With Just Hours Left and No Fund to Address Losses and Damages, COP27 Risks Being Lost and Damaged

Statement by Dr. Farah Naureen, Mercy Corps’ Country Director for Pakistan

“At COP27 we’ve seen unprecedented pressure on wealthy countries to provide Loss and Damage funding for communities that contribute the least to carbon emissions but are bearing the brunt of climate change. Yet COP27 policy negotiations are on track to disappointment, with no explicit action or mechanism to create a Loss and Damage fund.

“One staggering Loss and Damage example used repeatedly over the past two weeks at COP27 was the catastrophic flooding that hit my country, Pakistan, killing more than 1,700 this year. In the most-affected areas, the water has not receded. Communities are forced to camp in tents on elevated roadsides surrounded by snake-infested water and they are at constant risk of waterborne diseases. Some sleep close to their destroyed homes to keep an eye on the little they still own, wondering how to get their lives and livelihood back. 

“This year, the total losses and damages caused by flooding are estimated at $30 billion in Pakistan. Only 20% of an $800-million UN aid appeal for the country has been funded so far, which will address urgent needs, but not long-term recovery and reconstruction. At least 25,000 schools have been damaged, forcing children, especially young girls, to stay at home with no education and at risk of gender-based violence. Health facilities were also destroyed, leaving thousands of pregnant women without prenatal and delivery care. Most families are not ready to face the harsh winter.

“Some countries such as Belgium, Canada, New Zealand, and the UK have pledged bilateral funding to address Loss and Damage. While this welcome and needed funding recognizes the responsibility of higher-income countries for Loss and Damage, the amounts are small and symbolic, and few commitments appear to actually be new. The announcement of the Global Shield, an initiative of the G7 and The Vulnerable Twenty (V20), driven by Germany, has potential, and can constitute one element in various climate finance solutions. Still, it cannot be the only mechanism to address Loss and Damage, and it risks distracting from the search for a substantial solution to ensure there is predictable funding for loss and damage commensurate with the massive scale of need. 

“Less than 24 hours before the end of COP27, there is no actual game-changing announcement on the table; commitments are still paltry in the face of staggering needs; and the pathway to a Loss and Damage fund remains vague. As I heard climate activists chant at COP27, this year's UN Climate Summit risks being "lost and damaged," only able to bring “false solutions” to a climate catastrophe unfolding before our eyes. If, once again, wealthy countries fail to act, they will push climate-vulnerable communities like mine further into poverty and misery.”