The Conference of Parties 27 (COP27) formally kicked off on Sunday at Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, with the issue of loss and damage dominating talks.
"Loss and Damage" are costs that nations - mainly poor and developing countries - are incurring due to adverse effects of climate change like drought, floods and high temperatures.
Discussions to decide what should go into this year’s agenda ran late into Sunday night as delegates debated how to handle the matter of loss and damage. They later agreed to include it in the formal agenda. It will be the first time the matter is formally discussed during a COP.
“This creates for the first time an institutionally stable space on the formal agenda of COP and the Paris Agreement to discuss the pressing issue of funding arrangements needed to deal with existing gaps, responding to loss and damage,” said Sameh Shoukry, COP27 President during the opening plenary.
Ironically, the global change summit that has been held annually for the last 26 years has never discussed the issue of loss and damage in its formal agenda. So far, discussions on climate change funding have mainly centered on reducing carbon dioxide emissions and helping communities adapt to future impacts.
During COP26 in Scotland, Glasgow, high-income countries blocked a proposal to start a loss and damage fund and instead proposed to start discussing funding over the next three years.
Developed nations failed to fulfill their promise to give $100 billion annually to developing countries. With the subject now on the agenda, it provides a platform for poor countries to discuss funding and demand compensation for loss and damage from rich nations that contribute the most to climate change.