DUBAI, Dec 1 – In Dubai, delegates at this year’s United Nations climate conference reached a significant agreement on November 30 to activate a fund designed to aid countries vulnerable to the effects of climate change. This breakthrough on the conference’s first day marks a pivotal step in addressing loss and damage caused by environmental changes.

UN climate chief Simon Stiell highlighted the importance of this development during a press conference. “Today’s news on loss and damage gives this UN climate conference a running start. All governments and negotiators must use this momentum to deliver ambitious outcomes here in Dubai,” Stiell stated.

On X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, UN Secretary-General António Guterres praised the agreement to operationalize the fund, emphasizing its role in achieving climate justice. He encouraged leaders to back the fund, hoping for a solid start to COP28.

The fund, long sought by developing nations grappling with the consequences of climate change, such as droughts, floods, and rising seas, saw developed countries recognizing its necessity during COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, in 2022.

Sultan al-Jaber, COP28 President, announced the United Arab Emirates’ commitment of $100 million to the fund. Similarly, Germany pledged an equal amount, with the United States and Japan also contributing.

The 28th Conference of Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) commenced on November 30 at Expo City on Dubai’s outskirts. The venue, adorned with greenery, expects over 70,000 delegates and participants through December 12, focusing on shaping a sustainable future.

This fund’s urgency reflects ongoing discussions on loss and damage at previous COPs and aligns with the Paris Agreement’s goals. Nations least responsible for greenhouse gas emissions face disproportionate challenges from climate catastrophes. The proposed fund aims to support these nations, potentially aiding in rebuilding sustainable infrastructure.

Meanwhile, the African CSOs Biodiversity Alliance, comprising African Indigenous Peoples, local communities, youth, women, small-scale farmers, and NGOs, is participating in the Dubai climate conference. The alliance seeks to advocate for climate solutions that respect traditional knowledge and equity. They aim to influence climate policies that benefit Africa, emphasizing increased funding for African governments and Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs) at the forefront of biodiversity and climate challenges.

At COP28, the ACBA is advocating for several key actions:

  • Emphasizing the importance of traditional knowledge from diverse groups in shaping effective climate solutions while advocating for integrating this wisdom into climate policies.
  • Calling for urgent, real, and equitable transitions that address the negative impacts of false climate solutions on society, biodiversity, and IPLCs and emphasizing the need for substantial carbon emission reductions.
  • Urging parties to fulfil their climate finance commitments, emphasizing the importance of the quality and accessibility of funding, especially for IPLCs. The alliance had also called for a clear definition of climate finance and the immediate operationalization of the loss and damage fund.
  • Advocating for just and equitable transitions in areas such as food sovereignty through agroecology, access to clean and affordable energy leveraging Africa’s renewable resources, and sustainable debt management to enable African countries to invest in responding to climate change and biodiversity loss.

The ACBA underscores the urgency of prioritizing these actions at COP28 to achieve genuine and lasting climate solutions that respect the rights and wisdom of diverse communities. The alliance stresses the shared responsibility of all nations to secure a sustainable and equitable future.