After in a long overdue decision, three decades in the making, all governments at COP27 agreed to set up a Loss and Damage Fund. This is a first step in a process to rectify the systemic injustice to billions of people, particularly in the Global South, who are the least responsible but are on the frontlines of the climate crisis. Those who are suffering devastating climate impacts; floods, droughts, hurricanes and sea level rise, will have some hope that their right to access support will be respected.
For two weeks, the G77 plus China, the largest developing country negotiation group representing over 134 countries and five billion of the world’s population, have stood united and resolutely behind the demand for the creation of a fund at COP27 for addressing Loss and Damage. This despite intense pressure from countries like the USA who attempted to block the creation of a fund from the onset, and some EU nations who attempted to derail the talks with watered down options that would divide developing countries.
The creation of the Loss and Damage Fund today is also a clear victory for civil society groups across the world, who made this issue a priority and used their power to put sustained pressure on rich nations to take responsibility for the crisis they have historically caused.
As climate impacts get more intense and frequent, there is an urgent need to scale up adaptation around the world, while strengthening and ensuring the delivery of needs-based finance in developing countries.
While COP27 delivered on addressing the consequences of the climate crisis – it failed to address the root cause of the crisis: Fossil Fuels. With no agreement to have a fair and equitable phase out of all fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas, it has laid bare the capture of this process by fossil fuel lobbyists and vested interests. The agreement to scale up investment in renewable energy for the first time in this process is welcomed but without a strong outcome on phasing out all fossil fuels, governments risk breaching 1.5°C.
Civil Society will continue its resistance against fossil fuel expansion outside these halls and will continue to fight against all injustices and human rights abuses and shrinking of civic space across the world.
Tasneem Essop, Executive Director, Climate Action Network International
“A historic outcome on the Loss and Damage Fund was delivered at the UN climate conference in Sharm El-Sheikh through the collective struggle of developing countries, civil society and movements. This decision, taken on African soil brings hope for vulnerable impacted peoples and communities not just in the continent, but for the entire Global South. While COP27 begins to address the consequences of the climate crisis, it failed to commit to phasing out fossil fuels, which are at the root of the climate crisis. More fossil fuel extraction means more losses and damages and more devastation. We need a rapid yet equitable transition away from the fossil era to renewables. The power of people was made clear at COP27, in our demand that there can be no climate justice without human rights and standing in solidarity with prisoners of conscience in Egypt, in our fight to get climate justice, and in our rejection of any attempt to silence us.”
Olha Boiko, CAN EECCA network coordinator
The creation of a loss and damage fund is especially important for the countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia. Many countries in these regions are already suffering from climate change, but do not have mechanisms to protect against loss and damage. We saw a clear signal from the delegations of Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to act to protect their countries from the consequences of the climate crisis. In October 2022, Kyrgyzstan became a member of the CVF (Climate Vulnerable Forum), which confirmed the country’s readiness to be part of global ambitious initiatives. We are pleased to see how the vulnerable countries of the EECCA region are finally finding their voice at the international level.
Vladimir Slivyak, NGO Ecodefense,
Of course, the decision on loss and damage is an important event, but the absence of a decision on the abandonment of fossil fuels is a big disappointment. Peace on the edge of the abyss and the rejection of oil and gas is not a matter of desire, but of necessity. The talks were also marked by an unprecedented amount of atomic energy propaganda. This is a dangerous sign. Nuclear power is useless for solving the climate problem, but it can divert the very money that is needed for loss and damage and for the global energy transition.
Lyudmila Petrova, director of public association “Angel”, Kazakhstan
Over the past decade, Kazakhstan has been increasingly suffering from such natural disasters as floods, forest and steppe fires, and mass loss of livestock due to lack of fodder in last drought. The use of poor quality coal exacerbates air pollution and affects global climate change. I hope that Kazakhstan will develop a high-quality strategy for carbon development, which Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov announced at a conference in Egypt, and will involve civil society as much as possible at all stages of development and implementation of monitoring, evaluation and adjustment of plans.
Vladislav Kaim, UN Secretary General’s Youth Climate Advisor, Moldova
COP27 outcome document tied itself a lot to the success of the Loss and Damage Financing Fund, so the former will live or perish by the latter. The first test of how seriously it will progress will be who will make it into the Transitional Committee and how multilateral development banks will respond to the call to be much more meaningfully involved. Elsewhere, there has been no meaningful progress on adaptation, new collective goal on finance, or Article 6, which is very worrying, though an even weaker language on fossil fuels tops the charts of my disappointment. My strong, but not big hope is that the Parties and the COP28 Presidency take the upcoming Global Stocktake seriously and turn this situation around the world.
Maria Kolesnikova, Head of the NGO “MoveGreen”, Kyrgyzstan
Undoubtedly, Kyrgyzstan is a country vulnerable to the consequences of climate change. Of course, we are pleased that, following the results of COP27, which took place in Sharm el-Sheikh, it was decided to create a fund to support damage and losses. As a country that is suffering from climate change, we can qualify for this funding, but there is a lot of work to be done. Because with the help of data and analysis, we must prove in which area we will work on adaptation, mitigation, in which areas of the economy we need funding, where and in what part we suffer the most. A lot of work needs to be done, I think this is impossible without the civil sector. Since the civil sector has been working on this part for more than twenty years, there are organizations that have been continuing their work since the 90s.
Natalia Idrisova — project coordinator of the environmental organization «Little Earth», Tajikistan, member of the board of CAN EECCA
The result of COP27 against the backdrop of a sharp aggravation of extreme weather events around the world, as well as the inability of many countries to achieve their ambitions due to the growing energy crisis, leaves, to put it mildly, a certain deposit of hypocrisy. The decision reached to create a loss and damage fund does not look like a real shift or a working model, especially since in most cases, funding to those countries that are intended to be reimbursed, as a rule, comes through dubious government funds and businesses that will not particularly refuse established “dirty” schemes, switch to renewable energy or delegate the distribution of funds to the civil sector. The big question is how civil society in general will get access to the funds and be able to change something at the micro level. We all are well aware that in underdeveloped countries, NGOs and activists do not solve the issues of construction, nuclear power plants, hydroelectric power plants, exports — imports of coal or gas, mining, so it is unlikely that in the near future we will really see real steps of a just transition.
Yevheniia Zasiadko, Head of Climate Department, Center for Environmental Initiatives «Ecoaction»
COP27 wasn’t the necessary breakthrough to meet the declared 1.5 C pathway. This year, the world saw another side of fossil fuels, not only as the cause of climate change, but also the war in Ukraine financed by fossil fuels. Until the world stops depending on fossil fuels, such wars and conflicts will continue to exist, and achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement will remain impossible. This year, a rising number of fossil fuel industry lobbyists were present, including from Russia, which negatively influenced the negotiations. COP is a platform for finding common solutions to stop climate change, which should not become a platform for promoting the interests of the fossil fuel industry.
Vasily Yablokov, Head of Climate and Energy directions of the Russian Greenpeace, member of the board of CAN EECCA
Despite the fact that a large number of countries have announced their intention to phase out all types of fossil fuels — coal, oil and gas, the Egyptian COP chairmanship ignored them. Therein lies the inconsistency of the decision — no amount of money can cover the damage and losses from the growing use of fossil fuels in the future. When your bathtub overflows, you first turn off the faucet and then you go out and buy a bigger mop.
Unfortunately, emissions continue to rise, threatening the goal of keeping global temperature rise within 1.5 degrees, and the wording «peak emissions by 2025» did not make it into the final decisions. At the same time, the goals for the transition to renewable energy sources have been blurred by “low-carbon solutions”, including in favor of Russia, which leaves room for false solutions, such as nuclear power and gas, to develop, hindering the rapid decarbonization of the energy sector, although a number of countries have made statements this year about the goal of switching to 100% renewable energy. This is the fastest, cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to reduce emissions worldwide, without exception, and the countries of the EECCA region have a huge potential in the development of renewable energy.
Nugzar Kokhreidze — co-founder, chairman, Scientific and Intellectual Club «Dialogue of Generations», board member of CAN EECCA
COP27 has clearly shown that there is more work to be done with governments to understand that we are in the midst of a climate crisis and solutions are needed now and today. The second showed the power of lobbying companies, which impressively slow down the process of negotiations and the adoption of effective agreements. Third, the need for more ambitious solutions by national governments to meet important climate commitments. Until the next COP28, there is a year of work that all NGOs and governments must do their homework in order to be more effective than this one.
Amalia Hambardzumyan, head of the environmental and cultural organization «Khazer», Armenia
It is one thing to establish a fund (losses and damages), another thing is to replenish this fund and at the expense of what and whom. It is important that the distribution of the burden is fair — in accordance with the polluter pays principle and in accordance with the quantitative measure of loss and damage suffered by the recipient country and its population. There is a lot of work here that should be done by non-governmental organizations, especially public ones. As for the «ambitions» to reduce the impact on the climate (as well as adaptation), one should not feed on illusions about effective intergovernmental measures and mechanisms, but think about alternatives that involve real beneficiaries — sub-state subjects of public law — residents on the ground.