This year's U.N. climate summit, known as COP27, took place in November 2022 in Sharm El-Sheikh and resulted in a historic agreement on Loss and Damage Finance!
In a nail-biting finish to the COP27 Summit, blocking countries, particularly the US, finally succumbed to massive pressure from developing countries and international civil society, and agreed to the setting up of a fund to assist countries at the sharp end of super storms, droughts and floods, resulting from human-induced climate change.
This significant breakthrough is all the more remarkable when we consider that Loss and Damage wasn’t even on the Summit’s agenda when delegates arrived in Sharm El-Sheikh. After winning the first battle to make the issue part of the formal talks, two weeks of intense negotiations followed where rich countries fought tooth and nail for options to agree further dialogue but give no financial support.
To the backdrop of constant chants by campaigners to “Pay Up, Pay Up, Pay Up for Loss & Damage”, developing countries, most especially the G77 and China Group and the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) remained resolute and united in their demand that this COP had to agree the Loss and Damage Finance Fund or it would be judged a historic failure, forever blamed on the US, UK and EU for preventing climate justice from being done.
It is no underestimation to say that civil society played an enormous role in supporting those country groups with morale boosting pressure and invaluable inputs to negotiators. Each and every person who played a part, who has taken a L&D action in the past, should be justly proud and deserve credit for this outstanding achievement. An achievement that gives us hope that progress, against the odds, is possible in other tough struggles we may be part of.
Now, the task in hand is to get the Loss and Damage Fund up and running in the next 12 months. The terms of the COP27 agreement are for the setting up of an Expert Group tasked to iron out all operational details in the coming year. This includes how the Fund is to be financed. It is time to make the polluters pay for the Loss and Damage that they have caused. We need to redouble our efforts to make sure this happens!