COP27 — a pyrrhic victory

Expectations of a world stunned by climate disasters were high from the annual political huddle at COP27.

Climate negotiators needed to stop arguing and start delivering.

In this context, the loss and damage fund was a critical outcome of COP27, but it came with a significant trade-off – a pyrrhic victory that forced attention away from the real problem of providing funds, instead of creating another fund.

The UNFCCC already has four funds under its wings – the Green Climate Fund, the Adaptation Fund, the Least Developed Countries Fund and the Special Climate Change Fund, the last three of which are dedicated to climate adaptation.

This new fund now adds to this battered list of largely unfunded funds.

All have been created in the last two decades and all have proven to be mere lollipops as they face the growing challenges of climate change.

What the developing countries needed was the realization of the funds already promised by the developed countries, the 100 billion dollars a year, which remains a dream, but what they were deceived was the creation of another new fund.

In an arena full of broken promises, the announcement of an unfunded fund should be little reason to trumpet overzealousness.

Ideologically, there is certainly a glimmer of renewed hope.

In solidarity with the most vulnerable, the fund universally accepts and supports the long-ignored principle of climate justice and reaffirms the “polluter pays” principle.

However, the last 28 years of climate negotiations have shown that principles do not generate funds and that the devil is always in the details.

These details, which will be revealed next year, will actually determine whether polluters will actually pay, whether climate damage to countries like Pakistan can be compensated through this fund, and whether the issue of climate reparations will actually form a template for attribution. financial responsibility only.

COP27 has just issued another promissory note with no collateral, which will remain a false hope with no actual money on the table.

For Pakistan, which is indeed reeling from ongoing climate disasters, there is little respite.

The climate damage affecting Pakistan cannot wait for these negotiations to conclude and funds to be funded.

The debt-ridden country is currently saddled with a climate bill exceeding $30 billion, with almost no relief available, and this has already pushed another 9 billion people into extreme poverty.

The latest estimates from the World Bank (CCDR) point out that 6.5 to 9% of the country’s GDP/year could be affected by climate change, with the cumulative need for climate finance rising to $348 billion by 2030 .

These are disheartening numbers and in the current economic scenario of Pakistan, a dire warning to say the least.

The victim card played incessantly by the Pakistani delegation at COP27 succeeded in galvanizing sympathy but unfortunately neither creates a platform to attract funding nor the concerns generated translate into support funds.

The window for climate concern in today’s world is small, and we may have already moved from Pakistan to the next country and the next climate disaster.

In contrast, last year at COP26 in Glasgow, Pakistan carved out a unique niche for itself by investing in nature-based solutions and doing so with its own funds and thereby displaying a strong solution-oriented political commitment.

This created the platform for catapulting Pakistan as a natural leader that attracted immense global traction.

She was chosen by UNEP to host World Environment Day and launch the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration, was selected by UNEP as one of three Global Champions of Forestry and by WEF as one of three Nature Leaders in Glasgow.

This invaluable reputation has been solidly built on real projects on the ground that enhance nature-based climate resilience, such as the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami, Protected Areas Initiative, Recharge Pakistan and Living Indus initiatives.

This platform has positioned the country to attract innovative climate finance through bilateral green MoUs with the US, UK, China, Saudi Arabia and Germany (Global Shield) and with other multilateral organizations such as the World Bank and ADB that wish to support nature. solutions based on -.

Recognizing Pakistan as a natural solution provider for the whole world, and not just a begging climate victim or beggar, had the lasting magnetism to attract climate finance and the model worked.

However, this position was eroded at COP27.

No one spoke of Pakistan as a leader of nature and the only incessant cry heard from the Pakistan flag was of unfortunate climate victimization.

COPs will come and go, but climate change has already crashed in Pakistan.

As the next year unfolds, so will a new climate finance architecture that will remain intrinsically linked to nature’s performance and improving climate resilience.

Pakistan has no choice but to align itself with this new, unfolding reality if it is to close the huge climate finance gap it inevitably faces.

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