COP27 closes with deal on loss and damage: ‘A step towards justice’, says UN chief



Sun, 20 Nov 2022 - 01:12 GMT


Sun, 20 Nov 2022 - 01:12 GMT

Secretary-General António Guterres - UN Photo/Mark Garten

Secretary-General António Guterres - UN Photo/Mark Garten

CAIRO - 20 November 2022: After days of intense negotiations that stretched into early Sunday morning in Sharm el Sheikh, countries at the latest UN Climate Change Conference, COP27, reached an agreement on an outcome that established a funding mechanism to compensate vulnerable nations for ‘loss and damage’ from climate-induced disasters.

“This COP has taken an important step towards justice. I welcome the decision to establish a loss and damage fund and to operationalize it in the coming period,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a video message issued from the conference venue in Egypt, underscoring that the voices of those on the frontlines of the climate crisis must be heard.

The UN chief was referring to what ended up becoming the thorniest issue at this COP, shorthand for the annual Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), UN News reported.

Developing countries made strong and repeated appeals for the establishment of a loss and damage fund, to compensate the countries that are the most vulnerable to climate disasters, yet who have contributed little to the climate crisis.

“Clearly this will not be enough, but it is a much-needed political signal to rebuild broken trust,” he underscored, stressing that the UN system will support the effort every step of the way.

Guterres reminded the world of what remain the priorities regarding climate action, including the ambition to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and keep alive the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 degree Celsius limit, and pull humanity “back from the climate cliff”.

“We need to drastically reduce emissions now,” he stressed, saying that the world still needs to make a giant leap on climate ambition, and to end its addiction to fossil fuels by investing “massively” in renewables.

The UN chief also emphasized the need to make good on the long-delayed promise of $100 billion a year in climate finance for developing countries, establishing clarity and a credible roadmap to double adaptation funds.

He also reiterated the importance of changing the business models of multilateral development banks and international financial institutions.

“They must accept more risk and systematically leverage private finance for developing countries at reasonable costs,” he said.

He renewed his call for just energy transition partnerships to accelerate the phasing out of coal and scaling up renewables and reiterated the call he made on his opening speech at COP27: a climate solidarity pact.

“A Pact in which all countries make an extra effort to reduce emissions this decade in line with the 1.5-degree goal. And a Pact to mobilize – together with international financial institutions and the private sector – financial and technical support for large emerging economies to accelerate their renewable energy transition,” he explained, underscoring that this is essential to keep the 1.5 degree limit within reach.

Guterres highlighted that COP27 concluded with “much homework” still to be done and little time in which to do it.

“We are already halfway between the [2015] Paris Climate Agreement and the 2030 deadline. We need all hands on deck to drive justice and ambition,” he stated.

The Secretary-General added that this includes ambition to end the “suicidal war” on nature that is fueling the climate crisis, driving species to extinction and destroying ecosystems.

“Next month’s UN Biodiversity Conference is the moment to adopt an ambitious global biodiversity framework for the next decade, drawing from the power of nature-based solutions and the critical role of indigenous communities,” he urged.

The battle ahead will be tough and “it will take each and every one of us fighting in the trenches each and every day…we can’t wait for a miracle,” Guterres warned.



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