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COP27: Health bodies urge countries to establish Damage Fund for climate change

As COP27 ends on Friday, the Global Climate and Health Alliance has charged countries to set up a Loss and Damage fund under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The coalition comprises more than 130 organizations from around the world, committed to tackling climate change and protecting public health.

While the G77 and China are keen to agree on the establishment of a fund at COP27, Canada, the European Union (UN), and the United States (US) are pushing for a further two years to review the context.

Jeni Miller, Executive Director of the coalition, warned that a two-year delay to assess whether or not to create a dedicated Loss and Damage fund would be unacceptable.

Miller highlighted the urgency of the crisis and the delays that lower-income countries have already endured in receiving aid to combat climate effects.

The director said before COP27 closes, governments of developed/high-income countries must prioritize the establishment of the fund to assist lower-income countries.

“Vulnerable and impacted countries desperately need these funds to compensate for the impacts on people’s health and wellbeing, as they respond to climate crises not of their making”, Miller added.

Networks and Engagement Lead, Jen Kuhl noted that health workers worldwide are seeing the human face of loss and damage.

She said malaria is being reported in the highlands of Uganda, where it was previously unseen, while floods in Pakistan and elsewhere destroyed health centres and homes and displaced millions of people.

Kuhl stressed that vulnerable nations have been calling for increased recognition of losses and damages for years.

With extreme weather up in frequency and intensity, the activist urged developed countries to implement a Loss and Damage fund.

Policy Lead, Jess Beagley said there’s still no progress with regard to comprehensive and accountable mechanisms to deliver the type of funding required.

He called for new funding in addition to the existing climate finance for mitigation and adaptation and wider development assistance.

“Reallocating funding away from mitigation and adaptation to loss and damage only makes subsequent losses and damage more inevitable.”

Beagley added that loss and damage finance must be delivered in the form of grants, not loans that increase the foreign debt of developing countries.

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