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Landmark decision at COP27 to set up Loss and Damage Fund   

Today 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.   


REACTION FROM CIVIL SOCIETY:

“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.”  – Tasneem Essop, Executive Director, Climate Action Network International   

“With the creation of a new Loss and Damage Fund, COP27 has sent a warning shot to polluters that they can no longer go scot-free with their climate destruction. From now on, they will have to pay up for the damages they cause and are accountable to the people who are facing supercharged storms, devastating floods and rising seas. Countries must now work together to ensure that the new fund can become fully operational and respond to the most vulnerable people and communities who are facing the brunt of climate crisis.” – Harjeet Singh, Head of Global Political Strategy, Climate Action Network International

“The agreement for a Loss and Damage Finance Facility marks a new dawn for climate justice. Governments have laid the cornerstone of a long overdue new fund to deliver vital support to vulnerable countries and communities that are already being devastated by the accelerating climate crisis. Today’s victory for people power on loss and damage must be translated into renewed action to expose climate action blockers, push for bolder policies to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, boost renewables, and support a just transition. Only then can a greater stride towards climate justice be taken at COP28.”
– Yeb Saño, Executive Director, Greenpeace Southeast Asia and Head of the Greenpeace COP27 delegation 

“It is unfortunate that COP failed to live up to the science of 1.5C by addressing the root cause of the climate crises – coal, oil and gas. But don’t be fooled: their actions won’t stall the inevitable progress unfolding on the ground away from fossil fuels and toward efficient, renewable energy. 

The fossil fuel industry and the elites in their pocket rallied to take over COP27. This is the last act of desperate men who first denied climate science, then delayed climate policy, and now want to usurp real climate solutions with false ones. The just energy transition is already happening around the world and fossil gas has no place in a just and equitable transtion. COP 28 has to advance this transition. ” – Catherine Abreu, Founder & Director, Destination Zero

“The loss and damage deal agreed is a positive step, but it risks becoming a ‘fund for the end of the world’ if countries don’t move faster to slash emissions and limit warming to below 1.5°C. We cannot afford to have another climate summit like this one. It is unacceptable that negotiators have failed to reach a more ambitious agreement than that agreed in Glasgow last year. Future COP presidencies can’t squander the opportunity. Despite this outcome, governments must redouble their efforts to reduce emissions and take the necessary transformative action to keep warming to below 1.5ºC. The COP28 climate summit next year must be the COP of climate credibility. And countries must deliver.” – Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, WWF Global Climate and Energy Lead, and COP20 President

“We came into this conference in 2022, a year of severe climate impacts, which is among the eight hottest years ever recorded, with devastating fires, floods and droughts, affecting billions of people worldwide. There is no time left for incremental change, every fraction of a degree matters. We needed radical implementation of measures to keep to 1.5ºC and avoid the worst ravages of climate chaos, we needed a swift, just and equitable phaseout of fossil fuels. We didn’t get that at COP this year. But the UN climate talks are not the end of the road, it is not the game, but the scoreboard. While our leaders are failing us, we have an ever-growing climate movement that is fierce and unstoppable. And we will not give up until no one is left behind to bear the brunt of the impacts that others have caused. We are not defeated, and we will never be defeated.” – May Boeve, Executive Director 350.org

“Advancing the recognition of the need to address loss and damage is a positive step forward especially for vulnerable peoples, but such a gain is undermined by a COP that ultimately fails to signal the phaseout of all fossil fuels. More coal, gas, and oil means abandoning the 1.5°C ambition. Going beyond 1.5°C means even more unspeakable loss and damage.” – Gerry Arances, Executive Director, Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED Philippines)

“As far as many vulnerable countries were concerned this was the ‘loss and damage COP.’  It was the red line for their communities and it’s good to see those voices finally heard. It’s disappointing that despite all the warm words from world leaders at the start of this summit about the seriousness of the climate emergency, countries couldn’t even commit to a phase down of all fossil fuels. Coal, oil and gas is the elephant in the room, in some cases literally, considering the large number of fossil fuel lobbyists at COP27. Everyone knows we need to phase out the cause of the climate crisis and until countries actually start doing it, the world will remain on a perilous path.” – Joab Okanda, Pan-African Policy Advisor, Christian Aid

“After so many years of calling for the UN to agree to establish a fund to help countries being pushed deeper into poverty, this is a real pinch-me moment. We can give credit to the collective pressure from civil society, combined with unprecedented unity among developing countries, for forcing rich countries to finally say ‘Yes — we are in this together.’ This loss and damage fund is long overdue, and it’s truly shocking that it has taken rich countries so long to finally agree to help those harmed by climate impacts. For people on the front lines of the climate crisis, this offers hope that there will be a fund to help them recover and rebuild in the aftermath of disasters. There are still battles ahead to address key unanswered questions, but for now this is a crucial starting point. 

“But the polluters have been let off the hook with COP27’s weak language on fossil fuels. Climate-vulnerable communities who have been given hope through the establishing of a loss and damage fund are still being harmed by the actions of big polluters, and the underlying cause of the climate crisis has not been addressed.” – Teresa Anderson, Global Lead on Climate Justice, ActionAid International 

“Representatives of U.S. faith communities are heartened to see broad recognition at  COP27 for existing disaster and migration spending, much of which our constituencies have faithfully contributed for decades. As the UNFCCC moves to structure financial support for loss and damage, faith communities around the globe look forward to playing a continuing role in a mosaic system.” – Bee Moorhead, Texas Interfaith Power & Light

“At COP27, the number of countries calling for an equitable phase out of all fossil fuels in order to tackle the climate crisis has never been higher. In a significant reversal of position, Canada too came out in support of similar language at the last minute. Even though the final text didn’t include the words, the signs coming from this COP are clear: the age of oil and gas is ending. The record breaking numbers of fossil fuel lobbyists at COP27 is the desperate last gasp of a sunsetting industry trying to influence the climate talks and prolong their profits. At COP27, in Canada and around the world, the role of climate movements — led by Indigenous and frontline communities — fighting for the equitable transition to a 100% renewable future has never been so important.” – Julia Levin, National Climate Program Manager, Environmental Defence Canada 

“In the Pacific, the climate crisis has threatened the security, livelihoods and wellbeing of people and communities, undermining the full realization of basic human rights, and rolling back decades of development gains. The world’s eyes are upon Sharm El Sheik, with hopes that this COP will deliver on equity, human rights, and justice, and that the developed countries will show true solidarity with the developing countries and those most vulnerable to the climate crisis, by delivering an ambitious outcome, that includes the establishment of a Loss and Damage Finance Facility.”– Lavetanalagi Seru, Regional Policy Coordinator, Pacific Islands Climate Action Network

“Even as we welcome the announcement of the Loss and Damage funding facility, it is indeed unfortunate that the COP27 failed to deliver on any of the three key outcomes that could have accelerated climate action to avert the worst impacts of the climate crisis. In a year when Pakistan floods reminded the world of the need for urgency, COP 27 had nothing new to offer on ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. At a time when island nations like Sri Lanka are teetering under economic and climate crises, it has failed to find ways to expedite the delivery of promised billion dollars per annum, forget any new or additional financial assistance. At a time when Bangladesh, Maldives and Nepal are battered by multiple climate disasters, rich countries, especially USA, did not heed India’s call and failed to agree to phase out all fossil fuels, coal, oil and gas for a sustainable and equitable clean energy transition.”– Sanjay Vashist, Director, Climate Action Network South Asia. 

“This COP has been stuck in slow motion on addressing fossil fuels when in the real world the climate crisis has shifted to hyperspeed. There were more lobbyists from coal, oil, and gas companies than there were delegates from the Pacific Islands, which explains why the urgent call from Tuvalu and Vanuatu for a phase out of all fossil fuels was ignored and loopholes in the favour of industry were adopted. These UN conferences can only ignore reality for so long. Already Indigenous nations, countries like Colombia, cities, the private sector and millions of people are planning for the shift of coal, oil, and gas to a clean energy future. In the coming year the call for a new international treaty focussed on the fast and fair shift off fossil fuels will only intensify.” – Alex Rafalowicz, Executive Director, Fossil Fuel Non Proliferation Treaty

“Today in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, world leaders finally heeded the call of climate-vulnerable countries and agreed to establish a fund for climate loss and damage. This is a big win for climate justice that gives hope to the many millions in the Global South on the front lines of a rapidly worsening climate crisis not of their making. There’s hard work ahead to get this fund operational and ensure it serves the needs of communities hit hardest by climate extremes and slow-onset disasters. But today, fittingly, at this ‘Africa COP,’ the most important and long-awaited first step on that path has been secured. 

“Though it makes some important advances, the final COP27 decision falls well short of what the science shows is needed. The global emissions trajectory is dangerously off course from where it must be to keep the global average temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and countries’ current emission reduction commitments are nowhere near sufficient. The final COP27 decision also doesn’t reflect the urgent need to sharply phase down all fossil fuels and accelerate an equitable transition to clean energy. Additionally, richer nations continue to fail to meet their climate finance obligations, vital to helping low- and middle-income countries cut their emissions and adapt to climate change. Rhetoric about the importance of the 1.5 degree Celsius goal is hollow without a simultaneous commitment from rich nations to rapidly phase down fossil fuels and provide climate finance for low- and middle-income countries to transition to renewable energy in an equitable way.” – Dr. Rachel Cleetus, policy director and lead economist for the Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists

“In a critical year, this COP made no progress towards the just and equitable phase-out of fossil fuels needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Despite important progress on the establishment of a loss and damage fund, the final outcome reiterated unambitious language on fossil fuels from last year that will lead to catastrophic consequences. Even with this disappointing outcome, we’re seeing growing momentum from individual governments making meaningful commitments to phase out fossil fuels through initiatives like the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance and the Statement on International Public Support for the Clean Energy Transition.

“Most importantly, COP27 has showcased the growing power of the climate justice movement. Throughout these two weeks, civil society voices have demanded a phaseout of fossil fuels and called for rich countries to pay up for climate debt. Every day, we are seeing the power of communities resisting harmful oil, gas, and coal projects. We are seeing massive growth in the breadth and depth of the movement. With this people power, we will force an equitable end to fossil fuels and a just transition to clean energy.” – Elizabeth Bast, Executive Director of Oil Change International

“This COP has been a misspent fortnight after a year of stalling and backtracking on climate commitments. At a summit held on African soil — home to some of the most climate-vulnerable communities in the world — stories of suffering have been many, but real signs of progress have been few. We’ve seen small steps when what we need are giant strides.

“The main glimmer of hope can be found in the new fund for loss and damage — even if there are no significant new pledges of money. But on the vital issue of climate finance, the final text does little more than recognise the ongoing failure to deliver the long-overdue $100 billion. Apologies will not protect people from flooding and drought. And the omission of a call to phase out all fossil fuels is a colossal failure and evidence of the fossil fuel industry’s grubby fingers at these talks. We need so much more if we’re to see justice for people living in poverty across the world, who are the ones counting the cost of inaction as a result of a crisis they didn’t cause. It’s deadly to stand still in the face of a rising tide.” – Fredrick Njehu, Senior Africa Policy Advisor at Tearfund

“The powerful advocacy of climate-vulnerable countries and the global climate justice movement forced a ground shift at this COP on paying up for loss and damage. The failure to commit to a full fossil fuel phaseout will mean even more loss and damage, in a vicious cycle of escalating harm and inadequate reparation. Any further expansion of fossil fuels betrays world leaders’ promises to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and puts our planet in further peril. For the onrush of global climate disasters to be met with this copy-and-paste on coal alone is an utter insult to all those fighting for their rights to a safe, fossil-free planet. Even though language here was blocked, President Biden can turn his phaseout pledge into action at home by declaring a climate emergency, stopping fossil-fuel exports and ending new fossil-fuel expansion.” – Jean Su, energy justice director at the Center for Biological Diversity

“A big moment. More than 30 years after climate negotiations began, Parties to the UNFCCC finally found the courage to set up a funding arrangement for loss and damage. This is a victory to celebrate on African soil. A moment of justice for the communities most affected by the impacts of climate change. For years the climate crisis continues to grow with already irreversible impacts on most vulnerable countries. Many events that cause huge loss and damage are noted in our countries, putting our communities at risk.  Now countries  have  to honour what  they  have agreed and make the fund operational  the soonest.” – Aissatou Diouf, CAN-West Africa Node Coordinator

“The unfortunate difficulty in agreeing basic principles of decarbonization and rapid implementation at the close of the COP27 is a worrying reminder that many governments are so entangled with polluting industries they might choose to allow climate emergency to impose maximum harm on their people. That must change. We have also seen, however, important breakthroughs, like the first consensus agreement to create a fund for loss and damage, a detailed call for reform of international financial institutions, recognition of the need for systems transformation, and the first explicit agreement to phase down all fossil fuels. As a global network of citizen stakeholders, CCI will take these breakthroughs forward as a foundation for coordinated persistent climate action at all levels.” – Joseph Robertson, Executive Director, Citizens’ Climate International

“The Koronovia Joint Work on Agriculture, created at COP23, came to COP27 with two objectives: to report on the main conclusions of the work done so far and to lay the groundwork for the new structure under which it will continue its work in the coming years. The negotiations were not easy and consensus could not be reached until the final stages. While it does not yet include mention of agroecology as the appropriate framework for agro-ecosystem transformation — one CAN’s main demands — the Sharm El-Sheikh Joint Work on implementation of climate action on agriculture and food security could open the game for this and other issues.” – Jazmín Rocco Predassi, Climate Policy Coordinator, FARN

“Like an avalanche, the climate crisis is accelerating and overwhelming people and nature. World leaders talked a lot, but it was the rich nations who acted half-heartedly and unfairly. The EU and US are claiming to be 1.5°c champions, yet still don’t accept equity and their historical responsibility. That is an astonishing and unacceptable betrayal of people and nature. There is a glimpse of hope, the pressure of the people and poor nations made it possible to establish the urgently needed fund for the poorest to deal with climate losses and damages.

“The UN climate conference has put the spotlight on the human rights situation in Egypt — where freedom of expression and freedom of the press are not accepted — and particularly the case of political prisoner Alaa Abd El Fattah. Alaa may not yet be free, but the global community will not stop calling for his release when they leave Egypt. There is no climate justice without human rights.” – Susann Scherbarth, Head of Climate Justice, Friends of the Earth Germany

“This was meant to be an ‘African COP’, but it has failed to deliver on the continent’s needs and priorities. Africa is on the front lines of the climate crisis and is highly vulnerable to its impacts. We are already seeing terrible loss and damage across the continent. We welcome progress in establishing a fund to help countries recover from climate-related disasters, but this is not enough without more action to prevent the climate crisis from spiraling out of control. We also need to push further to ensure that the fund is aligned with equity and justice. We expected to see more action to increase Africa’s resilience, but yet again finance commitments for adaptation were not met.” – Alice Ruhweza, WWF Regional Director for Africa

“Across the world, children are going hungry, they are unable to go to school, their health is at risk, and many are displaced due to the impacts of the climate crisis that are already happening. This is mostly felt by children in low-income countries and those impacted by inequality and discrimination. One of the standouts of COP27 was the incredible participation of children and youth speaking truth to power. The Children and Youth Pavilion, led by youth organisations and supported by Save the Children and other groups was a constant hive of activity. But children need to have influence in the negotiations themselves and be able to hold their governments to account. It is welcome that leaders are finally starting to wake up to this fundamental right — but much more must be done. 

“We welcome the progress on Loss and Damage — including the creation of a new fund. But we know far more finance is urgently needed. Unfortunately, the failure to protect children from a future blighted by the continued use of fossil fuels is a massive source of frustration. Children are clearly demanding  a safer, cleaner world — and we know there is no time to waste.” – Yolande Wright, Save the Children’s Global Director of Poverty and Climate

 “The big story from COP27 that is flying under the radar is that for the first time, countries have sent a clear signal calling for the reforms of the multinational investment banks to support climate compatible development. This pivotal decision will go a long way in de-risking investments, make capital affordable and unlock trillions in climate finance. – Mohamed Adow, Director of Power Shift Africa

“Open civic space not only serves as a necessary counterbalance to fossil fuel interests but is also a prerequisite to climate negotiations that center and uphold human rights. This COP has been affected by the striking imbalance in power and voices in this process, as evidenced by the number of fossil fuel lobbyists in these halls, followed by the struggle for language that reflects the need to phase out fossil fuels and the inclusion of false solutions. At the same time, we have seen the power of civil society and its capacity to advance historic decisions. But no matter how many resources are provided to deal with loss and damage, as long as countries fail to effectively phase out fossil fuels and continue to accelerate this crisis, real justice will not prevail. It is the collective responsibility of all Parties to protect — during and after the COP — civic space and the rights of all those who participate.” — Sébastien Duyck, Senior Attorney and Human Rights and Climate Change Campaign Manager, Center for International 

“The progress made in Sharm El-Sheikh on creating funding arrangements for Loss and Damage is a landmark achievement. When the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was first agreed 30 years ago, rich countries committed to help climate vulnerable nations cope with the adverse impacts of climate change. That promise, however, has gone almost entirely unfulfilled in the decades since. This agreement from COP27 is the most significant step forward on Loss and Damage that we have ever seen, and it will provide desperately-needed assistance for the countries who need it most. 

“Yet the work is still far from complete. Countries could not even agree on the need to phase down oil and gas use, which is absolutely critical to meeting the 1.5 degree limit.  We are at a point in the climate crisis where we must do what is necessary to secure a livable planet for all, and failing to make progress toward all of our climate goals is unacceptable.” – Cherelle Blazer, Sierra Club Senior International Climate and Policy Campaign Director

“The establishment of a loss and damage fund is a monumental achievement for vulnerable developing countries and communities at the frontlines of the climate crisis. Given the urgency on the ground, the fund must be operationalized as soon as possible. Rich countries largely responsible for warming our planet should immediately mobilize substantial new and additional resources to pay for climate-related damage in vulnerable countries. While we applaud the establishment of the loss and damage fund, we remain deeply concerned about countries’ failure to agree on an equitable and urgent phase-out of all fossil fuels. The climate crisis is about inequality and injustice. World leaders must push political differences aside and put the needs of these communities first.” – Gabriela Bucher, Executive Director, Oxfam International