Denmark lauded as first mover on funding for climate-related loss and damage

Denmark is the first nation nation in UN’s climate convention to channel money to countries suffering loss and damage from climate change.

Photo: Annika Byrde

Danish Minister of Development Flemming Møller Mortensen has made headlines in international media after announcing Danish climate support for loss and damage in connection with the opening of UN General Assembly

As the first of the nearly 200 nations that have ratified the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Denmark has committed to offer funding for loss and damage. A swathe of nations around the world have called for such funding for decades.

Reactions are pouring out from all over, and one of them comes from climate scientist Saleemul Huq of Bangladehsh, a known voice at the UN’s climate conferences.

”I’m very pleased to see that Denmark, as the first nation of the UNFCCC, is offering funds specifically for loss and damage as a result of anthropogenic climate change,” says Huq to Ritzau.

Hug is head of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development and chair a group of experts in the Climate Vulnerable Forum, a partnership of 55 nations in Africa, Asia and South America.

The matter of loss and damage has been contentious at UN’s climate meetings for decades. During the climate summit in Paris in 2015, world leaders agreed that loss and damage needed its own chapter.

The poorest nations around the globe demand that climate financing involves three columns: adaptation, mitigation, and loss and damage.

So far, the richest UN nations have only acknowledge and allocated funding for the first two columns. The Paris accord ended in a compromise with rich nations adding a sentence that ”loss and damage” is not to be perceived as compensation – or more appropriately as damages for irreparable climate losses that rich nations have inflicted for many years.

However, poor nations disagree with this compromise. On numerous occasions, and most recently in COP26 in Glasgow, they have protested and blocked further collaboration due to the absence of political will to finance loss and damage.

”Jamaica is happy to see a developed nation stepping up to the plate and acknowledging the absolute need for loss and damage to be acknowledged,” says Jamaican Minister of Economic Growth Matthew Samuda to The Guardian:

”It is our hope that this will pave the way for commitments from other developed nations. Though USD 13m will not cover the vast devastation we are already experiencing from climatic events, I wish to thank Denmark for getting the ball rolling.”

Arch Bishop of Cape Town, South Africa, Thabo Makgoba, who is also a climate ambassador in the Act Alliance, writes on Twitter:

”Good news about #LossAndDamage finance from Denmark. Thank you @udviklingsmin People are suffering the effects of #climatechange and I hope other countries will follow and deliver support.”

The Danish development minister announced the decision in New York, backed by parties behind this year’s budget, to allocate EUR 13.5m for loss and damage in Sahel and other vulnerable areas, among other places.

”It’s all a matter of Denmark demonstrating responsibility. In fact, it’s grossly unfair as it is.”

At last year’s COP26 summit in Glasgow, Minister of Climate Dan Jørgensen told Ritzau:

”We’ll of course also actively take part in such talks, also as far as being one of the contributors once it is relevant. But we’re nowhere near where we even know what that is.”

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