By Oforiwa Darko
Civil Society Organizations, CSOs have welcomed the first major milestone passed by COP 28, as the Loss and Damage Fund was launched at the official opening of the Global Climate Conference in Dubai, UAE. However, they argue that rich countries that are major emitters of greenhouse gases should contribute more to the fund.
Their concern follows a pledge of 100 million US Dollars to the Loss and Damage Fund made by the host of COP 28, UAE, a 17.5 million dollars pledge by the US, followed by several affluent nations announcing their financial support.
The Head of Global Political Strategy at the Climate Action Network International, Harjeet Singh, said while these funds are valuable in initiating the fund’s activities, it is important to recognize that the costs of rebuilding from the devastating effects of climate disasters run into hundreds of billions of dollars annually.
“Rich countries, given their significantly higher historical responsibility, must do more on a scale to commensurate with their impact on planet-heating emissions”.
For other civil groups, pledges for the loss and damage fund should correspond with the scale of loss and damage which is already costing hundreds of billions of dollars in climate adaptation efforts. They say, although it is commendable on the first day of COP 28, a paltry amount from some of the largest greenhouse gas emitters is a bit of a shock.
Meanwhile, Ani Dasgupta, President and CEO of the World Resources Institute has reiterated that the loss and damage fund will be a lifeline to people in their darkest hour, enabling families to rebuild their homes after disaster strikes, support farmers when their crops are wiped out and relocate those that become permanently displaced by rising seas.
“The outcome of the loss and damage fund was hard-fought but is a clear step forward”.
The problem of inadequate funding for responding to climate disasters in developing nations has been long sought to address. Now, the loss and damage fund has been operationalized, yet some climate activists lament that many details of the loss and damage fund have not been made public enough.
According to a recent report by the United Nations, up to 387 billion dollars would be needed annually if developing countries are to adapt to climate-driven changes.
The Loss and Damage Fund will be hosted by the World Bank for the next four years and the plan is to launch it by 2024, while a developing country representative will get a seat on its board.