By Pita Ligaiula at COP28 in Dubai, UAE

Experts and officials from the Pacific region have provided their perspectives on the developments related to the Loss and Damage (LND) Fund during COP28 in Dubai.

The creation of the fund is acknowledged as a significant achievement, but stakeholders stress the importance of careful consideration as discussions proceed.

Forum Secretary General Henry Puna expressed cautious optimism, stating, “That’s a wonderful development. The Pacific has been working for LND for so long, and finally, to get over the line in Sharm-el-Sheik last year was a milestone achievement. But there is caution here; the devil is in the details. Our negotiators will keep a very close eye on that to ensure the Loss and Damage facility is aimed at the nations and states that really deserve it.”

Fiji’s Chief Climate Change negotiator, Amena Yauvoli, shared, “The adoption is a great victory for Pacific SIDS, SIDS, and all developing countries, given the many decades we’ve been pushing for it. Fiji was deeply instrumental in putting our issues in the final agreement. That’s the cause for celebration amongst us when it was adopted.”

Karlos Lee Moresi, Pacific Islands Forum Programme Adviser – Resilient Development Finance, discussed the funding’s implications: “Now that we got the funding, we started talking about the how, how the resources are going to be mobilised. There is an opportunity to get into the board in the new governing structure, so we try to influence the decision around dispersing the fund. We don’t want to go through a GCF type fund. For our regional approach, I think we should take a very cautious approach; there is a little bit of work to do from the standpoint of finance.”

Wayne King, Cook Islands Climate Change Chief negotiator, highlighted the UAE Presidency’s efforts and noted, “The real hard work now is all the policy to make the fund work, and that’s been tasked to a board. It’s a very good step that sets the tone for this COP.”

Reverend James Bhagwan, General Secretary for the Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC), emphasised the non-economic aspects of Loss and Damage: “The issue of non-economic Loss and damage remains high on our agenda. Our focus on non-economic Loss and Damage is really around the cultural and spiritual impacts that we feel as a result of climate change. It’s a very stark reminder of what we are fighting for here in Dubai at COP28.”

COP23 President and former Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama provided a cautious perspective: “While I’ll never celebrate irreversible climate impacts, this loss & damage agreement is a start. But ‘voluntary’ contributions won’t cut it. Frontline nations like Fiji didn’t choose this battle, and the worst emitters shouldn’t choose if they pay for the damage they’ve caused.”

Bainimarama highlighted the USA’s pledge of USD$17.5 million, stating it is just 0.00003 percent of the cost of America’s climate-related disasters this year.

He expressed gratitude for this initial step but maintained clarity on the obligations of historic emitters towards frontline nations.