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Loss and damage fund called for by Caribbean beginning to work

An African country has become the first to receive funds for loss and damage (L&D), after L&D was adopted at the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) for countries suffering physical damage as a result of climate change, the Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator (CCSA) explained in a statement released yesterday.

Malawi received US$8.45 million, contributed to the L&D fund by Scotland after Tropical Cyclone Freddy wreaked havoc on the country.

According to the statement, countries agreed to operationalize L&D at COP27 and the transitional committee for that formalization “will comprise 24 representatives from developed and developing economies, whose role it is to outline and set up the official framework for L&D”.

The statement explained that the three people representing the Caribbean on that committee will be Diann Black-Layne from Antigua and Barbuda, Avinash Persaud from Barbados, and Milagros de Camps from the Dominican Republic.

“Several other countries (outside of Scotland) including Denmark and Austria have also provided funds to L&D, the technical body that oversees it (the Santiago Network), or similar initiatives,” the statement said.

“Countries agreed to operationalize L&D at COP27 in Egypt last year, and details of the funding framework are to be shared at COP28 this year in Dubai.

“The first stage of discussions are happening in Egypt at the UN Transitional Committee meeting (March 27-29).

“Loss & damage funding seeks to provide financial assistance to vulnerable countries that are suffering the physical damage and human cost of climate change.

“At its core, the agreement on L&D sees countries experiencing climate-related pressures receiving further support to become more resilient and adapt to climate impacts, without adding too much strain to their economy or infrastructure.

“The funding for L&D would come from developed countries, and the process is managed by the United Nations.”

Last year, ahead of COP27, climate financing and the establishment of a loss and damage finance facility was among the priorities for Caribbean leaders. The priority areas were outlined in a summary document, which was obtained by The Nassau Guardian, for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government Meeting which was held in The Bahamas in August.

Prime Minister Philip Davis’ chair notes accompanied that document. The notes were addressed to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Simon Stiell and dated September 8, 2022.

The conclusion of the summary stated, “Responding to climate change demands action now. Transformational change is needed, and participants affirmed that a collective, needs-oriented strategic approach is required across all fronts — mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage, and support, in order to urgently achieve effective, meaningful, and lasting results. As ministers from the region communicated at COP26, we cannot continue to talk, we must act.”

They also called for a “smooth adoption” of the COP27 agenda, and the G77’s proposed sub-item on “matters related to funding arrangements for addressing loss and damage” under “matters related to finance” to be adopted at the start of the COP, along with all other agenda items, before any work begins.

“Participants further identified the following regional priorities to initiate this transformation and begin generating results, including for the parties of the Caribbean to push, as its top priority, agreements on the establishment of a loss and damage finance facility/loss and damage response fund at COP27, and a commitment to further operationalize a facility/fund in 2023; requesting support from the Green Climate Fund to support the Caribbean region in the development of a blue economy strategy; requesting multilateral development banks and other key regional financing entities, including the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Development Bank of Latin America (CAF), and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI), to develop, identify, and advance specific and distinct climate finance access windows, to increase the implementation of all forms of renewable energy in countries in the Caribbean,” the document noted.

CCSA CEO and UNFCCC Global Ambassador Racquel Moses said in the statement that: “Loss and damage is a major piece of policy that will help vulnerable communities adapt and overcome the impacts of climate change. Such an important tool must be developed collaboratively and efficiently, to ensure that it meets the needs of those on the front lines.”

The CCSA statement explained that the upcoming transitional meetings will lay out the framework that will then be presented at COP28, to ensure “that the support being provided in Malawi can be extended elsewhere, backed with adequate funding and clear procedures”.