Fossil Day 5: New Zealand’s midnight disappointment

Always a great idea to release low-ambition climate statements late on a Saturday night when everyone is partying and maybe too hungover. But our sharp-eyed CAN members weren’t going to let Aotearoa New Zealand’s regressive intervention on the loss and damage agenda item go unnoticed and unchallenged. 

In a few words: a huge letdown.

New Zealand says in its statement:

“Establishing a fund without certainty around what that means would require high levels of confidence that we have a shared understanding of what we are working on, and how.  Listening to the interventions, it doesn’t seem we have this.” 

“NZ has said previously we think this is urgent.  We committed funding this week to underscore that point.  But we also think we need to get this right.”  

“At this COP we have an opportunity to move toward the shared understanding we need by agreeing on a few principles that ensure a fund is as useful as possible.” 

New Zealand started off looking like a true climate leader at this COP when they announced off the bat NZD 20 million for loss and damage finance but this latest intervention is a shameful about-face exposing their true allegiances – with other laggard-rich nations. While it´s clear details have to be discussed on the structure of a facility by 2024, we cannot wait another year to adopt a decision at a COP for the need for a loss and damage finance facility.  

If New Zealand truly wants to position itself as an ally to the Pacific and other climate-vulnerable nations, it needs to listen to them. Developing countries need a finance facility now. 

About CAN: The Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of over 1100 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in more than 120 working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. 

About the Fossils: The Fossil of the Day awards were first presented at the climate talks in 1999, in Bonn, initiated by the German NGO Forum. During United Nations climate change negotiations (, members of the Climate Action Network (CAN), vote for countries judged to have done their ‘best’ to block progress in the negotiations or in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

About the Rays: CAN gives out the ‘Ray of The Day’ award to the countries who are a ray of hope for the negotiations at the UN climate change conference. 


Muhammed Lamin Saidykhan 

Head of Building Power

Climate Action Network


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