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Dec 4, 2023

Loss and Damage Fund Pledges “Chump Change”

COP28 in Dubai has seen pledges to the Loss and Damage Fund totaling just over six hundred million dollars, a sum dismissed by leaders from small island developing states (SIDS) as “chump change.” While acknowledging the positive aspect of pledges, leaders of the region say the monies need to be mobilized, as vulnerable countries like Belize continue to be adversely impacted by the effects of Climate Change. News Five’s Hipolito Novelo is at COP28 in Dubai and has the latest on the Loss and Damage Fund.


Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

So far sixteen countries have pledged a little over six hundred million dollars to the Loss and Damage fund. This according to the Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is chump change compared to the trillions of dollars needed by small island developing states (SIDS) to recover from the devastating effects of the climate crisis.


Ralph Gonsalves

Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

“Well you’ll have to educate me. Not a great deal of pledges made by the big polluters. I know the UAE made a significant pledge. I know Germany has made but the number, as of last night when I went to bed it was under five hundred million dollars. I wouldn’t call that significant. I would call that chump change.”


Hipolito Novelo

“I believe we need trillions of dollars every year for loss and damage.”


Ralph Gonsalves

“But, that’s chump change and you see, they establish the fund last year without any money. Fund without any money is an oxymoron. Now, very little money, I mean Belize would probably get five hundred thousand out of that to go study of something or the other. It is really, until we start to see money roll in I am not, you don’t see me dancing in the streets yet in that.”


Funding discussions consistently play a central role at COP28 in Dubai. The inherent injustice of the climate crisis lies in the fact that the poorest and most vulnerable communities, despite contributing the least to the issue, bear the brunt of its impacts initially and most severely. And at COP28, affluent nations face pressure to rebuild trust with their developing counterparts. This comes in the wake of a failure to meet the $100 billion per year target on time. Belize’s Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance Christopher Coye says this is critical for SIDS like Belize.


Christopher Coye

Christopher Coye, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance

“Belize is one of those countries, one of the highest risks as far as climate risk is concern. We have hurricanes hitting us every other year. We have floods that result from these climate events. Even droughts that we suffer from. So, how do we address these climate vulnerabilities really comes down to money. So climate finance plays that role for us.”


And like many Caribbean leaders, Minister Coye says that while the pledges are good news, there must be a follow through.


Christopher Coye

“The discussions we had in the past were in the billions of dollars. Now we are talking trillions of dollars. I think one of the most recent figures is that we need to start spending or investing upwards of two and a half trillion dollars a year to adequately build climate resilience in this context of adverse climate change. So it’s always encouraging to hear of the pledges but we need the follow through. We always need the follow through. The experience we had with the developed countries of pledging to contribute a hundred billion dollars a year from way back to 2015. I don’t know if that was achieve until around 2022. So that I think is one of the biggest challenges for us from pledges to actual commitments.”


Barbados Prime Minister Mia Amor Motley at the Barbados Pavilion underscoring how decisions taken with respect to climate change impact the individual household.


Mia Amor Motley

Mia Amor Motley, Prime Minister of Barbados

“We recognize our challenge with the climate crisis will take us from the quality of roofs that our houses have particularly our low income housing stock where after the 1955 hurricane Janet there was a practice of building house with flat roofs because there were not enough carpenters left who did not understand the physics of the thrusts and how to build able roofs and everyone who could hold a hammer all of a sudden became a shelter just because shelter was urgently needed. What they discovered in Dominica is telling, that those properties  that were built according to higher standards actually withstood the impacts of Maria and Irma.”


Reporting from COP28 in Dubai, Hipolito Novelo, News 5.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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