Cop28: Loss and Damage Fund operationalised, what remains unclear?

 Cop28: Loss and Damage Fund operationalised, what remains unclear?

Thanks to the contribution of Elisa Calliari from the EuroMediterranean Centre on Climate Change and Jacopo Bencini from the Italian Climate Network we will now discuss the aspects of the fund that remain problematic even after its operationalisation. 

By Federica Baldo

On Sunday 10th of December, experts Elisa Calliari and Jacopo Bencini participated as speakers in an event entitled “money + rules, operationalisation of L&D Fund” at the COP and our team from the Youth Press Agency was there. 

Beyond the celebrations for the agreement reached on the operationalisation, it is good to be aware that there are still some shadows and unclear points that we will inexorably come up against once the dances open. As Elisa clearly recounted, there are two aspects in the final text adopted by the Parties that remain vague and murky: the concept of ‘vulnerability’ and the problem of quantification

Starting in order, the fund was meant to be made available to the so-called particularly vulnerable countries, as stated in the final version of the text. But where does the problem lie? The question is tricky since no unambiguous and commonly accepted definition of ‘vulnerability’ has been agreed upon and consequently no list of nations that can actually access the fund has been drawn up. At the moment, the term is therefore being interpreted very loosely and will remain so until agreement is reached on its specification or an index that discriminates between what can be considered vulnerable and what cannot will be established. 

Apart from anything else, the problem of vulnerability assessment is a political problem, not a scientific one. What do I mean by this? It means that this assessment cannot be made through scientific parameters in a comprehensive and exhaustive manner. Defining what falls into the category of ‘particularly vulnerable’ is a choice that politics must make and that it cannot delegate, as it often does, to science. 

The second and no less important thorny aspect is that of quantification. How can one accurately identify the correct amount of money needed to deal with the losses and damages suffered by nations? This is certainly not an easy task. With regard to the operationalisation of the fund as it has been adopted, it is useful to ask whether the sums of money announced so far by the nations of the Global North are reasonable and sufficient in terms of producing real results in the adaptation to climate change of the poorest nations. 

Will this fund be able to function beyond these more problematic aspects? What is the future of the Loss and Damage Fund? Will it end up being a failure or will it find a way to overcome these obstacles and become a functioning and successful instrument?

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