$3m from philanthropy to kickstart loss & damage funding at COP26; public funds don’t follow


Alliance magazine


Leading climate funders, including the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), the European Climate Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, and the Global Greengrants Fund, have committed an initial $3 million in start-up assistance to support funding for loss and damage experienced by nations and communities living on the frontlines of climate change.

Finance for loss and damage was a priority for Global South delegates attending COP26 in Glasgow, which wrapped up this past weekend with an agreement that added little to the initial $3 million put up by philanthropy.

The COP26 agreement, which was reached on Saturday night as the talks closed, pushed concerns about loss and damage. But resistance from the United States, European Union, and several other rich nations, meant there was failure to secure the establishment of a dedicated damages fund that vulnerable nations had been pushing for.

Estimates for damages from climate impacts are around $1.2 trillion, and those impacts will be felt disproportionately by developing nations.

We are walking in inches when we must move in miles.

Speaking at a panel on funding for climate justice on 3 November in Glasgow, Tasneem Essop, Executive Director at Climate Action Network International, said: ‘Loss and damage is an issue that’s been ignored for decades – and its being ignored by rich nations which fear liability.’

She put a challenge to the COP, commenting: ‘Finance for loss and damage is the litmus test of the outcome of Glasgow. This is an issue we can no longer ignore.’

Instead of ending with plans for how to finance the loss and devastation many nations will experience as global warming escalates, the Glasgow Climate Pact allowed developing countries only a ‘dialogue’ to discuss ‘arrangements’ for such a funding mechanism in the future.

Harjeet Singh, a senior advisor with Climate Action Network International, said: ‘We are walking in inches when we must move in miles.’

The philanthropies who joined together to contribute $3 million saw their pledge as ‘kick-start funds’, writing in a statement: ‘As a group of philanthropies, we recognise our responsibility to work with others to meet this challenge, and acknowledge that the funding announced today is merely a start. We are therefore:

  1. Inviting all Parties to the UNFCCC to establish a Glasgow Loss & Damage Facility alongside full operationalisation of and funding for the Santiago Network on Loss & Damage;
  2. Encouraging developed country Parties to provide meaningful finance towards the Facility – not just for technical assistance, but support for lingering repercussions from climate impacts, prioritising the most vulnerable communities (particularly small island developing states and least developed countries);
  3. Committing to mobilise an initial $3m USD to provide start-up assistance to complement and advance the aims of the proposed Facility.

This immediate commitment is not a substitute for urgent and meaningful finance contributions from developed country Parties.’

As there were no plans for urgent and meaningful finance contributions from developed countries – the plans for a loss and damage fund now gets pushed to next year’s COP, due to take place in Egypt in November.

Tagged in: COP26

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