Sultan Al Jaber, Chairman of the United Arab Emirates’ Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and President of this year’s COP28 climate summit, shows a during an interview at the 7th Ministerial Conference on Climate Change (MoCA) in Brussels, July 13, 2023 Gesture.

Francois Walschaerts | Afp | Getty Images

United Nations officials failed to reach agreement in late-night talks on how to set up a reparations fund to deal with climate disasters in developing countries.

The “loss and damage fund” would require rich countries to finance recovery from climate disasters that have devastated developing countries and set them back on their sustainability goals.

The commitment to establish the fund was one of the highlights of last year’s UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) after a series of in-depth negotiations. Part of the agreement at COP27 was the establishment of an interim loss and damage committee to be responsible for negotiating the details of the establishment and operation of the fund.

The group included representatives from developing countries such as Pakistan, Egypt and Venezuela, as well as rich countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom.

The 24-member committee met four times last week to agree on official recommendations for implementing the fund. These recommendations were controversial last year and are expected to be finalized in time to be adopted at this year’s COP28, scheduled to take place in Abu Dhabi at the end of November.

At the start of the fourth meeting, Sultan Al-Jaber, COP28 director and UAE minister, urged representatives to increase the pace of their negotiations: “I don’t want this to be an empty bank account.” This committee must adopt its recommendations hand over.”

However, talks slowed as representatives failed to resolve differences over how the fund should be managed and who would pay for it.

The fourth meeting lasted into the late hours of Friday evening and early Saturday morning as committee members grew increasingly frustrated with the slow progress.

“I’ve been working on it all day with a cold, feeling like crap and wanting it to be impacted somewhere,” Diann Black-Layne, environmental director for Antigua and Barbuda, said at the meeting.

The meeting ended without a concrete solution and with a plan to convene a fifth meeting on the issue as the COP28 deadline approaches.

“What message do I take home with me?” said Ali Waqas Malik, representative of Pakistan. “They came empty-handed. There’s nothing on the table. No recommendations.”

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