By Sharon Atieno

The 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP 27) held in Egypt concluded with Parties agreeing to establish a loss and damage fund for developing countries vulnerable to adverse impacts of climate change.

Besides, they also agreed to establish new funding arrangements which include focusing on addressing loss and damage by providing and assisting in mobilizing new and additional resources, and that these new arrangements complement and include sources, funds, processes and initiatives under and outside the UN Convention and the Paris Agreement.

“This outcome moves us forward,” said Simon Stiell, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary. “We have determined a way forward on a decades-long conversation on funding for loss and damage – deliberating over how we address the impacts on communities whose lives and livelihoods have been ruined by the very worst impacts of climate change.”

Governments also agreed to establish a ‘transitional committee’ to make recommendations on operationalizing the new funding arrangements and the fund at COP28 next year. The transitional committee’s first meeting is expected to occur before the end of March 2023.

Additionally, they agreed on the institutional arrangements to operationalize the Santiago Network for Loss and Damage, which aims to catalyze technical assistance to developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.

“I welcome the decision to establish a loss and damage fund and to operationalize it in the coming period. Clearly, this will not be enough, but it is a much-needed political signal to rebuild broken trust. The voices of those on the frontlines of the climate crisis must be heard,” Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General said in a video message.

“A fund for loss and damage is essential – but it’s not an answer if the climate crisis washes a small island state off the map – or turns an entire African country to desert. The world still needs a giant leap on climate ambition.”

Financial pledges were made for loss and damage from multiple countries including Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, and New Zealand, joining Denmark and Scotland, which had made pledges previously.

“We established the first-ever dedicated fund for loss and damage, a fund that has been so long in the making. It was only appropriate that this COP, the implementation COP in Africa, is where the fund is finally established. Millions around the globe can now sense a glimmer of hope that their suffering will finally be addressed, swiftly and appropriately,” Sameh Shoukry, COP 27 President said.

Significant progress was also made on adaptation with new pledges totaling more than USD 230 million made to the Adaptation Fund.

A mitigation work programme was also launched with the aim of urgently scaling up mitigation ambition and implementation. The programme will start immediately following COP27 and continue until 2030, with at least two global dialogues held each year.

Governments were also requested to revisit and strengthen the 2030 targets in their national climate plans by the end of 2023, as well as accelerate efforts to phasedown unabated coal power and phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.

The decision text recognizes that the unprecedented global energy crisis underlines the urgency to rapidly transform energy systems to be more secure, reliable, and resilient, by accelerating clean and just transitions to renewable energy during this critical decade of action.