Loss and damage due to climate disasters had a moment in the spotlight during this week’s UN General Assembly in New York, with Pakistan calling for urgent action on flooding and Denmark pledging more than US$13 million in financing.
“While contributing only 0.8% to GHG emissions, Pakistan was consistently among the top 10 most vulnerable countries in the world vis-à-vis the impact of climate change,” Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari told a side meeting on loss and damage finance Monday. He said Pakistan’s catastrophic floods, which have killed more than 1,500 people, left one-third of the country under water, and were made 50% worse by climate change, “were a clear manifestation of the unprecedented frequency and intensity of extreme climate events.”
Early estimates put the cost of the flooding at US$30 billion, or 10% of Pakistan’s GDP, the SAMAA television network reports.
With Pakistan serving as this year’s chair of the G77 negotiating bloc, Bilawal urged countries to open up two new pathways for loss and damage financing, SAMAA says: getting loss and damage finance onto the agenda for the COP 27 climate summit coming up in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, and immediately developing a “standing debt restructuring modality” through the International Monetary Fund.
On Tuesday, Denmark said it would direct DKK 100 million, or more than US$13 million, to respond to loss and damage in the Sahel region of northwestern Africa and other vulnerable regions, Reuters reports.
“I am very happy that we have agreed to increase support for climate-related losses and damages,” Development Minister Flemming Møller Mortensen said in a statement. “It is grossly unfair that the world’s poorest should suffer the most from the consequences of climate change, to which they have contributed the least.”
With COP 27 set to convene on African soil in less than two months, international climate campaigners have declared Thursday, September 22 a Loss and Damage Action Day using the hashtag #PayUp4LossAndDamage.