COP28: Al Jaber heralds loss and damage agreement

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, COP28 president-designate, has welcomed an agreement reached in Abu Dhabi over the weekend by a special UN committee on the controversial loss and damage fund.

The transitional committee agreed on several recommendations that will be considered by governments at COP28, which starts in Dubai in just a few weeks.

The loss and damage fund was established at COP27 last year, but governments have struggled to adapt it with the extra round of talks in Abu Dhabi scheduled for this weekend after an agreement eluded negotiators in Egypt last month.

“This clear and strong recommendation to operationalise the loss and damage fund and funding arrangements paves the way for agreement at Cop28,” said Dr Al Jaber.

“Billions of people, lives and livelihoods who are vulnerable to the effects of climate change depend upon the adoption of this recommended approach at Cop28.”

The fund aims to help countries – particularly those most vulnerable – deal with the irreversible damage from climate change.

The committee recommended the World Bank administer the fund for an initial period, but some developing countries had viewed this proposal as potentially representing the interests of western countries.

The committee also urged developed countries to provide support to the fund, Reuters reported. It is understood that whether wealthy nations would be under strict obligations to contribute has not yet been resolved.

Jennifer Morgan, Germany’s climate envoy, said it was “great news” that an agreement had been signed off.

Writing on X, formerly Twitter, Morgan said Germany “stands ready to fulfil its responsibility – we’re actively working towards contributing to the new fund and assessing options for more structural sources of financing and calls on all other countries able to contribute to do the same”. 

Eamon Ryan, Ireland’s climate minister, highlighted that “not everyone will be happy but we can now sign off on it” at COP28 and set it up quickly.

The Association of Small Island States, which represents 39 small island and low-lying coastal developing states, said “it has been a long road to ensure we keep the fund moving towards fruition – our work is far from done. AOSIS will not rest until this fund adequately supports the victims of the climate crisis”.

The crucial climate talks take place in Dubai from 30 November 30 – 12 December.