The Loss and Damage Fund: A glimmer of hope or an avenue for more questions?
By Barbra Kangwana, CVF Youth Fellow from Kenya
COP28 was my second COP, thanks to support of the Climate Vulnerable Forum and the Kenyan Government. It would be impossible to deny that COP28 started on a high note. Just on the opening day, the Presidency announced operationalising the Loss and Damage Fund and more than 700 million USD were pledged. This built on small successes of COP27, giving vulnerable countries some hope. Loss and damage first appeared in negotiations in 2007. Sixteen years later, a fund was finally established. However, there are still unclear lines on how long it will last and whether it would even cover the losses and needs of the affected nations. With annual losses estimated at roughly 3 trillion USD, more will have to be put into place to fairly address the climate crisis and its impacts, which cause a ripple effect across other aspects of human lives, some lost forever. The Loss and Damage Fund is indeed a critical step towards climate action, as it will allow developed countries to compensate vulnerable nations that have been and will be affected by the devastating effects of climate change.
Despite critical steps in making this fund operational, there was a lack of clear and decisive language to phase out fossil fuels, which are the primary contributor to the climate crisis. The climate crisis has become a matter of survival for local communities, but this decision leaves loopholes that could allow rich and developed nations a way around cutting their emissions. This is a recipe for disaster for vulnerable countries as they face an uncertain future of more frequent and more severe climate related disasters that threaten to undo years of development. Grassroots activists have mostly described COPs as end goals rather than stepping stones. COP28 is another step. We all have no option but to look forward to the next COP: pushing to negotiate for our future and keeping our hopes up that the international community can indeed come together to secure a sustainable future for us all.