UNITED NATIONS: The UN Climate Summit opened in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, with an agreement to discuss “loss and damage”, meaning compensating developing nations for mounting damage linked to climate change, placing the controversial topic on its agenda for the first time.
The agenda item “Matters relating to funding arrangements for loss and damage”, was proposed by Pakistan, on behalf of the Group of 77 (developing countries) and China, during inter-sessional work at Bonn, Germany, in June this year.
After prolonged negotiations spread over several months, an agreement was reached at a hectic session of the conference Saturday night. Subsequently, the agenda item was adopted with consensus on Sunday at the conference’s plenary, according to a report received at UN Headquarters in New York.
The accord will allow some 200 nations participating in the conference to officially debate the matter during the two-week conference.
In his remarks at the opening session, Pakistani Ambassador Munir Akram, as Chair of G77 and China, highlighted that the G77 and China were united in their demand for the establishment of a dedicated finance facility to provide new and additional financial support to developing countries for addressing ‘loss and damage’ associated with the adverse impacts of climate change.
The agenda item on ‘loss and damage’ was the only one out of eight additional items proposed by various groups, which was adopted by consensus. All the rest were dropped due to lack of consensus.
Ambassador Akram, as the Chairman of G77 and China, played a crucial role in achieving the consensus on the agenda item on ‘loss and damage’ compensation.
The adoption of agenda item is the first step towards the establishment of an independent finance facility to address loss and damage in developing countries caused by the impacts of climate change, diplomats said.
The adoption of agenda is also the recognition of the fact that countries, like Pakistan, which confront climate-induced disasters, should not be left to fend for themselves, dependent on the resilience of their suffering people, or the generosity or charity of friends.
Climate-struck countries should be able to access resources to recover from and mitigate the impacts of climate-induced disasters through a ‘loss and damage’ financing facility, it was pointed out.
The agreement on the agenda item on ‘loss and damage’ finance is seen as the singular achievement of this Conference.