THE Philippines lauded world leaders for agreeing to operationalize a Loss and Damage Fund that will compensate and support vulnerable countries affected by climate change.
The landmark deal was forged on the first day of the 28th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28), setting a positive start to the global climate talks, the DENR said in a statement.
Loss and Damage Fund is one of 7 major streams being worked out by the country’s 151-member delegation led by Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga.
The Philippines one with developing nations is pushing for the creation of a loss and damage fund to respond to the adverse impacts of climate change.
While carbon emission of developing countries is minuscule versus global levels, it is disproportionately affected by extreme weather events.
“The Philippines calls for the immediate operationalization of this Fund to assist developing and vulnerable countries to respond to droughts, floods, and rising sea levels exacerbated by climate change,” President Marcos said in his message delivered by Special Assistant to President Antonio Lagdameo Jr.
“We urge our partners from the private sector, civil society, partner countries and governments, and development funding institutions to support the Philippines in this bid,” Marcos added.
“You have been there for meaningful collaboration with our government to tackle the climate crisis.”
DENR Secretary Loyzaga expressed elation over the development.
“Operationalizing the loss and damage fund is important for us, and this was a hard-fought outcome that would enable us to catalyze assistance for the irreversible impacts of climate change such as extreme weather conditions and slow-onset events which are beyond our ability to finance,” said Yulo-Loyzaga, who also stood as the official representative of the President to the Climate Change Commission while concurrently serving as the head of the Philippine Delegation to COP28.
In an earlier interview, Loyzaga noted that while the Fund is a milestone for global climate action, it is important to ensure that the loss and damage fund is accessible, and can be tailored to specific needs of each country. “It is a very encouraging sign that developed countries are beginning to recognize common but differentiated responsibility and respective capacity. And we want to be at the forefront of that. The President has announced that the Philippines will pursue the hosting of the Loss and Damage Fund Board and we hope to be able to also have a seat on that Board.”
Following the adoption of the agreement to operationalize the fund, several countries pledged over USD270 million for its start-up phase. The fund is designed to receive contributions from a wide variety of sources, with the World Bank initially hosting it, subject to review after four years.
Earlier, COP28 President Sultan al-Jaber said the United Arab Emirates would commit USD100 million to the fund; Germany pledged USD100 million; the United Kingdom, USD50.5 million; Japan, USD10 million; the United States, USD17.5 million; and the European Union pledged USD225 million, which includes Germany’s contribution.
Loyzaga earlier said that what is also important is the loss and damage fund may be broadly based. “So not just the developed countries, there may be opportunities for the International Financial Organizations. There may be opportunities for private sector philanthropies to also contribute to this fund. All of this is part of what will be negotiated now in this COP.”
“We are open to broadening the sources and that’s where the use of private sector funding, the use of innovative financing from the different international financial organizations is the most important as well,” Loyzaga said.
Article 8.1 of the Paris Agreement states “Parties recognize the importance of averting, minimizing and addressing loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, including extreme weather events and slow onset events, and the role of sustainable development in reducing the risk of loss and damage.”
COP28 will run from November 30 to December 12, 2023, at the Dubai Expo City.
Image credits: AP/Peter Dejong