Fears are growing that disagreements between rich and poor nations over how to manage a new fund to tackle the “loss and damage” caused by wilder weather and rising seas could throw the COP28 UN climate summit in Dubai into disarray.
A “transitional committee” working out the details of the fund - which countries agreed to set up at last year’s COP27 climate conference - failed in Egypt late last week to issue a set of recommendations on how to get it up and running, after clashing over whether it should be hosted by the World Bank.
Developed countries, led by the United States, are pushing for the fund to be based at the bank, while developing nations argue this would tip the balance of power towards wealthy governments and make it hard for them to tap into the funding.
The G77 and China group of developing countries would prefer an independent loss and damage fund that can set its own rules, or one housed at a UN agency.
G77 chair Pedro Luis Pedroso Cuesta of Cuba told journalists last week that the fund’s administrative arrangements should not prevent all climate-vulnerable developing nations from accessing it directly nor stop it from accepting broad sources of finance.
“It has been demonstrated that the World Bank is not the institution that can best… comply with what we are looking for for this fund,” he said, adding that until recently the bank had lacked a “climate culture”.
The 24-member transitional committee is now set to meet again in Abu Dhabi in early November, in a last-ditch attempt to find compromise and craft a joint proposal for countries to finalise and adopt at COP28, starting on Nov. 30.
The recommendations will also include guidance on which countries can tap into the fund - and how - as well as the different sources of finance it could draw from.
“The eyes of the world are on you to deliver clear, clean and strong recommendations ahead of COP28 to operationalise the Loss & Damage Fund (and) funding arrangements,” Sultan al-Jaber, COP28 president for the United Arab Emirates, said in a statement to the committee after the latest meeting.
He stressed that billions of people vulnerable to climate change impacts depend on the successful delivery of the recommendations. He also called for early pledges to the fund.
The eyes of the world are on you to deliver clear, clean and strong recommendations ahead of COP28 to operationalise the loss and damage fund (and) funding arrangements.
Sultan al-Jaber, president, COP28
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