Climate Change

Less than 24 hours left: ‘Need extra efforts from all for agreement on loss & damage’

Countries shying away from difficult decisions, need to show political will, says COP27 President

By Jayanta Basu
Published: Friday 18 November 2022
The current status of funding arrangements for loss and damage was discussed at length by UN Secretary-General Guterres (L) and COP27 President Shoukry. Photo: @COP27P/Twitter

There are less than 24 hours left for the scheduled completion of 27th Conference of Parties (COP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Egypt, but no solution is in sight on the ‘solutions day’.

A draft negotiating text circulated at 3.30 am November 18 is still unclear about the demand put in by the developing countries and countered by developed countries. It only says, “placeholder funding arrangement responding to loss and damage,” effectively meaning the issue is still being negotiated.

All Parties have been asked to go “the extra mile… to reach the much-needed conclusions and agreements” and ensure that political will finds its way to the negotiating rooms, the COP Presidency said after a meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

“The mitigation work program is yet to reach the desired outcome. Procedural matters still hold back adaptation. Ambitious outcomes in finance have not yet materialised. Parties are shying away from taking the difficult political decisions on loss and damage”, COP President Sameh Shoukry said candidly, seeming out of his wits to find an acceptable outcome.

Read more: COP27: Act here and now on loss and damage facility, climate-vulnerable nations tell rich ones

Guterres had hopped back from the Group of Twenty meet in Bali to Sharm El-Sheikh. With hardly any time left for the last crucial stretch of COP27, he was trying to stitch together chalk-and-cheese agreements with countries.

The secretary-general, teams from the COP27 Presidency and UNFCCC, discussed the current state of negotiations at COP27 extensively, Shoukry said.

The COP27 President said:

While progress has been achieved on a large number of issues, it is clear that at this late stage of the COP27 process, there are still several issues where progress remains lacking, with persisting divergent views amongst parties.

The “unequivocal support” that the global leaders provided at the beginning of the COP does not seem to be reflected in negotiation, he added.

He also participated in several negotiations but found that “while some of the discussions were constructive and positive, others did not reflect the expected recognition of the need to move collectively to address the gravity and urgency of the climate crisis”.

Loss and damage funding evolved as the major stand-off point between developed and developing countries as COP27 entered its home stretch.

Read more: Equity, unabated coal phasedown in first draft of COP27 ‘Cover Decision’; other elements missing

“The current status of matters relating to funding arrangements responding to loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change” was discussed at length by Shoukry and Guterres, the COP27 Presidentfurther said.

“I believe that extra effort needs to be exerted by all Parties to ensure an agreement on this matter, one that would provide a basis that would allow us to effectively respond to the urgent and legitimate demand for an adequate funding setup for loss and damage at the earliest,” he added. 

“The world is waiting for us to demonstrate the seriousness by which we tackle this matter and as a community of nations, we must live up to their expectations,” said the official.

“It’s a strong statement, and important as it has come after meeting the UN secretary general, but we need to see how much it influences the negotiation in its final hours,” said a climate expert in Sharm El-Sheikh.

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