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14 Nov 2022, 13:20
Julian Wettengel

G7 climate disaster support pledge ‘good start’, but distraction from real loss and damage fund – NGOs

Clean Energy Wire / Deutsche Welle

The G7’s strong economies have launched a scheme to quickly provide financial support to countries most vulnerable to climate risks in case of a disaster – the Global Shield Against Climate Risks – at the UN climate talks COP27 in Egypt. Launched with the Vulnerable 20 Group of Finance Ministers (V20), the system intends to fill gaps where support is needed immediately after a disaster through pre-arranged financing, which then kicks in. It does so through a wide array of instruments, including livelihood protection, social protection systems, insurances – for example on livestock and crops – and credit guarantees. “Germany stands by its responsibility to support poor and vulnerable people and countries in dealing with loss and damage,” said German development minister Svenja Schulze, adding that the country aimed to be a bridge-builder. Germany will initially provide 170 million euros, and further pledges include 20 million euros from France, 4.7 million euros from Denmark, 10 million euros from Ireland, and 10 million dollars from Canada. The money dedicated so far is a “good start”, David Ryfisch from NGO Germanwatch told Deutsche Welle, but in terms of the “magnitude that we're looking at of expected loss and damage, it's really just a kick-starter.”

Critics say that the scheme serves as a “distraction” from talks on a more comprehensive agreement at COP27 to support developing countries dealing with losses and damages resulting from climate change. Rich countries, which are most responsible for global warming, have so far avoided real financial commitments. As part of its G7 presidency, Germany had pushed the idea of the Global Shield, which was decided on at the summit in Bavaria in June. The country traditionally plays a comparatively strong role in climate finance for poorer countries. However, its 170-million-euro contribution is “only a drop in the ocean” of what is necessary, NGOs said

The first recipients of Global Shield packages – called “Pathfinder countries” – include Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Fiji, Ghana, Pakistan, the Philippines and Senegal. “We really hope the Global Shield will not only yield impact for the most vulnerable communities, but that it will also contribute to building mutual trust and understanding to help bridge the resourcing gaps facing climate action,” said Ghana’s finance minister Ken Ofori-Atta, who also chairs the V20.

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