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Nations must urgently come to an agreement on how to operate a fund that would compensate developing nations for damage caused by climate change, Dr Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Cop28 President-designate, said on Friday.
“We need to stay very focused on ensuring that we operationalise this fund as soon as possible,” Dr Al Jaber said in his opening remarks during consultations on funding arrangements held at the UN.
“And this year at Cop28, we have both the obligation and the opportunity to put in place a robust framework that can positively impact the lives of millions of people.”
The event took place in New York on the sidelines of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly. The meeting was co-led by the UAE and Egypt.
The loss and damages fund was agreed on last year in Egypt, during Cop27.
Nations agreed in principle that wealthy countries – often the worst emitters – are disproportionately contributing to climate change, leading to devastating droughts, floods and rising sea levels in developing countries.
But leaders could not agree on which states would pay and how the money would be disbursed. The details were left to be worked in Cop28.
“Cop27 laid the very important and needed groundwork and Cop28 must deliver the action,” Dr Al Jaber said.
But organisers are hoping to reach an agreement before the summit, so as to prevent the issue from overshadowing Cop28, sources at the French Ministry of Energy Transition told The National.
“We think that it is up to the nations that are historically responsible for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions,” the representative from Tunisia said during the discussion.
“They bear the main responsibility for addressing loss and damage – Tunisia supports an equitable and just approach to loss and damage,” he said.
Developing countries have proposed that the fund would have $100 billion by 2030.
“We see the need for recommendations to explicitly target countries and its communities that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, such as least developed countries and small island, developing states,” said Maros Sefcovic, executive vice president of the EU Green Deal.
Echoing the sentiment, French Minister of Energy Transition Agnes Pannier-Runacher said: “We need to focus our efforts on those that are most in need.
“This is a question of justice, it is a question of effectiveness – resources need to be channelled towards the most vulnerable countries.”
A transitional committee set up during Cop27 has already met three times to discuss the details of the fund. It is scheduled to convene again next month in Aswan, Egypt.