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Press release  •  4 min

COP28: groups welcome Canada’s initial pledge to the new loss and damage fund

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Dubai, December 1, 2023 - Canada’s announcement today at COP28 of a CAD $16 million contribution to the new loss and damage fund is a welcome move, but must be drastically ratcheted up to match the needs that Global South countries are facing, say civil society groups.

Agreement at COP27 to establish a fund to compensate for climate change-induced loss and damage was a major victory for those on the front lines of the crisis, facing the destruction of their homes, crops, and livelihoods. The details have been negotiated over the past year, and countries agreed yesterday to operationalize the fund – a big accomplishment for the first day of COP28.

This morning, Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault announced Canada would contribute $16 million to the fund, following in the footsteps of initial pledges yesterday from the UAE, UK, Germany, Japan, the US and the EU.

It’s an important symbolic step, following the bridging role Canada has played over the past 18 months in bringing other wealthy countries from its negotiation group along on the loss and damage fund. However, the amount pales in comparison to the scale of losses and damages Global South countries are experiencing, estimated at more than USD $400 billion per year. In contrast, Italy – currently led by a right-wing government – pledged 100 million Euros for the fund.

Climate and development organizations urge Canada and other big polluters to scale up their contributions in line with the responsibility they bear for causing climate impacts. Now, countries must strengthen the Fund through securing a meaningful outcome in the Global Stocktake and the post-2025 climate finance goal.

Pratishtha Singh, Senior International Policy Analyst, Climate Action Network Canada:

“It’s important that Canada is one of the first countries to step up to provide funding. But the amount is paltry in comparison with what’s needed. Canada must significantly scale up its contribution to be taken seriously as a partner to countries facing brutal climate impacts right now.”

André-Yanne Parent, Executive director, The Climate Reality Project Canada:

“Less than an hour. That’s only what Canada’s new pledge of $11.6 million will cover as the damage caused by the climate crisis through extreme weather has cost $16m an hour for the past 20 years, according to a recent report. Canada has come a long way in acknowledging that historical and contemporary responsibility, translated today in making this early pledge. Yet, the Loss and Damage Fund should not be seen as a fund for “charity” fund, but for levelling of responsibility for a fossil fuel-producing economy like ours. Following the historical operationalization of the fund on the first day of COP28, let’s continue in making history by building more trust in adequately filling the fund to respond to the pressing needs and priorities of developing countries.”

Laura Ullmann, head of climate, Greenpeace Canada:

“Early contributions get the ball rolling, and it’s good the Canadian government is committing early, but the fair share for the harm caused to those least responsible by the Canadian fossil fuel industry and other polluters is far greater. Guilbeault must commit to holding the profiteering polluters accountable through a climate damages tax and commit additional Canadian funds.”

Dana Stefov, climate justice policy and advocacy specialist, Oxfam Canada:

“Oxfam Canada applauds Canada’s $16M initial pledge to the new Loss and Damage Fund at the opening of COP28. Canada and other rich countries should continue to act in “solidarity” in operationalizing the fund. The world must unlock trillions, not billions or millions, to achieve climate justice for the most vulnerable. And provide this new and additional funding as grants, not loans, to avoid further indebting low-income countries. As the tenth largest economy and one of the most polluting, Canada can and must rise to the occasion. It’s time to #MakeRichPollutersPay.”

Julia Levin, Associate Director, National Climate, Environmental Defence Canada:

“We are pleased that Canada was one of the first countries at COP28 to contribute funds for loss and damage. Yet the amount committed is a very small fraction of what the government spends subsidizing oil and gas companies. So far this year, Canada has provided over $10 billion to the companies fueling the climate crisis – and causing loss and damage in the first place.”

Andréanne Brazeau, Climate Policy Analyst, Équiterre:

“The speed with which Canada announced its $16 million contribution to the new Loss and Damage Fund is testament to the shift it has made on this issue in recent years. Its leadership in creating the fund must now be replicated in terms of the sums offered, because these sums are still far from reflecting Canada’s share of responsibility in the climate crisis.”

Michèle Asselin, Executive Director, AQOCI:

“The announcement of the loss and damage fund at the very start of COP28 is very good news. However, we need to ensure that the funds invested are commensurate with needs, and that they reach the frontline communities that need them the most.”

Cathy Orlando, Director of Programs, Citizens’ Climate International:

“Frontline communities need billions to address loss and damage yet pledges came in millions of dollars. Polluters must be held accountable. Our safety is collective. Thus, until all are shielded from the ravages of global heating, none of us are safe.”

Shivani Patel, COO, EWB Canada:

“EWB Canada appreciates Canada’s $16 million pledge to the Loss and Damage Fund. We urge the government to ensure the pledge represents new and additional resources. With loss and damage estimated to exceed $400 billion annually in developing countries, a more substantial commitment is needed to meet the urgent challenges of the global climate crisis. EWB Canada is ready to work with the Canadian government to develop a more proportional and equitable response to support vulnerable nations.”

Gerardo Almaguer, President and CEO, Desjardins International Development (DID):

“I am very proud to see Canada playing a leading role in the promotion and implementation of this essential new fund. We must now ensure the effectiveness of this initiative by providing funding and support that reflect not only our intentions, but also our contribution to global climate change.”

Canada’s farthest-reaching network of organizations working on climate and energy issues, Climate Action Network – Réseau action climat (CAN-Rac) Canada is a coalition of 150 organizations operating from coast to coast to coast. Our membership brings environmental groups together with trade unions, First Nations, social justice, development, health and youth organizations, faith groups and local, grassroots initiatives.

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:

Vicky Coo, Communications Manager