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EDITORIAL: COP29 Summit as a year of decision on climate change financing

Climate finance has been a controversial issue between lower-income countries, which often bear the burden of climate impacts, and higher income authorities, which are responsible for the highest amount of the emissions behind those impacts.

In the recent past, it was announced that higher-income countries had finally agreed, more than two years late, on a commitment originally made in 2009 to provide lower-income countries with $100 billion climate financing each year from 2020.

This money was intended to cover some of the costs of climate mitigation (limiting the severity of global warming by reducing emissions) and adaptation (building infrastructure more resilient to climate effects).

It is also intended to support recovery from the losses of jobs and damage that occur when climate vulnerable countries are hit by more frequent and more ferocious extreme weather events as a result of climate change.

As COP29 Summit approaches, talks on putting the loss-and-damage fund to work have to move forward. After five meetings, the countries tasked with making progress have agreed on a few things.

The main achievement is the decision that the fund will be hosted by the World Bank in Washington DC, capital of the United States, for an interim period. But, the thinking of the vulnerable and low-income countries is that the bank be made only a stop-gap solution.

These low-income countries strongly believe that the World Bank, whose president is conventionally appointed by the United States, has come late to taking climate change seriously under its current president, Ajay Banga.

There is the fear among the climate – vulnerable countries that the progress made so far on this issue could be reversed under such leader.

For this reason, climate – vulnerable countries are calling for the climate financing fund to be associated with the United Nations on a permanent basis. This, they believed, will reduce the risk of one country’s politics having an excessive influence on how the fund operates.

On our part, we are of the opinion that the talks to create a fund to finance ‘loss and damage’ caused by climate change has been on a knife-edge for some time.

However, we call on the high-income countries particularly the United States, to let the vulnerable and low income countries who bear the burden of climate change have their say by associating the fund with the United Nations on a permanent basis during the COP29 Summit.


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