This year's climate summit in Dubai kicks off with a major victory aimed at tackling the impact of drought, floods and rising sea levels on the poorest nations affected by climate change

First COP28 achievements: new fund for most vulnerable countries approved

Líderes mundiales caminan por Al Wasl después de la foto grupal durante la Conferencia de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Cambio Climático (COP28), en Dubai, Emiratos Árabes Unidos, el 1 de diciembre de 2023
COP28/Neville Hopwood vía REUTERS
photo_camera COP28/Neville Hopwood via REUTERS - World leaders at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, December 1, 2023.

The opening ceremony was all it took for this year's UN climate summit - COP28 - to achieve its first major victory. After several months of negotiations, representatives of the nearly 200 participating countries have approved a "loss and damage" fund to help the most vulnerable nations cope with climate challenges.

Drought, floods and rising sea levels are some of the extreme weather events faced by the poorest countries in the so-called Global South, which are targeted by this important fund.  

"Today we have made history," said COP28 President Sultan Al-Jaber, who is also the CEO of the UAE's national oil company ADNOC. According to the COP28 host, this important achievement is a "positive sign of momentum" right at the start of the summit with many other challenges to address, such as the energy transition. 

El jeque Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan (C), y al primer ministro etíope, Abiy Ahmed Ali (CR), recorriendo la ciudad de la EXPO durante la COP28 Naciones Unidas. cumbre climática en Dubai el 30 de noviembre de 2023
PRESIDENCIA DE LOS EAU/HAMAD AL-KAABI
PRESIDENCIA DE LOS EAU/HAMAD AL-KAABI - Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan (C), and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali (R), touring the EXPO city during COP28 United Nations

Al-Jaber also announced that his country will contribute $100 million to the "loss and damage" fund. Other nations will also finance the fund, such as Germany, which pledged 100 million dollars, the United States, which will donate 17.5 million dollars, and Japan, with 10 million dollars. The UK has also decided to contribute up to 60 million pounds sterling to the Loss and Damage Fund, equivalent to some 75 billion dollars. According to the approved text, the World Bank will temporarily manage the fund for a period of four years. 

La conferencia sobre el clima de las Naciones Unidas se inauguró en Dubai el 30 de noviembre con las naciones bajo presión para aumentar la urgencia de tomar medidas sobre el calentamiento global y abandonar los combustibles fósiles
AFP/GIUSEPPE CACACE
AFP/GIUSEPPE CACACE - The UN climate conference opened in Dubai with the aim of taking action on global warming and moving away from fossil fuels

"Rich countries must announce their significant contributions," said Frederic Ruder of the NGO Global Citizen, who also called for new international taxes. In this regard, the European Union, France and Denmark will allocate hundreds of millions of dollars to launch the fund by Saturday, as reported by AFP

Líderes mundiales caminan por Al Wasl después de la foto grupal durante la Conferencia de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Cambio Climático (COP28), en Dubai, Emiratos Árabes Unidos, el 1 de diciembre de 2023
COP28/Neville Hopwood vía REUTERS
COP28/Neville Hopwood vía REUTERS - World leaders during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28)

According to a European diplomat quoted by the news agency, the first contributions will "finance pilot projects" and test the fund's performance "before a larger funding round in a year or a year and a half", after it proves its credibility with future donors.  

El presidente de la COP28, Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber (C), preside la ceremonia de apertura de la cumbre climática de las Naciones Unidas COP28 en Dubai el 30 de noviembre de 2023. 
AFP/GIUSEPPE CACACE
AFP/GIUSEPPE CACACE - COP28 President Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber presides over the opening ceremony of the UN climate summit COP28.

For their part, developed countries, led by the US, refused to make contributions mandatory and called for broadening the donor base to include richer emerging countries.  

La participación de la producción mundial de petróleo de las compañías petroleras nacionales y su participación en el PIB nacional en 2022, según la Agencia Internacional de Energía
AFP/VALENTIN RAKOVSKY & JEAN MICHAEL CORNU
AFP/VALENTIN RAKOVSKY & JEAN MICHAEL CORNU - The share of world oil production by national oil companies and their share of national GDP in 2022, according to the International Energy Agency

The UN has welcomed this decision, saying it is a "good start" to the summit. "All governments and negotiators must build on this momentum to achieve ambitious results," said UN climate chief Simon Stiell. "This has been the hottest year on record. Terrifying records were broken," added Stiell, who also warned that "we are paying with people's lives and livelihoods".   

cop28-El Secretario Ejecutivo de la Convención Marco de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Cambio Climático (CMNUCC), Simon Stiell, habla durante la ceremonia de apertura de la cumbre climática de las Naciones Unidas COP28 en Dubai el 30 de noviembre de 2023
AFP/GIUSEPPE CACACE-naciones-unidas
AFP/GIUSEPPE CACACE - Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Simon Stiell

The fund, which was already on the table at the previous climate summit in Egypt, has been approved after a year of tensions that culminated in the agreement between the countries of the North and South reached on 4 November in Abu Dhabi. The unanimous approval of the fund - to be launched in 2024 - has been described by Madeleine Diouf Sarr, chair of the Least Developed Countries Group, as having "great significance for climate justice".  

Cantidad de emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero de los países productores de petróleo y gas natural, por barril de petróleo equivalente
AFP/VALENTIN RAKOVSKY & SOPHIE RAMIS
AFP/VALENTIN RAKOVSKY & SOPHIE RAMIS - Amount of greenhouse gas emissions from oil and natural gas producing countries, per barrel of oil equivalent

In addition to the approval of this fund, the first day of COP28 also saw another historic achievement: the adoption of the COP28 agenda, which aims to reshape global climate action.  This achievement is an important milestone that reflects significant progress in joint multinational action to address climate change. 

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