ICW Habitat Adviser Report: COP27


held at Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt, November, 2022.

Report by Wendy Rainbird, ICW Habitat Adviser.

Filling an empty bucket? Compensating for Loss and Damage.

At the Conference of Parties 27 (COP27) held in November 2022, in Egypt, it was hoped that there would be compensation for loss and damage provided to developing, and often low-emitting countries, by the developed countries that have benefitted financially and economically from the power generated by burning coal, oil and gas over many years.

As we know, burning fossil fuels has led to increases in carbon dioxide and methane gasses that have a greenhouse effect. This causes temperatures to rise. With warmer land and oceans more water is evaporated and is a major cause of increases in severe storms, flash flooding or massive flooding as in Pakistan and Australia recently. Plus other effects.

There is a rising frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.

In an IPCC Working Group Report, it was assessed that:

  1. Losses and damages are already being experienced: Existing global warming of 1.1°C has already caused dangerous and widespread losses and damages, led to disruptions in nature as well as affected the lives of billions of people, despite people’s efforts to adapt.
  2. Future losses and damages will rise with increased global warming: With increasing global warming, losses and damages increase and become increasingly difficult to avoid, while strongly concentrated among the poorest vulnerable populations.
  3. Losses and damages are unavoidable and are unequally distributed: Adaptation cannot prevent all losses and damages. Losses and damages are disproportionately experienced by developing countries and by vulnerable groups, such as people of low socio-economic class, migrant groups, the elderly, women and children.
  4. Losses and damages are not comprehensively addressed by current financial, governance and institutional arrangements: Particularly in vulnerable developing countries, existing international, national and sub-national approaches to address loss and damage are insufficient. (Ref. https://www.un.org/en/climatechange/adelle-thomas-loss-and-damage)


“The insights document, compiled by the Climate Research Programme and supported by UN Climate Change (UNFCCC), also highlights that many of these consequences cannot be avoided with mere adaptation measures and that acting swiftly to reduce emissions is a much better option.” (https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/11/1130422)

“Vulnerability hotspots cluster in ‘regions at risk’: Vulnerability hotspots – areas with the highest susceptibility to being adversely affected by climate-driven hazards – are home to 1.6 billion people, a number projected to double by 2050. The report identifies vulnerability hotspots in Central America, the Sahel, Central and East Africa, the Middle East, and across the breadth of Asia. [People in Small Island States are experiencing serious effects on their habitats already. WR]

“New threats on the horizon from climate–health interactions: Climate change is adversely impacting the health of humans, animals and entire ecosystems. Heat-related mortality, wildfires affecting our physical and mental health, and growing risks of outbreaks of infectious diseases are all linked to climate change.

There will be more displacement of people, and more migration.

“Private sustainable finance practices are failing to catalyse deep transitions: “Sustainable finance” practices in the private sector are not yet catalysing the profound economic transformations needed to meet climate targets. This reflects the fact that these are mostly designed to fit into the financial sector’s existing business models, rather than to substantially shift the allocation of capital towards meaningful mitigation.”

“Loss and Damage – the urgent planetary imperative: Losses and damages are already widespread and will increase significantly on current trajectories, making it imperative to advance a coordinated global policy response. Deep and swift mitigation and effective adaptation are necessary to avert and minimise future economic and non-economic losses and damages.

“Inclusive decision-making for climate-resilient development: Decentring and coordinating decision-making across scales and contexts, while prioritising empowerment of a broad range of stakeholders, are key ways for climate action to be more effective, sustainable and just, as well as necessarily more reflective of local needs, worldviews and experiences.” (Ref. https://10insightsclimate.science)

At COP27, it took persistence and extra time to pass the agenda item on Loss and Damage eventually announcing that: COP27

  1. Acknowledges the urgent and immediate need for new, additional, predictable and adequate financial resources to assist developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change in responding to economic and non-economic loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, including extreme weather events and slow onset events, especially in the context of ongoing and ex post (including rehabilitation, recovery and reconstruction) action;
  2. Decides to establish new funding arrangements for assisting developing countries in responding to loss and damage, including a focus on addressing loss and damage by providing and assisting in mobilizing new and additional resources, and that these new arrangements complement the existing arrangements for financial support from other sources, funds, processes and initiatives, including outside the Convention and the Paris Agreement; “(COP agenda item 8(f) / CMA agenda item 8(f)
    Matters relating to funding arrangements responding to loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, including a focus on addressing loss and damage. Version 19/11/2022.)

In the document there were decisions about having workshops in 2023 on how to fund for loss and damage. (p3 op cit).

So, at COP27, there was no progress on lessening greenhouse gas emissions, with no follow through on phasing down of coal nor to phase out all fossil fuels, which are the actions needed to mitigate climate change.

“Public mobilisation and activism, market forces, aid and development programs, and legislation at local, state and national levels are all important sites of climate politics – and potentially, significant change.” (Ref. M.McDonald, https://theconversation.com/cop27-one-big-breakthrough-but-ultimately-an-inadequate-response-to-the-climate-crisis.20/11/22)

ICW has been calling for activism, and we should be ready to influence decision makers, and be the decision makers so as to reduce the damaging effects of climate change on our communities around the World.

ICW members should be asking for funding to help the most vulnerable.

That is why my heading is “Filling an Empty Bucket?”

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