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Australian development agencies urge Australian government to commit funding to new Loss and Damage Fund

ActionAid 3 mins read

As Climate Change Minister Bowen arrives at COP28 in Dubai today, a group of leading development and climate groups are reiterating the call for Australia to contribute to the Loss and Damage Fund, after the newly established Fund received more than USD $650 million in pledges from like-minded countries.

The groups, including the Climate Action Network Australia, ActionAid Australia, Save the Children Australia and Oxfam Australia, are calling for Australia to pledge an initial $100 million to the newly established Loss and Damage Fund at COP28, to help impacted countries respond to climate induced loss and damage. 

Australia is lagging behind like-minded countries that have stepped up and put real money on the table to support communities to rebuild and recover from impacts of the climate crisis. Fifteen countries and the European Union have so far pledged USD $655.9 million to the Fund since its establishment last week. This includes a USD 100 million pledge from COP28 host, the United Arab Emirates, USD $100 million from Germany, and €100 million from Italy.

As a member of the Loss and Damage Transitional Committee, which was responsible for negotiating the establishment of the Fund, Australia has a particular responsibility to provide leadership by making an initial financial pledge and ensuring that funding is accessible to Pacific countries and communities.

ActionAid Australia Executive Director Michelle Higelin says:

“Australia’s support for the Loss and Damage Fund is critical in enabling the world’s poorest countries and communities to respond to climate-induced loss and damage. Women across the Pacific are stepping up to respond to climate change in their communities, but the funding gap is widening with every cyclone and flood. Communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis need real money, not an empty fund.

“As a wealthy and high polluting country, we have a clear moral obligation to resource the fund and support communities who have done the least to cause the climate crisis to rebuild and recover in the aftermath of climate disasters.”

Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Lyn Morgain says:

“Australia must join like-minded countries across the world in supporting the Loss and Damage Fund, with an initial pledge of $100 million. It's a modest, but absolutely critical show of support for this landmark agreement, which Australia has been constructive in helping to achieve. We must not drop the ball now on helping propel this fund forward.

“With inflation and the cost-of-living crisis, people across the world are struggling, but none more than in communities already living in poverty. Add to that more extreme cyclones, floods, droughts, fires, and sea level rise, and so many people are already at crisis point. We need to pay compensation for these climate change losses and damages immediately to stop people from falling into deeper poverty and inequality.”

Save the Children Australia CEO Mat Tinkler says: 

“One of the many tragedies of the climate crisis is that the repercussions will be most acutely experienced by children. The loss and damage to children’s lives and future livelihoods are one of the greatest intergenerational injustices today. 

“Save the Children welcomes the adoption of the Loss and Damage Fund at COP28, but also acknowledges much more must be done to ensure children’s rights are prioritised so that funds reach the most vulnerable people affected by the impacts of climate change.  

“With the Pacific the least culpable but one of the worst impacted by climate change, Australia must also be a strong voice for its neighbours on the global stage, to ensure adequate representation and access to funds.” 

You can view the open letter here

Notes to editor

The Loss and Damage Fund was established on 30 November as one of the first actions of COP28. The Fund is critical in supporting communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis to recover and rebuild after climate disasters. 

Australia does not currently provide any loss and damage funding. In November 2023, the Government announced its intention to contribute to the Pacific Resilience Facility. However, the Government has not confirmed how much funding it will contribute, or what proportion of this funding will be earmarked to respond to climate-induced loss and damage. Loss and damage funding needs for low-income countries are estimated at USD 400 billion a year. 

The most recent reports from the Australian Government indicate that Australia is on track to provide $3 billion in international climate finance between 2020-2025. This is an $1 billion increase from the initial commitment of $2 billion for the same period. However, it falls well short of Australia’s fair share of the global climate finance target of USD 100 billion per year in mitigation and adaptation funding, which is $4 billion annually.

For more information and interviews with ActionAid Australia spokespeople, please contact, Tim Brunero, 0405 285 547 / tim@hortonadvisory.com.au

For interviews with Oxfam Australia spokespeople, contact lucyb@oxfam.org.au / 0478 190 099

For interviews with Save the Children Australia spokespeople, contact media.team@savethechildren.org.au or Holly Robertson on 0414 546 656

 

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