Exsley Taloiburi, SPC Deputy Director for the Disaster and Community Resilience Programme.

By Pita Ligaiula at COP28 in Dubai

The SPC Deputy Director for the Disaster and Community Resilience Programme Exsley Taloiburi has provided an update on the Loss and Damage Fund at the COP28 negotiation in Dubai.

“This is an issue that, as we all know, is also really, really critical to us in the Pacific.

“Fortunately, this is an issue that we’ve seen progress on at this COP. It was one of the key milestones from the beginning of this COP last week, where they operationalised the new Loss and Damage Fund from the first day of COP28. That is a key milestone, especially since the push to set up this new Loss and Damage Fund was initiated mainly by those of us in the Pacific 20 years ago,” Taloiburi said in a media briefing in Dubai.

Taloiburi acknowledged the significance of this achievement.

“Now it’s really, really good to say that this one has now been operationalised. A lot of our leaders have offered their appreciation and acknowledgment for this key milestone,” he said.

He also talked about the financial aspect of the Loss and Damage Fund.

“At the moment, there have been commitments and pledges amounting to over US$700 million from different developed countries and some developing countries like the United Arab Emirates and others. It’s likely that this funding mechanism and the pledges will continue to grow for the Loss and Damage fund.

“Another issue as well that’s important in the Loss and Damage is the host of the Santiago network on Loss and Damage. It would be the roster of experts that would offer technical assistance to developing countries that want to do work in unpacking and understanding, doing the necessary feasibility studies to build their readiness to access Loss and Damage financing,” said Taloiburi.

He highlighted the significance of the Santiago network on loss and damage.

“It has been an issue that has not been resolved since Bonn in June this year. Fortunately, now the consensus on that United Nations Disaster Risk Reduction(UNDRR) is now the only agency that is there, and Wednesday they endorsed that UNDRR would be the host of the Santiago network,” Taloiburi said.

Taloiburi also explained the progress and challenges, signalling at a long road ahead before the Loss and Damage Fund could be fully utilised by Pacific nations.

“I think this is the beginning. We are expected to see the unpacking of the Loss and Damage fund in regard to what the modalities and conditions of access are going to look like. At this stage, there is no discussion on that.

“They are trying to also set up the board for the Loss and Damage fund, and some of our countries have shown interest to serve in the board. Once the board is set up, they’re expected to pass the operational frameworks and policies for this Loss and Damage fund.

“In my view, it will take a couple of years at least to access this Loss and Damage fund because the initial step would be to do the necessary readiness requirements, quantify the economic and non-economic losses that are expected from each of our countries, as well as doing the necessary assessments and so forth to actually understand the issue really well before we can put together proposals and get funding,” Taloiburi said.