This is Supposed to be the Loss and Damage COP

13 December 2019

Clearly, on climate action, and especially on loss and damage, the global situation and the political situation are sadly out of sync. Here at the COP we started with a great deal of optimism. However, a COP that was perceived as an opportunity to reshape and strengthen the WIM looks now to have been a false promise. The urgency that we are seeing, with unprecedented climate impacts and with marchers on the streets demanding action, has not resonated with those shaping the language in the negotiating rooms. For almost two weeks in the corridors of IFEMA, we have not seen the commitment from Parties that the global community is expecting. So, as we enter the final official day of negotiations, here are some suggestions for developed and developing countries.

Developed countries:

Really, you need to try harder. This COP was supposed to be the moment to demonstrate your solidarity with those on the frontline of the crisis that you caused, and address loss and damage. In these final days before the Paris Agreement becomes operational, you have the opportunity to show leadership and demonstrate that you really meant it when you said finance could be provided on a cooperative and facilitative basis for loss and damage. This would – obviously – require you to cooperate! But instead you have been practicing your sneaky and underhand negotiating skills, creating diversions and divisions in an attempt to derail the process. You argue that the WIM cannot talk about loss and damage finance as that it is the standing committee on finance’s responsibility.  But at the same time, you argue in the SCF that it is essential to get a mandate from the WIM ExCom. Of course, this is in line with your consistent and irresponsible insistency that there is no mandate for finance on loss and damage. To help you get this straight, ECO recommends you read Article 8 of the Paris Agreement, the 2/CP19, or just look out of your window and maybe at the news. Your mandate is marching in the streets, demanding solidarity and action. Your mandate is the climate refugees arriving on your doorstep. You are better than this – and you still have time to prove it.

Developing countries:

For developing country negotiators, we have a clear and simple message: we have your back! Your citizens, those on the frontlines of climate change, need you to stand strong. Do not allow yourselves to be rolled over by developed countries who want to shirk their responsibilities. The escalating costs of loss and damage require a global response, and civil society will not allow the developed world and the polluting industries to get off scot free. Compensation may be unpalatable to many negotiators, but if they continue to fail to act compassionately (and also in line with their obligations), then litigation is waiting around the corner. Litigation + people power = change. We can either get that change here, or we can push for it in Glasgow. The climate emergency demands solidarity, and this require systems change, not climate change.

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