The Loss and Damage Debate at COP27
Updated: Apr 4
Written By: Yousef Khoury
Edited By: Ada Collins
Unbearable heat in Siberia, merciless floods in Pakistan, and extended dry seasons in Central America show a new and concerning scale of climate hazards (OXFAM International, 2022). While no country is safe from these climate hazards, developing countries are far more vulnerable than developed ones and are disproportionately affected (Ludwig & Kabat, 2007). More frequent natural disasters leave homes and public infrastructure in devastating condition, often requiring years to repair due to inadequate financing (Wolfe, 2021). Prolonged periods of drought lead agriculture-dependent economies into food and water insecurities (Wolfe, 2021). Unusual weather patterns render agricultural performance unstable, which greatly impacts job security and social welfare (Wolfe, 2021). Coupling this with poor public infrastructure and inadequate financial resources can make for catastrophic predicaments that leave thousands of people in need of support.
Amidst this period of growing climate concern awaits an international assembly. The 27th United Nations Conference of the Parties – COP27 – is set to be held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt from the 6th to the 18th of November, 2022 (United Nations, 2022). Over one hundred countries will convene to discuss adherence to the 2015 Paris Agreement and build on the outcomes of COP26 in order to tackle the inevitable climate externalities faced around the world (United Nations, 2022). A prominent yet polarizing topic of discussion at this year’s conference is the Loss and Damage Debate. This discourse will interrogate whether or not a financial support system should be implemented to transfer aid from developed countries to developing ones to assist with climate change-related damage. (Hodgson, 2022). The COP26 in Glasgow saw the first official proposal for a “finance facility,” as put forth by China and the G77. This Loss and Damage Finance Facility (LDFF) aims “to provide new financial support,” including adaptation and mitigation finance, towards regions with considerable development constraints (Sharma-Khushal, Schalatek, Singh, & White, 2022). It is expected that China and the G77 will propose that loss and damage financing be included as a topic for discussion on the official COP 27 agenda (Hodgson, 2022).
The EU and the USA both resisted the proposal for the LDFF, but have shown an increased willingness to partake in financial compensation heading into this year’s COP (Abnett, 2022). Wael Aboulmagd, Egypt’s COP27 ambassador, hopes that this year’s conference will render more tangible outcomes, claiming that implementation is the ‘top priority’: “We all have a collective obligation to ensure that this issue is addressed, and particularly the funding side of it,” reiterates Aboulmagd (Hodgson, 2022).
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Hodgson, C. (2022, October 9). 'Loss and damage' debate set to dominate the COP27 agenda. Retrieved from Financial Times: https://www.ft.com/content/3195ce2f-d4b3-4f9d-b6d4-6a05aa3da01a
Ludwig, F., & Kabat, P. (2007). Climate change impacts on Developing Countries. European Parliament.
OXFAM International. (2022). 5 natural disasters that beg for climate change. Retrieved from OXFAM International: https://www.oxfam.org/en/5-natural-disasters-beg-climate-action
Sharma-Khushal, S., Schalatek, L., Singh, H., & White, H. (2022). The Loss and Damage Finance Facility: Why and How. Retrieved from Heinrich Böll Stifung: https://us.boell.org/en/2022/05/31/loss-and-damage-finance-facility-why-and-how#:~:text=At%20the%20climate%20change%20conference,PA)%2C%20in%20addition%20to%20adaptation
United Nations. (2022). Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Change Conference - November 2022. Retrieved from United Nations Climate Change: https://unfccc.int/cop27
Wolfe, D. (2021, Jun 21). How climate change impacts poverty. Retrieved from World Vision: https://www.worldvision.ca/stories/climate-change/how-climate-change-impacts-poverty