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Activists want first Loss and Damage Fund meeting to target delivering operational fund by COP28

As the first meeting of the Transitional Committee of the Loss and Damage Fund commenced on Monday, March 27, 2023, in the Egyptian desert city of Luxor, the campaigners have reiterated the importance of the meeting to lay a strong foundation to ensure the operationalisation of the fund by COP28.

Loss & Damage Fund
COP27 president, Sameh Shoukry, speeking at the opening of the Loss and Damage Fund Transitional Committee meeting in Egypt

A Transitional Committee of 24 members is convening from March 27 to 29 to make progress on the vital issue.

A historic decision at COP27 to create the fund acknowledged for the first time that: “existing funding arrangements fall short of responding to current and future impacts of climate change and are not sufficient to address the existing funding gaps related to providing action and support in responding to loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change.”

This meeting brings together delegates from across the world to set up the building blocks for the fund.

Tasneem Essop, Executive Director, Climate Action Network International, said: “Following the historic agreement at COP27 to create a Loss and Damage fund, it is now time for the transitional committee meeting in Egypt to get the ball rolling and make this a truly progressive, transparent and accountable fund to urgently respond to the needs of those on the frontline of the climate crisis. This means ensuring the first meeting by the committee is constructive and efficient with a view to progress towards the operationalisation of the fund by COP28.”

Harjeet Singh, Head of Global Political Strategy, Climate Action Network, International: “Governments this week in Egypt for the first Transitional Committee meeting on the Loss and Damage Fund must build on the success from COP27 where countries came together to agree on the need for and importance of this fund. Working on the technical building blocks of the fund requires setting up robust governing arrangements right from the onset so the fund is fit for purpose and can swiftly disburse much-needed finance to vulnerable communities on the frontline of the climate crisis.”

“All eyes are on the transitional committee as it convenes in Luxor,” says COP27 president Sameh Shoukry.

“There are great expectations with regards to progress towards the operationalisation of the relevant fund and all the other elements that constitute the mandate of this committee.”

Only a select number of people are present at the transitional committee. It brings together 24 members from Parties to the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, carefully grouped together based on wealth and geography.

In total, 10 members from developed countries, and 14 from developing countries have a seat at the table. With so few spots up for grabs, regions have had to compromise on who will represent them.

The Asia-Pacific group – which has three seats – only reached an agreement two weeks ago, after reports of some sharp elbows between countries.

“Everybody wants to be part of the discussion,” said Mohamed Nasr, Egypt’s lead negotiator and committee member for one of Africa’s three slots, dedicated to the COP27 presidency.

The committee is tasked with proposing how the fund should be set up and managed, presenting its findings to all countries at COP28 in December for a unified decision.

“This is a huge responsibility and one that cannot be taken lightly,” Brandon Wu, head of policy and campaigns at ActionAid USA said ahead of the meeting.

“Defining how the new loss and damage fund will work in practice, including ways it will be governed, is of utmost importance. For far too long developed countries have failed to take responsibility for the overwhelming role they have played in causing the climate crisis.”

The transitional committee will be looking at identifying and expanding sources of funding, and considering how a new fund or finance facility will work alongside existing arrangements.

As the UN Environment Programme states, it is important that the new fund tackles the gaps that current climate finance institutions such as the Green Climate Fund and Adaptation Fund do not fill.

Campaigners argue that the loss and damage fund must be accountable to the most vulnerable, drawing on the experience of community-based organisations, and using financial instruments that are non-debt-inducing and grant-based.

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