IBON International denounces the outcomes of the 5th meeting of the Transitional Committee (TC5) of the Loss and Damage Fund (LDF). The recommendations that came out of an almost year-long discussion by the committee demonstrate the disinterest of developed countries such as the United States (US) in building an LDF capable of delivering climate justice to frontline communities. This flagrant disregard for historic responsibility, as well as the exclusion of principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, and the appointment of the World Bank as interim host, signals “The Great Escape” that the US and other developed countries are staging ahead of the 28th Conference of Parties (COP28) in December.

We find it troubling that the text from TC5 merely extends an invitation to developed countries to voluntarily contribute to the operationalization of the LDF. It neither mentions the target amount for the Fund nor provides guidance on how developed countries should contribute their fair share to fill the Fund.

Further, the World Bank’s designation as the Fund’s interim host is unacceptable. Doing so will most certainly jeopardise the critical support needed by developing countries facing the blows of climate disasters. This concern stems from the World Bank’s long history of funding fossil fuels and other ecologically destructive projects and delivering loans with conditions that exacerbate the debt burdens of developing countries, as well as its undemocratic governance structure.

Activists in Manila, Philippines, held a short action on Nov. 8 to mark the 10th anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan and denounce the US-led proposal to house the Loss and Damage Fund in the World Bank.

It comes as no surprise that the US was among the countries advocating for diluted outcomes at the TC meetings. While the US drags its feet from delivering on its financial obligations, it has been actively propping up Israel’s attacks against Palestine. Recently, the US Congress approved a military package to support Israel’s genocide of Palestinian people, amounting to USD 14.5 billion—an amount it refuses to readily commit for climate action.

We demand that the US and all other developed countries deliver on their obligations by committing to adequately fund the LDF based on the needs of frontline communities. Funds must be distributed in the form of grants as reparations for their years of pollution. Moreover, the decision-making process and governance over these funds must be placed directly in the hands of the countries and communities that are most affected by the climate crisis.

While building effective climate finance mechanisms to respond to loss and damage is needed in the current context, averting the impacts of climate change entails developed countries taking on the larger burden of cutting carbon emissions and supporting developing countries’ transition and development costs.

As we near COP28, we urge other civil society organisations and peoples’ movements to continue and strengthen campaigning to hold governments accountable, and demand concrete actions to secure a liveable future for all. #

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