Slow but important progress on the design elements of a loss and damage fund is being made. Developing country positions are unified and clear, however we still need agreement on where the fund will sit, what it funds, who contributes and who benefits.
Both the ICJ and the Loss and Damage Transitional Committee will have to answer who will pay for climate change loss and damage.
The Loss and Damage transitional committee tasked with operationalising the new fund has finally been established. They will make recommendations on the design of the fund and in doing so will have to deal with contentious debates around who contributes, who benefits and where the fund will sit within the broader regime.
Vanuatu, as part of a coalition of 18 states, has recently made available and intends to commence negotiations on a draft United Nations General Assembly resolution that requests an International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion on climate change legal liability. In our analysis, we discuss some of the legal considerations around the draft text and speculate on what it might mean for loss and damage.
Inter-Parliamentary Union supports a Loss and Damage Fund, but US states it won’t get it past Congress
The Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) recently voted in favour of the emergency resolution put forward by Pakistan on the creation of “a Global Fund/Financing facility for climate Vulnerable Countries to Address Loss and Damage Associated with Climate Change”, with more than 645 votes in favour. Parliamentary support is a key component in whether a loss and damage finance facility is agreed to internationally and can be highly influential on executive action. The US recently stated that while it is open to discussing the facility, anything that would need to go through the US Congress was a non-starter.
Four African countries part of a new group of 15 states seeking an ICJ opinion on legal liability for climate change
Mozambique, Morocco, Sierra Leone and Uganda have joined Vanuatu as part of a group of 15 nations called the “Core Group” which announced that they intend to bring a draft resolution to the General Assembly that requests an International Court of Justice opinion on the rights and obligations of states in relation to climate change. These opinions can be highly influential in subsequent legal proceedings, and can be used as a climate justice benchmark in climate litigation.
The EU’s position on a dedicated loss and damage finance facility remains unclear after a recent EU Council resolution on the issue of climate finance. The US is outright unsupportive of dedicated funding. Talks at the Kinshasa Pre-COP earlier this month were generally optimistic on this issue but did not yield any clear direction on how negotiations will proceed at the COP. A task team has however been put together to ensure Loss and Damage is placed on the formal agenda.
Developing Country Blocs Reiterate Support for a Loss and Damage Finance Facility as Canada Pushes Back on Windfall Taxes
UN Secretary-General António Guterres, the LDC Group and the G77+China have reiterated their support for dedicated loss and damage finance. Denmark has also pledged initial funding towards loss and damage. However, the G20 has failed to seize an opportunity to advance country positions on loss and damage, and Canada has pushed back on suggestions that finance should come from oil and gas windfall taxes.
In a recent resolution the UNHCR has expressly acknowledged Loss and Damage and the importance of meaningful engagement at the Glasgow Dialogue. This will have implications for the upcoming vote to be presented by Vanuatu at the United Nations General Assembly in September.