Sources familiar with the negotiations reported that countries from both the global north and south were unable to reach an agreement.
The establishment of a dedicated fund to aid vulnerable countries in dealing with the consequences of climate-related loss and damage had been a significant achievement during last year’s COP27 discussions in Egypt.
However, the specifics of this fund were left for future deliberation.
Throughout the year, a series of discussions sought to garner consensus on fundamental aspects such as the fund’s structure, beneficiaries, and contributors. One key point of contention revolved around the participation of wealthier nations, particularly their desire for China to contribute to the fund.
A transition committee convened late on Friday and Saturday in Aswan, Egypt, with the aim of establishing the fund. Regrettably, the delegates were unable to reach an agreement, deferring the decision to another meeting scheduled for November 3 to 5 in the United Arab Emirates, as reported in an official United Nations webcast.
Before the breakdown of negotiations, a major stumbling block emerged regarding where the funds should be administered. There was a division between those advocating for the World Bank to manage the fund, which was accused of being under the influence of Western nations, and those supporting the creation of a new, independent structure.
Many developing nations called for the latter option, but it posed challenges due to the complexities of replenishing the fund with new contributions.
The failure to reach an agreement underscores the significant divide between wealthy and less affluent nations, according to Harjeet Singh, the head of global political strategy for Climate Action Network International.
He expressed concern over developed countries’ attempts to push for the World Bank as the fund’s host, their reluctance to discuss the necessary financial scale, and their apparent disregard for their responsibilities under existing international climate agreements.
Rachel Cleetus, representing the Union of Concerned Scientists, described the outcome as disappointing and a setback for communities facing the relentless impacts of climate change.
She criticized the United States and other affluent countries for appearing more focused on evading or minimizing their responsibilities instead of engaging in good faith negotiations.