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Tuesday 31 January 2023 Dublin: 8°C
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Eamon Ryan made lead EU negotiator on crucial issue at COP27
The minister is representing the EU in talks on loss and damage supports, which he said will be “difficult” and “protracted”.

MINISTER FOR CLIMATE Eamon Ryan has been made a lead negotiator for the EU at COP27 on the important issue of supports for developing countries.

In the final days of the UN climate conference, the minister is representing the European Council in loss and damage negotiations that are looking at how rich, heavy-emitting countries will support those that are the most affected and least responsible for the climate crisis.

Minister Ryan arrived at the conference on Monday as it entered its second week. 

It is due to end on Friday but may extend into the weekend.

Speaking to reporters at the conference this afternoon, the minister said that an EU coordination meeting this morning considered a proposal on loss and damage from the G77 on loss and damage.

The G77, which includes over 130 developing countries, and China put forward a proposal to create a specific fund and a committee with 35 members representing developed and developing countries to meet four times a year.

“We take the positive things out of it, but there are elements that we found very difficult,” Minister Ryan said.

He said he believed that specific prioritisation must be given to countries most vulnerable to the climate crisis rather than including wealthier countries such as China under a blanket arrangement.

“It was agreed at the European Union coordination meeting that we would try to draft our own alternative proposals taking what’s good in that G77 proposal but really being much more specific, protecting the most vulnerable, involving not just states but other actors to help provide for loss and damage.

“[The EU is] looking as well at an ecosystem of financial funding mechanisms, not just one fund,” he said.

“I was asked by the European Council to represent the Council on the loss and damage negotiations. I’m honoured to do that.”

He said the EU must build trust with negotiating countries and show it is “serious about providing the greatest possible support for particularly the most vulnerable countries”.

“The key task is to turn that intent into a common text that people can rally behind.

“It will be difficult, it will be probably protracted over the next two days. But we’re committed to doing whatever we can to help our union and deliver a good outcome.”

Last year, at COP26 in Glasgow, developing countries called for a finance facility to be established but the US and EU would not get on board.

Activists are concerned that significant progress on establishing a dedicated loss and damage fund has not been made at this COP, fearing that developed countries will again push the issue to the margins.

Trócaire Head of Advocacy and Policy Siobhan Curran said in a statement that “so far at COP we have seen pledges of finance, but these are a relabelling of previous promises”.

“It’s deeply unfair that the world’s poorest countries are being forced to divert much needed public finance for sustainable development into dealing with crises and are incurring massive debt,” Curran said.

“This is not good enough. Developing countries want a decision to create a fund for loss and damage.

“Instead developed countries are calling for more time to assess the current support landscape, coordinate relevant actors and institutions and to identify gaps and possible sources of funding. Developing countries see this as kicking the can down the road.”

She said it is a matter of justice for Ireland and the EU to play a leadership role on loss and damage funding.

“A commitment to a finance facility will be key to the success of this COP.

“Further delay on this issue is a denial of climate justice and lacks the urgency that is needed to deal with escalating climate crises that people in the Global South are experiencing right now.”

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