ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday applauded a swift operationalization of $575 million for a global fund for climate-related “loss and damage” for vulnerable nations on the opening day of the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference, or COP28, the Pakistani climate change ministry said.
Nearly 200 nations agreed Thursday to launch a fund to support countries hit by global warming, in a historic moment at the start of UN climate talks in the oil-rich UAE. The announcement came as the Emirati host of the COP28 talks declared that fossil fuels must be part of any climate deal negotiated over the next two weeks.
The talks in Dubai come at a pivotal moment for the planet, with emissions still rising and the UN on Thursday declaring 2023 on track to become the hottest year in human history. The formal establishment of the loss and damage fund, long sought by climate-vulnerable nations, provided an early win at COP28, where sharp divisions over the phasing out of fossil fuels were immediately apparent.
The momentous occasion followed Pakistan’s crucial role at COP27 in Egypt, where, as the chair of the G77 and China group, it advocated for the establishment of the fund. Over the past one year, the South Asian country actively engaged as a member of the transitional committee responsible for finalizing recommendations for the fund’s operationalization.
“Pakistan applauds the historic achievement at COP28 (30 Nov to 12 Dec 2023) as the Loss and Damage Fund sees swift operationalization, with an astounding USD 575 million pledged within the first hour of the conference’s opening session,” the Pakistani climate change ministry said in a statement.
“The pledge includes USD 225 million committed by European Union.”
The Pakistani delegation also expressed gratitude for the global community’s rapid response, recognizing the fund’s significance in mitigating climate-related challenges, especially for nations facing vulnerabilities.
“While the initial pledges amount to a significant sum of USD 575 million, it is recognized that these contributions fall short in addressing the immense challenges faced by climate-vulnerable nations. The call to action resonates with the understanding that additional financial support is imperative to effectively mitigate and manage the aftermath of climate-related disasters,” the statement read.
“Pakistan reaffirms its dedication to actively engaging and leading developing countries on this critical issue. The country remains committed to collaborative efforts with the global community to ensure the effective implementation and utilization of the Loss and Damage Fund.”
Leaders at COP28 have been urged to move more quickly to a clean energy future and make deeper cuts to emissions, with the world off-track to keep global temperature rises below agreed levels. A central focus of the conference will be a stocktake of the world’s limited progress on curbing global warming, which requires an official response at these talks.
Double the size of last year’s COP27, the conference is billed as the largest ever with 97,000 people, including Britain’s King Charles III and some 180 other heads of state and government expected to attend. The UN and hosts the UAE say the talks will be the most important since Paris in 2015, and climate finance for poorer nations has been a key agenda item.