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People impacted by flooding in Pakistan flee their damaged homes

Pakistan's naval personnel rescue flood-affected people from their damaged houses after heavy monsoon rains in Dadu district, Sindh province on September 7, 2022. (Photo: Aamir Qureshi/AFP via Getty Images)

With COP27 Credibility Dangling 'By a Thread,' Climate Groups Demand Loss and Damage Funding

"We cannot allow rich polluter countries to ignore, undermine, and block this issue anymore," said one campaigner.

Jake Johnson

After last year's global climate talks ended with little concrete action to financially support the developing nations most vulnerable to climate chaos, a coalition of more than 400 organizations demanded Tuesday that negotiators prioritize ambitious "loss and damage" funding as COP27 approaches.

"We are in the era of Loss and Damage," the groups wrote in a letter to United Nations delegates as they prepare to gather for an informal meeting this weekend in Egypt, the host of the November climate conference.

"The devastating floods in Pakistan are a testimony to the deep inequality and injustice caused by the rich polluters who spewed emissions unabated."

"In the last few months we have seen heatwaves, droughts, and flooding sweep through the continents of Africa and Europe and countries such as Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, China, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, and the U.S.," the groups continued. "A devastating crisis unfolds before our eyes in the Horn of Africa where some communities are facing famine-like conditions due to persistent drought. This is not a crisis of the future, nor one confined to national boundaries. This calls for a step up in global leadership, multilateralism, cooperation, and solidarity at all levels."

Spearheaded by the Climate Action Network, the letter calls on world leaders—particularly the heads of rich nations most responsible for the climate emergency—to "take the necessary first step to agree that finance to address Loss and Damage is on the agenda to ensure a meaningful outcome at COP27 to respond to the intensifying suffering of people facing climate and connected crises."

The demand comes as Pakistan reels from record flooding that impacted tens of millions of people, killed more than 1,000, and inflicted billions of dollars worth of damage. The country's planning minister estimated the cost of repairing the widespread damage that the floods caused will be "far greater" than $10 billion.

"The devastating floods in Pakistan are a testimony to the deep inequality and injustice caused by the rich polluters who spewed emissions unabated and blocked financial assistance for people facing climate emergency," said Harjeet Singh, head of global political strategy at Climate Action Network International. "Loss and damage finance is a make-or-break issue for the upcoming climate conference in Egypt. The credibility of climate talks hangs by a thread."

"The COP27 conference will be counted as a failure,"  Singh added, "if developed nations continue to ignore the demand from developing countries to establish a Loss and Damage Finance Facility to help people recover from worsening floods, wildfires, and rising seas."

At last year's COP26 conference in Glasgow, Scotland, the leaders of wealthy countries offered nods of support toward loss and damage funding for developing countries as they face increasingly catastrophic climate impacts.

But as Reuters reported at the close of the event, negotiators "failed to secure the establishment of a dedicated new damages fund vulnerable nations had pushed for earlier in the summit" due to "resistance from the United States, the European Union, and some other rich nations."

Lavetanalagi Seru, regional policy coordinator with the Pacific Islands Climate Action Network, said in a statement Tuesday that "we cannot allow rich polluter countries to ignore, undermine, and block this issue anymore."

"What we see in Pakistan is a reminder of the lack of ambition and the glaringly slow pace to address the climate crisis," said Seru. "In the Pacific, we see new disasters strike as we still recover from the last. The scale of the financial assistance to respond to these disasters and their aftermath is grossly inadequate to build a climate resilient future for Pacific Island nations."

"We need Loss and Damage finance now!" Seru added.

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