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Anna Mae Yu Lamentillo

Dec 29, 2023

What the Loss and Damage Fund means for PH

Prior to nations agreeing to transition away from fossil fuels as expressed in the historic United Arab Emirates (UAE) Consensus, the 28th climate change conference or COP28 held in Dubai already provided a milestone decision on its first day — gathering commitments of at least $700 million to operationalize the Loss and Damage (L&D) Fund.

This fund is essential to build the climate resilience of the most vulnerable communities. Because even if nations meet the goal of limiting global warming to the ideal 1.5 degrees Celsius, many developing nations are already bearing the brunt of climate change, particularly extreme weather events, such as storms and floods, reduced agricultural productivity, and rising sea levels.

The fund was first agreed upon during COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, and became operational on the first day of COP28.

Commitments to the fund started coming in after UAE pledged $100 million. Other countries making notable commitments included Germany, which also committed $100 million; the United Kingdom, £40 million for the Fund and £20 million for other arrangements; Japan, $10 million; and the US, $17.5 million.

Aside from the pledges, an agreement was also reached on  the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and the UN Office for Project Services hosting the secretariat of the Santiago Network for Loss and Damage, which will catalyze technical assistance to developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.

Moreover, nations agreed on targets for the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA) and its framework, which identify where the world needs to get to in order to be resilient to the impacts of a changing climate and to assess countries’ efforts. The GGA framework reflects a global consensus on adaptation targets and the need for finance, technology and capacity-building support to achieve them.

PH as member of L&D Fund Board

The Philippines is among the countries most vulnerable to climate change impacts. Our country has been advocating for new and additional resources under the Loss and Damage Fund, emphasizing that it should be accessible, stable, predictable and adequate.

According to the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028, between 2011 and 2021, the country incurred ₱673.30 billion worth of damage and losses due to tropical cyclones alone. 

The operationalization of the L&D Fund is a big win for vulnerable developing countries like the Philippines. It is also a welcome development that the Philippines secured a seat in the inaugural Loss and Damage Fund Board.

The Philippines will represent the Asia Pacific Group (APG) in the L&D Fund Board along with the UAE, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), and Pakistan in a term-sharing agreement. Under the arrangement, the Philippines will serve as a full member in 2024 and 2026 and will be an alternate member in 2025.

This provides the Philippines another platform to shape climate solutions that are country-driven and anchored in equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities of countries.

The Loss and Damage Fund is critical for the Philippines and other small island nations and developing countries who did not cause the climate crisis but are gravely affected by its consequences and have limited resources to cope. Operationalizing the fund is one of the keys to achieving climate justice.

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