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Disappointment over ‘Loss and Damage’ Fund’s Transitional Committee Meeting

Hasan Mahamud || risingbd.com

Published: 18:23, 7 November 2023   Update: 16:50, 8 November 2023
Disappointment over ‘Loss and Damage’ Fund’s Transitional Committee Meeting

The 27th Climate Conference concluded with the formation of the ‘Loss and Damage’ Fund in a bid to provide financial assistance to poor countries for the climate change compensation.

No much progress was made in this regard in last one year. Even, the meeting of the Transitional Committee on the ‘Loss and Damage’ Fund for the upcoming COP-28 ended with an effort of compromise and frustration.

The Loss and Damage Fund aims to provide financial assistance to poor countries to deal with the negative consequences due to risks of climate change. For example, sea level rise, extreme heat waves, desertification, forest fires, crops unproductiveness, etc.

Various reviews exchange and preparatory meetings will be held throughout the month of November centering the upcoming COP-28 conference. The fifth meeting of the Transitional Committee was held in Abu Dhabi on Sunday (November 5). But, an altercation took place there regarding the need for the fund and the responsibilities of the developed countries. At the discussion, the civil society expressed their frustration.

Liane Schalatek, Associate Director, Heinrich Böll Foundation, Washington; said there was a promise in the 'Loss and Damage' Fund to provide compensation to the affected communities and people of developing countries, but it was not kept. Basically, it lacks a strong commitment to human rights and does not ensure that affected communities will get benefit directly and they can express their opinion in decision making”.

He added, “In the agreement, the developed countries denied their historic responsibilities, and but there is a voluntary obligation to work for the implementation of the provisions of Climate Fund.  Instead of placing new thinking and new structures, a separate institutional fund can be formed under the auspices of the World Bank”.

According to Liane Schalatek, the ‘Loss and Damage’ agreement did not ensure climate justice rather than it was a sign of nude power politics by developed countries. Now, it is the time to start the real work, so that the fund does not become an empty shell and is not filled with high ambitions”.

Harjeet Singh, Head of Global Political Strategy, Climate Action Network International, said it was a sad day for climate justice, as rich countries undermined the vulnerable communities. Despite historical obligations, the main aim of rich countries was to avoid their financial responsibilities and to express their apathy to the sufferings of developing world”.

He added, “Support was needed from the rich countries, particularly from the United States. They did not force the World Bank to take the responsibility of the ‘Loss and Damage’ Fund. They also avoided their role in providing financial assistance to affected countries”.

Rachel Cleetus, Policy Director, Climate and Energy Program, Union of Concerned Scientists, said, “ Rich countries, including the United States, avoided their primary responsibility to contribute to the fund, which was created for low- and middle-income countries facing the devastating affects of climate change. This is a matter of serious concern”.

It can be here mentioned that world leaders agreed to establish a ‘Loss and Damage’ Fund at the COP-27 climate conference held in Egypt. It was good news for the countries like Bangladesh that face from various natural disasters such as storm, tidal surges, floods or river erosion.

Recently, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also called for the full implementation of the 'Loss and Damage' Fund. The Prime Minister made the call when Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of the United Nations for Project Services (UNOPS) Jorge Moreira da Silva paid a courtesy call on her at Ganobhaban on last October 29. The Prime Minister also expressed her displeasure at rich countries for not keeping their promises.

Every country in the world is being affected more or less by climate change. Bangladesh is in an extremely vulnerable position among South Asian countries. According to the Fourth National Climate Assessment Report of the United States in 2021, the United States spends hundreds of billions of dollars, but health and lifestyle of the country’s people will be threatened due to climate change.

According to the report, if carbon emissions continue, annual losses in some financial sectors of the United States will reach hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of this century. The losses are more than the GDP of many states. Although the types of losses differ, large economies are also at very risks.