Zim to push for loss and  damage fund at COP28 Delegates and participants making registrations and final preparations ahead of COP28 starting Thursday in Dubai, UAE

Kudzanai Sharara in Dubai, UAE

Zimbabwe expects discussions around the establishment of a loss and damage fund to dominate deliberations at the Conference of the Parties (COP28), which starts in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on Thursday and runs until December 12, 2023.

In its Roadmap at COP28, the Ministry of Environment, Climate and Wildlife said “the loss and damage agenda item under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP28 remains crucial for the Africa Group of Negotiators and Zimbabwe”.

“At COP28 it (loss and damage) remains an essential and strategic agenda item for the Zimbabwe Group of Negotiators,” reads the Road Map for Zimbabwe in part.

The loss and damage agenda item continues to recognise the ongoing and increasing impacts of climate change, particularly on vulnerable countries and communities.

“It highlights the need for immediate actions to address the unavoidable and negative impact of climate change.”

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Climate and Wildlife Professor Prosper Matondi said there is need for a precise implementation roadmap for the fund “and that roadmap must have the essence of urgency in terms of implementation based on the agreement that was made at COP27 in Egypt.”

“We haven’t seen much happening around this issue so this Conference of Parties gives us the opportunity with other parties to then say how do we rescue this loss and damage fund as agreed,” said Prof Matondi who is already in Dubai for COP28.

He said Zimbabwe’s interests are very obvious given the loss and damage the country has experienced over the years due to climate change-related issues.

Established at COP27 in Egypt last year, the loss and damage fund is meant to compensate poorer nations for the loss and damage they suffer as a result of climate change.

Due to climate change, countries, developing nations in particular, are increasingly suffering from floods, heatwaves, wildfires, droughts, and many others that result in loss and damage.

Zimbabwe has had its unfortunate share of these in the form of Cyclone Idai, Cyclone Freddy, Cyclone Ana and Cyclone Batsirai. 

This year the country will bear the brunt of an El Niño induced drought.

Developed countries, largely regarded as responsible for the decades of industrial activity that has emitted the lion’s share of greenhouse gases over time, are expected to pay for the loss and damage.

Mid November, after a tense two-day meeting under UN guidance in Abu Dhabi, Governments from both developed and developing countries agreed on a blueprint for a loss and damage fund which will be administered at first by the World Bank for an initial four years and run by an independent board.

However, while the blueprint is expected to be formally adopted at Cop28, the responsibility of filling up the coffers is likely to be a sticky point.

While there has been no consensus over the size of the fund, developed nations, particularly the US., have remained non-committal about being primary donors to the fund.

However, the European Union, in a joint statement by the bloc’s Climate Commissioner Wopke Hoekstra and Dr Sultan Al Jaber, President-designate of COP28 and UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, said it is “ready to announce substantial financial contribution by the EU and its member states to the loss [and] damage fund at Cop28”.

Overall, developed nations are slow both in making financial promises and in fulfilling them.

In 2009, during a United Nations climate summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, developed countries made a commitment that, by the year 2020 and lasting through 2025, they would provide US$100 billion annually to developing nations to help them withstand the effects of climate change and mitigate emissions.

Preliminary new data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) indicates that industrialized nations likely met the US$100 billion threshold in 2022 only. The persistent failure to meet this funding commitment albeit at a time global needs have also grown since 2009, has fed a major trust gap between developed and developing countries ahead of COP28 where another fund, the loss and damage fund is up for adoption.

Loss and Damage not only include economic losses but also human casualties, and the degradation of ecosystems and cultural heritage. Hence, the fund will comprehensively cover all the losses due to climate change.

Certified Expert in ESG (environment, social and governance) and Impact Investing, Cynthia Tapera said that given the fiscal constraints experienced by some African governments, COP28 must address the several contestations of the Loss and Damage Fund, one of which is who will be responsible for contributions to the Fund.

She said that African countries and governments attending COP28 should reaffirm their commitments to limit global average temperature increases to 1.5°C and to accelerate action toward this goal .

“Attempts to increase investments at the required pace may be constrained by fiscal challenges related to debt repayments and rising fuel costs. The continent may be rich in transition minerals needed for the energy transition, but many governments are also burdened with cripplingly high debts.

“At the moment, we have got developing countries paying way more in debt repayments back to richer countries than they ever hope to receive in climate finance or support,” said Ms Tapera by text. Other dominant themes as highlighted by the Road Map for Zimbabwe at COP28 include the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA) and Mitigation in relation to energy transition, carbon credit policy, among others.

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