You were at the last meeting of the Executive Committee of the WIM for Loss and Damage. What were the significant decisions to be taken?
Yes, I attended both the Executive Committee meetings held this year. The significant decisions are:
a. A draft of a five-year rolling work plan of the Executive Committee has been agreed, which will now be signed off by all parties (countries) at the upcoming Climate Conference (COP 23) in November in Bonn;
b. Clearing House on Risk Transfer will be launched at COP 23 at the COP Presidency high-level event.
c. The newly-formed Task Force on Displacement will submit its draft recommendations in the later part of 2018.
Is there any significant progress to mobilise funds under the WIM that were assured in the Paris Agreement?
Mobilising funds for addressing loss and damage has been a tricky issue at the Executive Committee meetings since the Warsaw International Mechanism was established. This issue made little progress this year, too. The discussion was mainly around implementing the decision taken at last year’s COP22 to prepare a technical paper elaborating the sources of financial support, as provided through the financial mechanism, for addressing loss and damage as well as modalities for accessing such support. This paper is to be finalised by June 2019, which means nothing substantive will happen between now and then.
Has the Executive Committee adopted any modalities to provide funds to vulnerable countries to minimise loss and damages?
The discussion was only around the Executive Committee supporting the UN Secretariat in determining the scope of the technical paper. The process regarding working with other UN bodies on the range of financial instruments and how to make them available to vulnerable countries has been postponed to 2018 and 2019.
The reason is clear. Developed countries are using procedural excuses to delay meaningful discussion on providing finance to developing countries on addressing loss and damage so that they can avoid providing finance as far as possible.
Have the developed countries allocated any specific fund to be mobilised under WIM?
No fund has been identified or dedicated to provide finance to developing countries on addressing loss and damage, while they (loss and damage) continue to rise due to increasing number of disasters. Developed countries are not fulfilling their commitment of making finance available for developing countries. This is not a good sign after achieving the Paris Agreement, where loss and damage was identified as key priorities for climate action.
How valid are the concerns that developed countries are intentionally delaying funding for loss and damages in order to impose insurance mechanisms?
It is true that the developed countries are deliberately delaying the funding for developing countries in tackling loss and damage. They have always shown more interest in promoting insurance, in which they have clear business interests, knowing well that it can hardly address the range of climate change impacts. Moreover, there is no clear commitment from developed countries that the cost of insurance premiums will be borne by them and will not burden developing countries.
How should loss and damages be funded?
The funding for loss and damage must be new and additional to adaptation funding, which means it should be beyond the current commitment of providing $100bn every year from 2020 onwards. The purpose of the loss and damage finance is to address the impacts – sea level rise, increasing pace of desertification, glacial melt and ocean acidification – that cannot or could not be adapted to.
What is the hope for the next COP conference, to be presided over by Fiji in Bonn, Germany?
This year’s COP is the first such climate conference presided over by a small island state. Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are the most vulnerable to climate change and have the least capacity and resources to deal with the climate impacts. Both these country groupings have played a pivotal role in taking up this issue and this year’s meeting is a golden opportunity to put pressure on developed countries to make tangible progress.
Finally, what is the role of international rights-based organisations and experts in demanding funds for loss and damage?
Civil society organisations, including ActionAid, have been engaging on this issue right from the beginning and have provided support to vulnerable countries to highlight it through research and strong advocacy actions. This year we are demanding that COP23 must direct the Executive Committee to undertake a two-year work process by launching “Fiji International Initiative for Loss and Damage Finance” to explore ways to generate and provide finance for loss and damage, including from innovative sources.