Discrepancies over aid funds pose a conflict scenario for the climate summit

2023-11-05 07:33:05

BANGALORE, India (AP) — Tense negotiations at the final meeting on a climate loss and damage fund — an international fund to help poor countries hardest hit by a warming planet — ended Saturday in Abu Dhabi, where Participants agreed that the World Bank would host the fund on a provisional basis for the next four years.

The United States and several developing countries expressed disappointment with the draft agreement, which will be sent to world leaders to sign at the COP28 climate summit in Dubai next December.

The US State Department, whose representatives participated in the negotiations in Abu Dhabi, said in a statement that it was “pleased that an agreement was reached” but regretted that contributions to the fund were not made voluntary.

The agreement outlined the fund’s overall goals and planned launch in 2024, and details how it will be managed and who will oversee it, including a requirement for developing countries to have a seat on the board, as well as the role of the World Bank. .

Avinash Persaud, Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s special climate finance envoy, said the deal was “difficult but crucial. “It was one of those situations where success can be measured by the level of discomfort.” Persaud negotiated on behalf of Latin America and the Caribbean at the meetings.

The lack of agreement, he noted, would have “cast a long shadow over the COP.”

Mohamed Nasr, chief negotiator of Egypt, which hosted the climate summit last year, said it “falls short in some aspects, especially the scale and sources (of financing) and (a) recognition of the spending made by countries.” Developing”.

The demand for a fund to help poor countries hit hard by climate change has been a key topic of talks at the United Nations since they began 30 years ago, and was finally agreed at last year’s climate conference. in Egypt.

Since then, a small group of negotiators representing rich and developing countries have met several times to hammer out the details of the fund. Their last meeting in the city of Aswan, in Egypt, ended in a draw.

While acknowledging that an agreement on the program was better than no agreement, climate policy analysts said there were still numerous gaps that needed to be filled for the fund to be effective in helping poor and vulnerable communities around the world impacted by increasingly disasters. frequent associated with climate.

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The meetings achieved that goal, but were “the furthest thing imaginable from a success,” said Brandon Wu of ActionAid, who has followed the talks for the past year. Wu said the fund “requires almost nothing from developed countries (…) At the same time, it meets very few of the priorities of developing countries, the same countries, so to speak, that are supposed to “They will benefit from this fund.”

Sultan Al Jaber, federal minister with the United Arab Emirates and CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, who will chair the COP28 summit, welcomed the outcome of the meetings.

“Billions of people, lives and livelihoods vulnerable to the effects of climate change depend on adopting this strategy recommended at COP28,” he said.


AP Writer Seth Borenstein in Washington, D.C. contributed to this report


Sibi Arasu is on X, formerly known as Twitter, on @sibi123


The Associated Press’ climate and environmental coverage is supported by several private foundations. AP is solely responsible for its content.

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