NEW YORK, Sept 22 (APP): Caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani on Friday said that the Loss and Damage (LD) Fund must be responsive to the needs, priorities and circumstances of vulnerable developing countries like Pakistan.
“It must play a central role in the systemic global response to losses and damages caused by climate change. All vulnerable developing countries, irrespective of their level of development and geographical grouping, must be eligible. No vulnerable developing country should be left behind,” the foreign minister expressed these views in the consultative ministerial meeting on “Funding Arrangements for Responding to Loss and Damage” held at the United Nations Headquarters.
The meeting was co-chaired by Sameh Shoukry, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt and COP27 President, and Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technologies of the UAE and COP28 President-Designate.
The foreign minister said with climate-induced disasters continuing to inflict excruciating pain, suffering and losses on millions around the world, especially those in the developing countries most vulnerable to climate change such as Pakistan, the expectation of COP28 was clear ‘It must deliver successful operationalization of a robust, efficient and well-resourced loss and damage fund’.
Last year, Pakistan, he said, as Chair of the G-77 & China, played a positive and significant role in support of establishing the loss and damage fund at COP27 and since then, they continued to remain constructively engaged in the Transitional Committee’s process.
“It is our sincere hope and endeavour that to achieve the operationalization of the LD fund at COP28, all outstanding issues related to its institutional arrangements, as well as the ‘funding arrangements’ would be addressed within the Transitional Committee,” he added.
Highlighting some of the broad priorities and expectations, FM Jillani elaborated that any proposal to limit the eligibility of the fund to any specific group or groups of developing countries would be patently counterproductive to the overall spirit, the purpose and the collective efforts behind establishing the fund.
“We would not be able to lend our support to any such select, divisive and exclusionary approach,” he declared.
He said, additional, adequate, non-debt producing, and grant-based public finance must be the primary source of the LD funding. Innovative finance should complement, not replace the public grant-based finance by the developed countries.
To ensure alignment of eligibility criteria, he observed programmes and policies of the LD fund with UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, it should be operationalized as an Operating Entity of the Convention and the Paris Agreement.
The fund should have a dedicated and independent Secretariat to ensure that the implementation of the fund’s policies and delivery on guidance from COP and CMA were done in an impartial manner. The fund must be parties-driven, he added.
The foreign minister said the fund should comprehensively cover the full continuum of ongoing and ex post (including rehabilitation, recovery and reconstruction) actions, including slow onset and extreme weather events, and economic and non-economic losses and damages, adding creation of sub-funds under the LD fund should be avoided, in order to avoid the potential risk of ear marking of resources to some of the sub-funds, at the cost of under financing of others.
“The fund must ensure direct and rapid access for national governments of vulnerable developing countries facing extreme weather events and climate-induced devastation (like Pakistan in 2022 and 2023). We remain of the view that the principles of the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement are sacrosanct. And the principles of Equity and Common But Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR-RC) are a central pillar of the climate finance architecture,” he added.
He said Pakistan believed that the LD fund should be the centrepiece of the broad loss and damage finance architecture.
They also supported the proposal to establish at COP28 a ‘high-level advisory council’ on the new ‘funding arrangements’, with the LD fund playing a central role in it. Such a mechanism could promote complementarity, coherence and coordination amongst the LD fund and the designated ‘funding arrangements’, to better respond at scale to the growing impacts of loss and damage.