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Countries deadlocked over ‘loss and damage’ fund as COP28 approaches – News

The committee tasked with designing the fund will meet in Abu Dhabi on November 3 before the UN summit begins in Dubai on November 30.

The Cop28 UAE logo is displayed on screen during the opening ceremony of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW). — Stock Photo

By Reuters

Published: Monday, October 23, 2023, 6:38 p.m.

Countries are deadlocked over how to design a fund to help nations recover and rebuild from the damage caused by climate change, with just over 30 days left before crucial United Nations climate negotiations begin in Dubai.

Two dozen countries involved in a committee tasked with designing a “loss and damage” fund concluded the latest meeting in the early hours of Saturday in Aswan, Egypt, with developing and developed countries at odds over central questions: Which entity should monitor the fund? , who should pay and which countries would be eligible to receive funding.

The committee was expected to draw up a list of recommendations to implement the fund, which was agreed in a breakthrough last year at COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, and would be the first UN fund dedicated to addressing the irreparable damage caused ​​by drought caused by the weather. floods and sea level rise.

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Instead, the group agreed to meet once again in Abu Dhabi on Nov. 3 before the COP28 UN summit begins in Dubai on Nov. 30 to try to overcome divisions, which could set the tone for climate negotiations. of two weeks.

“The entire COP28 negotiations could be derailed if developing countries’ priorities for loss and damage financing are not adequately addressed,” said Preety Bhandari, senior finance advisor at the World Resources Institute.

Among the most contentious issues last week was whether the World Bank should host the fund – a position pushed by the United States and developed countries – or whether the UN would create a new body to manage the fund, as developing countries have urged. .

Hosting a fund at the World Bank, whose presidents are appointed by the United States, would give donor countries enormous influence over the fund and result in high fees for recipient countries, developing countries argue.

“Its operational culture, the way the World Bank has been helping countries in their development policies, I think does not fit what we are looking for from this new climate facility,” said Cuba’s ambassador to the UN, Pedro Pedroso. Cuesta, president of the G77 (developing countries) and China.

He said the creation of a “new independent entity” to manage the fund is at the heart of his position.

Responding to this criticism, a World Bank spokesperson told Reuters: “We are supporting the process and are committed to working with countries once they agree on how to structure the loss and damage fund.”

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