiating table at Cop28 in Dubai in November, he said.

The fund would involve several wealthy nations sending billions in aid to poorer countries who disproportionately suffer the impact of climate change.

Developing countries who have contributed the least cannot control the burden without providing them the tools to do so
Sameh Shoukry, Egypt's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cop27 president

How the fund is managed and financed is yet to be hammered out and will be back on the agenda at Dubai Expo City in November.

“We are proud to have been able to deliver on a long waited — a 40 years in the making — loss and damage fund,” said Mr Shoukry at a panel discussion for Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.

“And we look forward to the finalisation of the structure, the governance and the architecture of the fund.

“Hopefully, that it will be endorsed, but more importantly, that it will be financed at Cop28.”

Many low-income countries that contribute the least to climate change have faced its devastating effects.

Pakistan, for example, emits less than 1 per cent of global emissions, but is one of the worst hit countries by climate change, according to the UN.

Last year, the country suffered damage valued at $30 billion from severe flooding that was closely linked to climate change. The African continent also contributes the least to climate change yet is the most vulnerable.

Meanwhile, the G20 group of the most developed nations represent around 75 per cent of global greenhouse emissions.

“Ambition and mitigation has to be coupled with delivery and in terms of finance,” said Mr Shoukry.

“Developing countries who have contributed the least cannot control the burden without providing them the tools to do so in terms of finance or obligations, whether at the governmental, private sector or financial institutions.”

US climate envoy John Kerry told The National in an interview on Sunday that the US would not accept an “imposed standard of liability” to help vulnerable countries overcome the effects of climate change.

The former secretary of state said the US could be relied upon for climate-related disaster relief — but “that's different from paying for a loss that hasn't been purely defined”.

“The United States will not accept … some imposed standard of liability,” said Mr Kerry, who was in Abu Dhabi for events under Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.

Simon Stiell, executive secretary at United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, was also speaking at the panel on Monday.

He said that Cop28 offers an opportunity to “course correct”, so that countries can meet its climate goals.

A stocktake of the Paris Agreement, an assessment of the progress the world has made in limiting the warming of the planet to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, would be presented at the conference.

“We have two challenges in the lead-up to Cop28 — one is defining and making sure that we design this stocktake as impactfully as it needs to be and the Secretariat has an important role in doing it,” said Mr Stiell.

“But it has to be absorbed by parties and responded to by parties who are non (state) and state actors.

“The other element is once this is presented in a practical form, it is for us to shift our mindsets.

“This could be the last opportunity that we have to interfere with the process in order to get us on the path that we need to get to.”

Updated: January 17, 2023, 3:00 AM