DUBAI (United Arab Emirates), Dec 1: The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 28) in Dubai marked the commencement of a pivotal moment with the approval of the Climate Damage Fund.
COP28 President, Dr Sultan Al Jaber, announced the establishment of the guaranteed fund on the first day, marking a significant success for the ongoing conference in Dubai.
President Dr Jaber additionally pledged US$100 million from the United Arab Emirates for the fund. This fulfills the long-standing demand of nations facing climate risks for the past three decades, addressing the call that developed countries have been working to meet.
Dr. Deepak Kharal, Secretary at the Ministry of Forests and Environment, hailed the establishment of the fund as a historic success. However, the exact amount of funding circulating through this initiative remains unclear, despite previous unfulfilled climate finance commitments. The conference, as outlined in Nepal's position paper, stressed the need for a resolution on this matter.
"The long-standing demand has been fulfilled, but its operational process needs simplification," emphasized Forest Secretary Dr. Kharal.
In the previous year, the conference in Egypt established a damage fund, forming a committee to study and recommend implementation procedures. The committee's fifth meeting in Abu Dhabi last October submitted a consensus proposal outlining operational procedures for the fund's mobilization.
While the decision to operate the fund during the ongoing conference is deemed a crucial step towards addressing climate damage, critics argue that more needs to be done compared to the annual damages caused by climate disasters.
According to the Loss and Damage Collaborators, an international body related to the Damage Fund, the world requires US$ 400 billion annually to address climate damage. Following the fund's operation announcement, several countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Germany, and the US, pledged US$ 427 million.
Abhishek Shrestha, climate expert and director of the Sustainable Development Institute, stressed that the announcement of a few million dollars should not overshadow the requirement of $1.5 million. The focus now should be on maximizing contributions to the fund, he said.
Various international organizations advocating for climate justice acknowledge the significance of the decision regarding the agency managing the finance of damages but emphasize that this is just the first step.
"Today's agreement is an important step. This fund can be a means of solving the problem. But this is not enough as climate disasters continue to grow," said Teresa Anderson, Head of International Climate Justice at ActionAid International.
Formally established by the COP 28 conference, the Climate Damage Fund aims to address economic and non-economic losses caused by climate change, particularly extreme weather events and late-onset disasters in developing countries such as Nepal.