Loss and Damage Committee speeds up work to give countries direct access to funds

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At its first meeting, the fund’s board of directors decided to expedite the selection of host countries so that funds can be disbursed to disaster victims as soon as possible.

The Loss and Damage Fund’s Board of Directors will select a host country in July to accelerate the process of giving severely affected countries direct access to finance to help them recover from the inevitable impacts of climate change. I plan to.

As the 26-member board held its first three-day meeting in Abu Dhabi this week, discussions centered on the administrative steps needed to get the fund up and running and funded as quickly as possible. .

Selecting the host country for the Council is a priority. This is because selecting the host country for the Council is a priority. This is because only by selecting a country to host a board meeting can it assume legal responsibility and enter into formal agreements with the World Bank. first resistance of developing countries.

The World Bank needs to confirm by mid-June that it is willing and able to take on this role. This decision largely depends on the banks’ ability to respond. 11 conditionsThis includes allowing governments in developing countries and organizations working with vulnerable communities to receive funding directly, bypassing intermediaries such as multilateral development banks and United Nations agencies.

“Too many cooks”

Fiji’s loss and damage committee member Daniel Rand said overhead costs and management fees from multiple tiers of intermediaries typically swallowed a high proportion of development funding.

“In small, developing island states, there are always too many cooks and not enough ingredients,” he told Climate Home. “Lack of direct access is a particularly unacceptable scenario when it comes to funding to address loss and damage, as much of what we have to do is direct support. [to] Individuals and communities who bear the burden [of climate change]”.

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Climate finance experts say concerns are compounded by the World Bank’s lack of experience in addressing direct community access in other operations. However, during the meeting in Abu Dhabi, the bank sought to provide reassurance and indicated it remained flexible on the issue and was willing to find a solution.

World Bank representative Renaud Seligman, who attended the meeting, told board members that the bank was considering a model that would “break new ground” and that it would “work with you to innovate and make it work.” We are ready to design.”

Fast host selection

For the World Bank, a key concern is the risk involved in providing funding to hundreds of smaller entities whose compliance processes may not be as rigorous. Therefore, the board of directors of the Loss and Damage Fund should be held legally responsible if the funds are misused. And since legal status can only be obtained from the host country, the selection process is expedited.

Interested countries have until early June to submit their candidatures, with Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas and the Philippines already in the ring. The board is expected to make a final decision at its next board meeting scheduled for July 9-12.

Board picks up pace after first meeting I’m late The failure of developed countries to appoint commissioners by the deadline resulted in a three-month delay.

People move items in an apartment complex flooded by heavy rains in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on April 18, 2024.Reuters/Amr Alfiqi

On the final day, the Board was forced to grapple with logistical challenges as deliberations were held online due to inclement weather in Abu Dhabi.scientist warned If global warming increases by 1.5 degrees Celsius, the Arabian Peninsula will experience heavier rainfall than before the industrial revolution, and recent flooding in neighboring Dubai closed its airport and caused major economic damage.

Lund said progress made at the first meeting was “in some ways amazing,” but there was still a long way to go before funding reached communities vulnerable to climate change. “We have clear direction, but translating that blueprint into contracts, roles, policies, locations, work and structure will be a common pain point for all board members this year and beyond. “Maybe,” he added.

civil society at the table

Civil society representatives argued for the need to increase the direct participation of frontline communities suffering the effects of climate change in fund management.1st board meeting limited participation It will be distributed to two people per UN stakeholder group (some of which represent millions or even billions of people, such as indigenous peoples, youth, women and girls).

“From the outset, this fund must be different if it is to meet expectations of being human-centred, human rights-based and gender-sensitive, with meaningful participation and engagement. ,” said Leanne Sharatek, associate director of the Heinrich Foundation. Attended a board meeting in Washington.

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“All board members emphasized the importance of and welcomed the involvement of civil society observers and local communities,” she added. “From now on, we need to operationalize verbal support, including dedicated financial support.”

Once all the formalities are sorted out, the board will begin tackling more thorny issues, such as how to disburse the funds and fill the coffers with more cash. To date, it has attracted approximately $660 million in pledges.

Board members hope to have the fund’s structure in place by COP29 this November, but distribution of funds is not expected to begin until 2025.

(Reporting by Matteo Civillini; Editing by Joe Lo and Megan Rowling)

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