Global Pressure rises as #LossAndDamage must be on agenda of COP27 Egypt

Egypt, which is hosting the upcoming COP27 climate summit, is working on how to include compensation for economic losses caused by climate catastrophes on the formal agenda of the November summit, as pressure grows from vulnerable countries to prioritise the issue.

Wael Aboulmagd, Egypt’s special representative for the COP27, told reporters that the host country is “putting a lot of effort” into ensuring that the question of how to compensate countries that have experienced heavy economic loss due to climate catastrophes is prioritised at the forum.

“We need to find a practical solution that accommodates the various concerns and it’s up to us as the incoming presidency to sort of navigate and finesse this process,” Aboulmagd told reporters on Wednesday (28 September). “We are inching closer.”

Including “loss and damage” on the agenda is a complicated task because lower-income and climate-vulnerable countries are seeking compensation for damages from climate-induced extreme weather events while industrialised nations are wary of creating a fund because of the liabilities they may face.

Aboulmagd said as the incoming COP president, Egypt needs to “navigate” the disparate positions and that it has appointed two ministers to come up with a plan for how to include “loss and damage” on COP27’s formal agenda. The two ministers are Germany’s special envoy for international climate action, Jennifer Morgan, and Chile’s environment minister, Maisa Rojas.

At last year’s COP26 in Glasgow, the United States and the European Union rejected calls for a fund to compensate countries for climate-driven losses. But as different countries grapple with extreme weather this year, pressure is growing for “loss and damage” to be prioritised at COP27.

“At COP 27 we need to work together to show leadership and move forward on addressing this very important issue, particularly when it comes to finding a creative way … to find financing for countries who are in extreme need to address the immediate losses and damages that wipe out a significant part of their annual GDP,” Aboulmagd said.

Tensions are mounting ahead of this year’s U.N. climate summit as vulnerable countries ramp up demands for rich countries to pay compensation for losses inflicted on the world’s poorest people by climate change.

Egypt also highlights the central role played by the private sector as part of the need to restructure the overall climate finance landscape. According to the Ambassador, more than 50% – or $650 billion – of total climate finance comes from private investors and these funds go mostly to mitigation actions in developed countries.

The consequence is that adaptation actions are overlooked, and developing countries are left without appropriate financing. These instruments are mostly loans, which account for 61% of the total measures. Of these loans, only 6% goes to adaptation, he said.