Pacific calls for dedicated funding facility for loss and damage

Tuvalu’s Minister of Finance and Climate Change, Seve Paeniu. Photo: OPOC

By Pita Ligaiula in Glasgow

The Pacific has called for a dedicated funding facility for loss and damage as the world enters the final week of COP26 climate change negotiation underway in Glasgow.

The call came as the COP26 presidency made adaptation, loss and damage the theme for Monday negotiation.

Developing countries including the Pacific are calling for additional and dedicated funds to help them recover from loss and damages caused by climate impacts affecting them.

Tuvalu’s Minister of Finance and Climate Change, Seve Paeniu said this is one of the priority areas the Pacific needs to see addressed.

“We need to fight and argue for a separate and dedicated funding facility solely for loss and damage,” Paeniu said at the Pacific High-level Event on the fringes of COP26.

He said the current global climate funding mechanism available through the Green Climate Fund (GCF) has two track streams for mitigation and adaptation only.

“Therefore, we need to ensure that we come out of the COP with an agreement of establishing a dedicated funding window for loss and damage.

“Once that funding window has been agreed and established, the funding going to that court needs to come from new and additional funding sources. It cannot and it must not be a re-allocation of existing funding resources,” emphasised Minister Paeniu.

He also argued that slow onset events and non-economic losses must be accepted as part of loss and damage.

“We must argue and fight that it has to be a new and additional funding window.

“We must argue and fight that for slow onset events and non-economic losses must be accepted as part of loss and damage. Right now in the discourse, it hasn’t been the case and we must ensure that it gets into the outcomes document for this COP.

He said negotiations for the past week has been tough and the draft decision text that has come out on loss and damage has been soft.

Fiji’s Attorney General and Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum said COP26 needs to establish a financing mechanism for those that are losing the most.

“This needs to go beyond access to insurance and risk transfer arrangements to have the impact required and it must be additional and separate to the annual financing target,” said Sayed Khaiyum.

Samoan prime minister, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa

Pacific Small Islands Developing States (PSIDS) chair and Samoan Prime Minister Naomi Fiame Mata’afa said COP26 must deliver an outcome on loss and damage beyond just the operationalisation of the Santiago Network.

“This should recognise the need for financing for loss and damage and be reflected in the decision on the new collective quantified finance goal. It should be included as a distinct and separate element,” she said.

Scotland First Minister Nicolas Sturgeon said developed countries must understand the severe human impact of climate change that many are already experiencing and act with urgency.

“Loss and damage is no abstract concept – it’s about lives and livelihoods,” she tweeted.

The issue of how to tackle loss and damage from climate change has been a very thorny and contentious one at the UNFCCC for many years, as developed countries refused to acknowledge it in fear of becoming open to claims of liability and compensation.