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The Lead negotiator on Finance and Loss and Damage for the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), Michai Roberson is among the long list of officials welcoming the adoption of a loss and damage fund that was brokered on the first day of Cop28 talks.
The blueprint for the new agreement will involve setting up a fund under the auspices of the World Bank at first, able to disburse money to developing countries and funded by rich industrialized nations, emerging economies, and fossil fuel-producing countries, such as China, Gulf states and the Cop28 host country, the United Arab Emirates.
Roberton played an important role in ensuring that the fund was placed on the agenda during Antigua and Barbuda’s tenure as AOSIS Chair.
In a state media interview, he said he was feeling a sense of relief to have the fund fully adopted and the next phase will be to build out the fund and pledges here and there.
“The feeling, though is again a bit of the sweet which is the yes, we have done it, yes people have bought into it. And then, there is the part of we need to push with some really hard work about getting money into the villages of Antigua that need it and to the people of all the other smaller islands to get resources on the ground,”
He said the first step going forward is to ensure that there is a body in place to deal with all the policies that are needed to manage this fund and that can make the decisions on this funding proposal.
In addition to these measures, there will be the need to hold concurrent discussions with the World Bank which will be playing a huge part in this fund.
“The World Bank is currently going through a lot of changes and reforms because it is currently not fit for purpose for meeting the challenges we face as Small Island Developing States with sustainable development and more so Climate Change.
“Its going to be a tense year next year, but we look forward to constituting the team”, Robertson said.
The COP28 meetings provide a crucial platform for world leaders, policymakers, and experts to exchange insights, negotiate agreements, and strategize on mitigating climate change and fostering environmental sustainability on a global scale.
Chief Environment Officer Ambassador Diann Black Layne has also expressed elation over the establishment of the fund noting that it took a lot of work to get to this stage.
“This is one of our best chances to get the fund, we clearly articulated the text that has a carve-out in the fund just for Small Island Developing States. So, we think that this time this fund will be able to provide us with some support that we need before an extreme weather event and after an extreme weather event,” Black Layne said.