Cop28 head says landmark loss and damage fund must make 'lasting impact'

Dr Sultan Al Jaber said deal to support vulnerable nations is off to a 'good start', but more must be done

From left, Daniele Violetti, senior director for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Cop28 President, and Abdulla Balalaa, the Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for energy and sustainability, at the loss and damage board meeting on Tuesday. Photo: Cop28
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Cop28 President Dr Sultan Al Jaber has called for a landmark loss and damage fund aimed at protecting nations most vulnerable to climate change to deliver a “lasting, positive, socio-economic impact for decades to come”.

Dr Al Jaber issued the rallying cry to the international community on Tuesday as he addressed the first meeting of a board established to oversee the fund, which was finalised on the first day of the crunch Cop28 talks in Dubai last year.

The deal was hailed as a pivotal moment in global efforts to protect the planet, with the UAE and Germany immediately announcing $100 million each to the fund while the UK pledged up to $75 million.

The US committed $17.5 million and Japan $10 million.

Let’s make this fund robust, Let’s make this fund efficient
Dr Sultan Al Jaber

A loss and damage scheme to compensate for the impact of climate change had long been sought by countries on the front lines of the crisis that have often done the least to cause the problem.

Dr Al Jaber, who is also the UAE's Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, emphasised the need to “build on the progress” made during the UN conference to protect those most at threat from extreme weather changes.

“Let’s make sure we build on that progress with a fully functioning fund. A fund that is endorsed at Cop29 in Baku, a fund that is disbursing funds soon after and a fund that delivers lasting, positive, socio-economic impact for decades to come,” he said during the board meeting, held in Abu Dhabi.

Cop28: Nations agree to operate loss and damage fund

Cop28: Nations agree to operate loss and damage fund

He said loss and damage was first put on the Cop agenda in 1991 and “while it took over three decades to establish this fund, climate change has not stood still”.

“Every region of the world is now vulnerable … the impacts of climate change are a clear and present danger to lives and livelihoods everywhere,” Dr Al Jaber said.

Abdulla Balalaa, the Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for energy and sustainability and the UAE representative on the board, highlighted the importance of building on the solid foundations laid down at Cop28.

“Parties made history on the first day of Cop28 by operationalising the funding arrangements and fund for loss and damage after 30 years,” he said.

“This outcome reflected global solidarity among all parties to support developing countries that are particularly vulnerable. The board plays an important role in delivering on this mandate in an ambitious manner. We must leave this first meeting with strong foundations and an outcome we can all be proud of.”

Fund aims to change lives

The fund has received $662 million in pledges so far but Dr Al Jaber insists much more needs to be done to help communities in need.

“That was a good start. It is not enough,” he said. “I call on all parties who can to come forward with concrete commitments. Let’s make this fund robust, Let’s make this fund efficient.”

The fund “should help real people in vulnerable communities to recover from climate impacts”, Dr Al Jaber said.

“It should build back those communities better, stronger and with more resilience. And it should improve lives and livelihoods for the long term.”

The loss and damage board includes representatives from developed countries and Asian-Pacific, African, Latin American and Caribbean states.

Updated: April 30, 2024, 7:34 AM