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Monday, 10 December 2012

Doha clears way for 'damage aid' to poor nations

Poor countries have won historic recognition of the plight they face from the ravages of climate change, wringing a pledge from rich nations that they will receive funds to repair the "loss and damage" incurred. This is the first time developing countries have received such assurances, and the first time the phrase "loss and damage from climate change" has been enshrined in an international legal document.
However, the pledges stopped well short of any admission of legal liability or the need to pay compensation on the part of the rich world. Ruth Davis, political adviser at Greenpeace said: "This [text] is just the beginning of the process – you need to have a finalised mechanism. But it will concentrate minds on the fact that it is in the best interest of countries all over the world to start cutting their emissions quickly."
The US had strongly opposed the initial "loss and damage" proposals, which would have set up a new international institution to collect and disperse funds to vulnerable countries. US negotiators also made certain that neither the word "compensation", nor any other term connoting legal liability, was used, to avoid opening the floodgates to litigation – instead, the money will be judged as aid.
Key questions remain unanswered, including whether funds devoted to "loss and damage" will come from existing humanitarian aid and disaster relief budgets. Another question is how the funds will be disbursed. Developing countries wanted a new institution, like a bank, but the US is set against that, preferring to use existing international institutions. These issues will have to be sorted out at next year's climate conference, in Warsaw, where they will be bitterly contested.

Source: Euractiv

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