Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday hailed the 'historic' decision of the UAE presidency to operationalise the $475 million 'Loss and Damage' fund, just moments after the opening of the two-week COP28 climate conference on Thursday. It will compensate countries — especially developing ones — for the impacts of floods, droughts and heat waves.
Speaking at a session on Transforming Climate Finance during the COP28 World Climate Action Summit, PM Modi asserted that India has given the utmost priority to achieving sustainable development and climate change. He also congratulated the UAE President for announcing the Climate Investment Fund.
"We all know that countries in the Global South, including India, have had less of a role to play in climate change. But the impact of climate change on them is massive. Despite a lack of resources, these countries are committed to climate action. To fulfill the aspirations of Global South, climate Finance and technology are essential," he said in his address.
The Prime Minister also underscored that nations from the Global South expected developed countries to help them as much as possible, which was "natural and justified". He also reiterated that climate finance worth trillions of dollars is required for "available, accessible and affordable" climate action and hoped that the COP28 provides an impetus in that direction.
"India welcomes the historic decision to operationalise the 'Loss and Damage Fund'. This has released a new energy into the COP28 Summit," he said.
PM Modi also expressed optimism that a concrete result will be yielded on other issues related to climate finance. He also laid forth some expectations such as multilateral development banks to provide affordable climate finance and developed countries to reduce their carbon footprint by 2050.
What is Loss and Damage fund?
Loss and damage means the irreversible costs of extreme weather and disasters such as sea level rise, ocean acidification and melting glaciers caused by global heating. The fund will help developed countries pay for less developed countries that bear the maximum brunt of such disasters that result from climate change.
The UAE Presidency cleared the Loss and Damage fund on the very first day of the COP28, with an initial funding of $475 million. It was first announced during COP27 in Egypt. The fund refers to a package to ensure the rescue and rehabilitation of all countries facing dire effects of climate change, which will be provided by developed countries.
Less developed countries, particularly in the Global South, have fewer resources to effectively combat the adverse impacts of climate change, hence they result in tremendous loss of lives, deterioration of biodiversity and widespread economic damage. Vulnerable communities are the worst affected by this, and countries on the lower spectrum suffer immensely while a few developed countries, who are one of the largest polluters, manage to bear the brunt.
After its operationalisation, these developed countries - the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union and others - will provide the funds that will be managed by the World Bank. As highlighted by PM Modi, the need of the hour for effective climate action is several trillion dollars.