COP28 ends with progress on loss and damage, Santiago network and transition away from fossil fuels

Source(s): United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction
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13 December 2023 – As the gavel came down today at the closing of The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), a crucial agreement was reached on “transitioning away from fossil fuels” signaling an important step forward for the deep emissions cuts and scaled-up finance needed to deliver a safe climate.  This came as part of the decision on the world’s first ‘global stocktake’ to ratchet up climate action before the end of the decade – with the overarching aim to keep the global temperature limit of 1.5°C within reach. The global stocktake also calls for better coherence with disaster risk reduction and improving universal coverage of early warning systems. 

Important progress was also made on the Loss and Damage Fund, the new framework on adaptation action, and the selection of UNDRR and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) as the hosts of the Santiago network secretariat to “avert, minimize and address loss and damage” from the impacts of climate change.

Commenting on the announcement to host the Santiago network, Loretta Hieber Girardet, Chief of the Risk Knowledge Branch at UNDRR, said: 

“UNDRR has decades of experience in helping countries prevent disasters. Together combined (with UNOPS) we will be able to deliver for the countries in need. The good news is the funds have already been pledged, we are already providing this type of support so it’s just a question of really starting the work”

 

In a joint UNDRR and UNOPS statement as the decision was formally adopted, both organisations acknowledged: 

“There are high expectations for the Santiago network to quickly become fully operational, delivering tangible benefits at local, national, and regional levels. Leveraging our distinct strengths, technical expertise of UNDRR, and operational capacity of UNOPS, we pledge to focus our efforts on putting in place the mechanisms to make this happen.”

The decision text as adopted is available here in 6 UN languages.

The Santiago network

The Santiago network, established in December 2019 at COP 25, plays a crucial role in addressing climate change impacts in developing countries. It  focuses on catalyzing technical assistance from various organizations, bodies, networks, and experts. It aims to support developing countries in averting, minimizing, and addressing loss and damage caused by climate change. Its mandate includes facilitating access to knowledge, resources, and technical assistance needed to address climate risks comprehensively.

The Parties agreed on the institutional arrangements to operationalize the Santiago network for Loss and Damage. This agreement indicates a structural and functional link between the Santiago network and the Loss & Damage Fund. The network is envisioned to play a key role in catalyzing the technical assistance necessary for the effective use of the fund. This link is expected to enhance the capacity of vulnerable countries to address the losses and damages they face due to climate change.

Pledges made to the Santiago network as at 6 December 2023 include the European Union and its member States Denmark, Germany, Ireland and Luxembourg, and by Switzerland and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, amounting to approximately $40.7 million.

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