UN climate conference ends in Egypt with landmark deal

A long-awaited “loss and damage” fund to help those countries that are vulnerable to climate change was approved on Sunday at the end of the 27th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

“I welcome the decision to establish a loss and damage fund and to operationalise it in the coming period,” UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, said in a statement, noting that the two-week conference held in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh “has taken an important step towards justice”.

However, Guterres said that the fund will not be enough but is “a much-needed political signal to rebuild broken trust”. 

“A fund for loss and damage is essential, but it’s not an answer if the climate crisis washes a small island state off the map, or turns an entire African country to desert,” said the UN chief.

Guterres also stressed that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is a “red line” that the world must not cross. The idea of establishing a fund for loss and damage suffered by developing and poor nations due to climate change had always been shunned by developed countries due to their concerns that the fund could expose them to legal liabilities and lawsuits from the affected countries. 

“Today, here in Sharm El-Sheikh, we established the first-ever dedicated fund for loss and damage — a fund that has been so long in the making,” said Egyptian Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry, who is also president of the COP27, at the closing session.

“Millions around the globe can now sense a glimmer of hope that their suffering will finally be addressed swiftly and appropriately,” he said.

Attended by representatives of nearly 200 nations, the COP27 was extended for more than a day till the proposed agenda was finished.

Shoukry said that the achievements of COP27 deliver a message to the world “that multilateral diplomacy still works” and that despite the difficulties and challenges, “we remain committed to the fight against climate change”. -Xinhua

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