UN climate negotiators are reported to be preparing for an agreement to set up a disaster fund

Negotiators at United Nations climate talks said on Saturday they had reached a potentially breakthrough deal on setting up a disaster fund to compensate poor countries hit by climate change damage exacerbated by rich nations’ carbon pollution.

The Associated Press quoted a number of international government ministers as saying that an agreement had been reached regarding the “losses and damages” fund.

Poor countries are often the victims of climate disasters even though they contribute minimally to pollution.

New Zealand Climate Minister James Shaw told the Associated Press that the poor countries that are going to get the money and the rich countries that are going to give it are on board.

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“There is an agreement on the losses and damages,” said Environment Minister of the Maldives Aminat Shona. This means that for countries like ours, we will have a mosaic of solutions that we have been calling for. “

A man walks past a presentation of videos addressed to world leaders at the COP27 United Nations Climate Summit, Saturday, November 19, 2022, in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
((AP Photo/Peter Dejong))

The low-lying Maldives and island states are disproportionately affected by the climate crisis, and the United Nations notes that they are often less resilient to disasters.

According to the latest draft, the fund will initially depend on contributions from developed countries and other private and public sources, including international financial institutions.

While the major emerging economies will not initially be required to contribute, this option remains on the table and will be negotiated over the coming years.

There will also be room for middle-income countries hit by climate disasters to receive assistance.

Xie Zhenhua, China's Special Envoy for Climate, met with members of the media at the COP27 United Nations Climate Summit, on Saturday, November 19, 2022, in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

Xie Zhenhua, China’s Special Envoy for Climate, met with members of the media at the COP27 United Nations Climate Summit, on Saturday, November 19, 2022, in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
((AP Photo/Olivia Zhang))

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If an agreement is accepted, it must still be approved unanimously later in the day.

China’s chief negotiator would not comment on a potential deal.

The New York Times reported that a Biden administration official said the US was “working to sign a deal,” reflecting decades of opposition.

China and the United States are the two largest carbon emitters.

Messages and drawings left behind are gathered at the youth pavilion at the United Nations COP27 Climate Summit, Saturday November 19, 2022, in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

Messages and drawings left behind are gathered at the youth pavilion at the United Nations COP27 Climate Summit, Saturday November 19, 2022, in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
((AP Photo/Peter Dejong))

After an agreement at the G20 summit, the White House said climate envoys from the two powerhouses resumed formal negotiations last week.

European negotiators told the AP they are ready to support the deal but will not say so publicly until the entire package is approved.

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The Egyptian presidency proposed a new deal on Saturday, and an agreement was reached within two hours, although Norway’s climate and environment minister, Espen Barth Eide, said the Egyptians weren’t working so much but countries were working together.

Other issues at the conference are still being worked out as negotiators head into what they hope will be their last session. The COP27 summit has been pushed beyond its scheduled conclusion on Friday as countries struggled to reach consensus.

Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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