COP25 in Madrid in 2019 was when I first found myself in a Loss and Damage negotiation room. As a young man with a lot of energy, if I’m being honest, it was boring to sit in these meeting rooms all day with 100s of other (respectfully, mostly older) people who were taking turns debating over draft texts and sort of arguing over simple phrases like “could/should/would”, “agreed to/obligated to”… Somehow, I stayed through (for most of the part)! Glad I did.
To summarise, COP26 in Glasgow was the same – rinse and repeat with a lot of late-evening meetings. Plus, we needed to read/comment on documents overnight, to be debated again the next morning.
COP27 (which I couldn’t attend physically but engaged with the documents) was different. It was more or less the content of the same text from COP25 – keeping in mind the many reviews during SB meetings in between COPs. The difference was the finalisation of the Loss and Damage fund mechanism (not many people know that it was agreed upon by the parties 39 hours after the scheduled close in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt).
Yesterday, around 02.00am, the Loss and Damage negotiation G77 group coordinator shared with us the advanced version of the text detailing the operationalisation of the Loss and Damage funding arrangements. As I read through, it reminded me of the journey so far and the incredible efforts of heroes like Saleemul Huq who has been actively engaging since COP1 in Berlin!
COP28 has opened with the adoption of the Loss and Damage fund (and the first set of funding secured) but getting this to work – to become truly operational, is where the work begins.
By ‘Seyifunmi Adebote