Denmark has emerged as the first United Nations Member country to pay vulnerable countries that have suffered “loss and damage” from climate change, following the country’s pledge to direct about $13 million to assist the cause
Head of the global political strategy at the nonprofit Climate Action Network, Harjeet Singh described Denmark’s pledge as “significant” while also pointing out that about a third of the promised funding will go to the InsuResilience Global Partnership, a U.N.-organized program through which private companies provide disaster insurance to those most vulnerable from climate change.
The landmark announcement came on Tuesday as world leaders and diplomats gathered in New York for the United Nations General Assembly.
Recall that U.N. Secretary General, António Guterres had called on nations to tax fossil fuel companies and use the revenue to help people struggling with climate change’s irreversible harms at the Assembly.
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Danish development minister Flemming Møller Mortensen, In a statement, said that a visit to flood-stricken areas of Bangladesh this spring was part of the reasons why the country decided to make the pledge.
He said, “It is grossly unfair that the world’s poorest should suffer the most from the consequences of climate change, to which they have contributed the least,” Mortensen said.
The pledge, according to an announcement from the Danish foreign ministry, includes 40 million Danish kroner — about $5.4 million — to work with civil society groups on helping communities adapt to climate change and addressing loss and damage, especially in Africa’s Sahel region.
Millions have also been earmarked for “strategic efforts” around loss and damage negotiations ahead of the upcoming talks in Egypt.
Loss and damage funding has long been a rallying cry for climate justice advocates and leaders from vulnerable countries, with wealthy nations, such as the United States, rebuffing those calls, worried that any kind of financial commitment would imply legal liability for climate change’s escalating toll.
Amid increasing destruction caused by climate change, such as the drought-fueled famine in East Africa and Pakistan’s recent deadly floods, however, the issue has gained traction.
Recall that some 400 activist groups released a letter this month demanding that finance for loss and damage be added to the agenda for this November’s U.N. climate negotiations in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
Although it pales in comparison to the financial toll wrought by climate change each year, activists say, Denmark’s investment remains the biggest yet as recovery from the floods in Pakistan alone is estimated to cost upward of $10 billion.
Story was adapted from the Washinton Post.