June 6, 2023, Tuesday
Nepal 1:37:26 pm

‘Loss and damage’ will be dominating agenda in COP27

The Nepal Weekly
October 18, 2022

By Purna N. Ranjitkar

From 6 to 18 November, Heads of State, ministers and negotiators, along with climate activists, mayors, civil society representatives and CEOs will meet in the Egyptian coastal city of SharmEl-Sheikh for the largest annual gathering on climate action.

The 27th Conference of the Parties or COP27 to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will build on the outcomes of COP26 to deliver action on an array of issues critical to tackling the climate emergency from urgently reducing greenhouse gas emissions, building resilience and adapting to the inevitable impacts of climate change, to delivering on the commitments to finance climate action in developing countries. 

Faced with a growing energy crisis, record greenhouse gas concentrations, and increasing extreme weather events, COP27 seeks renewed solidarity between countries, to deliver on the landmark Paris Agreement, for people and the planet. 

That means, world leaders attending next month’s UN climate summit are gearing up for a renewed battle over how much financial support rich countries provide to developing nations, to help them cope with the consequences of rising global temperatures.

The question of so-called “loss and damage” funding for developing nations has been contentious for years, with rich countries reluctant to accept financial responsibility for climate change caused by industrial activity and offer compensation to poorer countries.

But many developing countries, such as the low-lying Pacific island states vulnerable to sea level rise, are stepping up their demands. They want to see the creation of an international loss and damage finance facility as an ‘exclusive fund’ at November’s COP27.

To this context, António Guterres, UN secretary-general recently said “Wealthier countries bear a moral responsibility” to help poorer nations recover, adapt and build resilience to disasters. “Let’s not forget that 80 per cent of emissions driving this type of climate destruction are from the G20,” he added.

The Egyptian presidency wants to place the focus on the implementation of the wide range of promises made since the 2015 Paris accord, which broadly divide into efforts to reduce emissions, adapt to climate change, and provide money to help the most vulnerable countries do both.

“The number one priority is implementation,” says Wael Aboulmagd, Egypt’s COP27 ambassador. “Everyone has to be part of the conversation.”

However, only a handful of countries had updated their emissions reductions plans by the end of September, despite pledging in the COP26 agreement to “revisit and strengthen” them by the end of 2022.

Current pledges by nations that have signed the agreement are likely to limit warming to below 2.3C, which is above the Paris Agreement’s red-line target of 2C, according to Climate Action Tracker. Ideally, global warming would be limited to 1.5C, though temperatures have already risen by at least 1.1C since pre-industrial times.

It is to recall that rich nations had promised to mobilise $100bn a year in support of poorer countries by 2020. But research shows they fell short, at $83.3bn. Most recent estimates by US climate envoy John Kerry suggest the figure may have since reached $90bn. But, in addition to subscribing to the full amount, signatories need to agree on a new target for climate-related financial aid to be delivered from 2025.

Yet scientists and international bodies such as the IMF have outlined the grave cost to all countries of backsliding on decarbonisation and climate change commitments, and said rich nations must provide support for the most vulnerable. Climate justice is expected to be an especially prominent topic at an African-hosted COP, as a result.

Egypt pushes ‘loss and damage’ at a top of agenda

Egypt, which is hosting the upcoming COP27 climate summit, is working on how to include compensation for economic losses caused by climate catastrophes on the formal agenda of the November summit, as pressure grows from vulnerable countries to prioritise the issue.

WaelA boulmagd, Egypt’s special representative for the COP27, told reporters that the host country is “putting a lot of effort” into ensuring that the question of how to compensate countries that have experienced heavy economic loss due to climate catastrophes is prioritised at the forum.

“We need to find a practical solution that accommodates the various concerns and it’s up to us as the incoming presidency to sort of navigate and finesse this process,” Aboulmagd told reporters on Wednesday (28 September). “We are inching closer.”

Nepal prepares for a strong voice on ‘loss and damage’

Following to COP26 held in Glasgow last year, Nepal has been preparing to attend COP27 with strong presentations, lobby and advocacies.

Nepal being one of the countries highly vulnerable to the impact of climate change due to its sensitive geography prepares to raise issues concerning the impact of climate change on the mountain region with top priority.  

Climate change adaptation, damages and losses, and climate finance are among issues Nepal will put loud voice with priority in COP27 and side lines.  

Nepal also has been collaborating with the group of developing countries, mountain countries and the small island countries suffering a like Nepal to put strong voice in the COP27. This is also remember that official representatives and campaigners are putting efforts for years to bring the polluting countries to support technically and financially to the suffering countries and to help reduce further damages.

Recent experiences and study shows that Nepal has witnessed an extensive loss and damage due to floods, landslides and drought as results of greenhouse gas effect. Thus, the impact of climate change on the entire mountainous economy and the ecosystem, and in the low-lying areas will be relatively the issues of priority of Nepal in the COP27.