As the first day of Dubai’s Cop28 climate summit came to a close, delegates from nearly 200 countries agreed on details for running a new Loss and Damage fund designed to help vulnerable countries deal with more extreme weather stoked by global warming.
The UAE pledged $100 million, alongside an identical offering from Germany, with $74 million from the UK. The US also said it would provide $24.5 million to the fund and $10 million has been promised from Japan.
The agreement was met with a standing ovation from delegates.
‘The fact that we have been able to achieve such a significant milestone on the first day of this Cop is unprecedented. This is historic,’ COP28 President Dr Sultan Al Jaber told reporters but added that the real work begins now.
Developed countries have called on other high emitting nations – chiefly China and Saudi Arabia – to also contribute to the loss and damage fund.
Germany’s development minister, Svenja Schulze, said: ‘Germany and the United Arab Emirates are jointly leading the way. At the same time, we are jointly calling on all countries that are willing and able to make contributions of their own to the new fund responding to loss and damage.
‘In this way, we are building bridges between traditional donor countries and new, non-traditional donors. After all, many countries that were still developing countries 30 years ago can now afford shouldering their share of responsibility for global climate-related loss and damage.’
The move was greeted as a success for the event’s first day by both the UN and Greenpeace.
On X (formerly Twitter), UN Secretary-General António Guterres also welcomed the agreement to operationalise the loss and damage fund calling it an essential tool to deliver climate justice. He urged leaders to support the fund and get COP28 off to a strong start.
Simon Stiell, executive secretary to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, said: ‘Today’s news on loss and damage gives this UN climate conference a running start on governments, and their negotiators must use this as a mentor to deliver truly ambitious outcomes here in Dubai. We must keep our eyes on the prize and every minute counts.’
Ghiwa Nakat, the executive director of Greenpeace Mena (Middle East and North Africa), said: ‘This is the kind of leadership we expect from the host country and we urge other countries to follow suit.
‘Rich developed countries must step up with major contributions to the new fund, and polluting industries must also be made to pay. If the Cop presidency can build on this with a consensus agreement on a just phasing out of fossil fuels, Cop28 will indeed be an historic event.’
The breakthrough on loss and damage marked a strong start to the COP28 climate summit, which is twice the size of last year’s and set to be the largest ever.
The two-day World Climate Action Summit kicks off today with over 100 world leaders and representatives from nearly every country present.
UAE President Sheikh Mohamed will welcome leaders, and Britain’s King Charles will address the importance of collectively addressing the climate threat. Leaders including King Abdullah II of Jordan, Abdel Fattah El Sisi, President of Egypt, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad of Qatar, and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil, are scheduled to speak.