Quakers push loss and damage fund at COP28

‘The unthinkable can happen when we stand together and apply pressure.’

Friends have been reminded that ‘the unthinkable can happen when we stand together and apply pressure’, ahead of the twenty-eighth Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28), which began this week.

‘Take for example, this time last year, when something unexpected happened at COP27,’ writes Rebecca WalkerWoo from Britain Yearly Meeting (BYM)’s climate justice programme. ‘Governments around the world agreed to set up a Loss and Damage Fund under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).’

Aimed at providing financial assistance to developing and climate vulnerable countries, the decision was the result of decades of campaigning. ‘But it was unexpected because loss and damage finance cuts to the heart of a deeply political issue: wealthy nations and polluters accepting responsibility for the harm their carbon emissions have caused and then paying to redress that harm.’

Agreeing to establish the fund was step one, writes Rebecca WalkerWoo on the Quakers in Britain website, but there is still ‘a long way to go’ before the financing flows to communities most in need of support. ‘At COP28, we need to ensure money is finally put into the “empty bucket” of the Loss and Damage Fund.’

At COP27, parties to the UNFCCC set up a Transitional Committee (TC) to work out how to get a loss and damage fund up and running. Since then the TC has recommended that contributions into the fund are voluntary, and that the World Bank should be the interim host of the fund for the next four years. ‘Global South communities are deeply unhappy about this decision,’ writes Rebecca WalkerWoo, ‘because the World Bank’s policies and business model (offering loans, not grants) ensure many countries across the Global South are trapped in cycles of debt.’ The bank also spent billions of dollars backing fossil fuels last year. ‘Now the buck passes to us, to make sure that discussions at COP28 address the problems with and gaps in the TC recommendations.’

Aside from suggesting Friends support the Make Polluters Pay campaign and write to MPs, Rebecca also highlights some key dates on which Quaker voices can cut through. These include a Loss and Damage-themed day on 6 December, and a Global Day of Action on 9 December.

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