Countries reiterate commitment to prioritise loss, damage during London ministerial meetingWednesday, July 28, 2021
THE two-day London meeting of climate ministers from around the world wrapped yesterday with countries reaffirming commitment to prioritising loss and damage — a contentious article under the Paris Agreement which small island developing states have been lobbying to put on the agenda.
Loss and damage includes the effects of sudden-onset climate disasters such as hurricanes, as well as slow-onset events such as sea level rise.
The Jamaican delegation, led by Pearnel Charles Jr, minister of housing, urban renewal, environment and climate change, welcomed the reaffirmations, particularly in light of the raft of climate-related disasters so far in 2021, the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, as well as the experiences of struggling economies like Jamaica.
The delegation also welcomed the meetings' reaffirmation for the value of the Santiago Network as a catalyst for technical assistance on loss and damage from various organisations, bodies, networks, and experts.
“Jamaica and other developing countries stand to benefit significantly once the network is fully operational. From the interventions made, we are optimistic that support for the Santiago Network will be fit-for-purpose — recognising the unique circumstances of developing countries that will benefit, and being wide enough to cover a variety of areas, inter alia:
• slow onset events (SOEs) such as higher temperatures and sea level
• non-economic losses (NELs), including loss and life, biodiversity and culture
• displacement caused by climate change; and
• comprehensive risk management (including insurance), among others,” Minister Charles said.
While there was consensus on several items at the ministerial meeting, there remained divergent views on the way forward for discussions on Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, which examines how countries can reduce their emissions using international carbon markets and is one of the most complex concepts of the Paris Agreement that could either help the world avoid dangerous levels of global warming or exempt countries from making meaningful emissions cuts.
Jamaica has expressed the view that the existing share of proceeds of two per cent is woefully inadequate to support the adaptation needs of developing countries and has lent its support to another party, which emphasised that maintaining environmental integrity in the carbon market mechanism should be a priority.
Jamaica and other countries also used the opportunity to highlight the need for the quantum of climate finance to be increased, but also reiterated that countries should be able to access resources in a way that suits their needs.
Countries also echoed the need to elevate adaptation in line with mitigation, while paying more attention to finance for loss and damage. Concerns were also raised that the 2009 pledge of US$100 billion per year by 2020 (now pushed to 2025) had not been reached, and that restoring trust requires developed countries to honour this commitment.
The view was also expressed that commitments beyond 2025 should be significantly increased to meet growing needs, including adaptation and loss and damage.
Minister Charles, and the other members of the Jamaican delegation, among them principal director in the Climate Change Division, UnaMay Gordon, and senior technical officer for adaptation in the Climate Change Division Le-Anne Roper, noted that the face-to-face meetings were valuable in building relationships and setting the tone for future partnerships leading up to the COP26 negotiations in Glasgow, Scotland, later this year.
“Jamaica extends gratitude to the Government and people of the UK for all the support rendered and looks forward to future partnership as we head towards COP26, which is now 96 days away. Special thanks must be extended to the team led by the British High Commissioner in Jamaica, who facilitated the seamless logistical arrangements which enabled the Jamaican delegation to effectively participate in the July ministerial meeting,” the minister noted.
Other Caribbean countries represented in-person at the London ministerial were Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, and Grenada.
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