Cop28: Hopes for early deal on loss and damage plan

Agreement would be a significant breakthrough for the summit

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There are hopes on Thursday for an early deal on loss and damage at Cop28, sources said.

It is thought the Cop28 presidency will seek to reach an agreement during Thursday’s opening plenary session of the summit.

The plenary was pushed back from 10am on Thursday to the afternoon as talks continue to formalise the agenda, but nothing is guaranteed during the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process.

If a deal on loss and damage happens it would represent an early win for the Cop28 presidency.

Loss and damage refers broadly to financial assistance to the most vulnerable countries suffering from the worst affects of climate change.

A fund to compensate poorer nations is poised to spark debates at Cop28

A fund to compensate poorer nations is poised to spark debates at Cop28

The fund was established at Cop27 in Sharm El Sheikh and talks continued throughout the year to finalise where the funds would come from, who pays into it and where the fund should be based.

A framework deal was finally agreed in Abu Dhabi this month and this will go to the parties at Cop28.

A 'crucial step' forward

The framework deal stipulated that the World Bank would host the fund but it was also agreed there was no strict obligation on countries to contribute funds.

The key element is money – billions of dollars are said to be needed – so expect considerable wrangling about this during the summit even if a deal is reached.

Harjeet Singh, head of global political strategy at Climate Action Network International, said central to the Cop28 agenda must be the “operationalisation of the loss and damage fund".

Mr Singh said it would be a “crucial step” in “acknowledging and addressing” the disproportionate effect of climate change on vulnerable communities and countries.

Reacting to a draft decision text that was expected to be put to parties on the opening day, Mr Singh wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that it "mirrors the transitional committee's final recommendations" but fell short of "fully addressing developing nations' concerns, including the proposal to designate the World Bank as an interim host".

"While the decision’s adoption at Cop28 is likely, it is crucial to simultaneously enhance its financial scope – necessitating hundreds of billions of dollars annually – and establish a process for initial capitalisation and periodic replenishment. This step is essential to efficiently channel funds to those battling climate catastrophes," he said.

Aside from the focus on getting the loss and damage fund into operation, topics likely to come up for discussion include: scaling up climate finance; the future of fossil fuels; bolstering food systems to cope with a warming world; ending deforestation; and examining the effects of the climate crisis on our health.

Updated: November 30, 2023, 11:46 AM