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Denmark will direct about $13 million to vulnerable nations that have suffered “loss and damage” from climate change, becoming the first country in the United Nations to do so, the Washington Post reported.
Danish Development Minister Flemming Møller Mortensen made the announcement Tuesday as world leaders gathered at the UN General Assembly in New York this week.
Mortensen said the move was inspired by a visit to flood-stricken areas of Bangladesh in the spring. He noted that it was “grossly unfair” that poorer nations were facing the brunt of the effects of climate change, adding that they had contributed “the least” to the problem.
Environmental advocates and leaders of vulnerable countries have been calling for loss and damage funding for years. Many wealthy nations, including the US, have rejected those demands over concerns that any financial commitment would imply legal culpability for the growing toll of climate change.
Calls for loss and damage funding have recently increased amid a drought-fueled famine in East Africa and Pakistan’s recent catastrophic floods. About 400 activist groups issued a letter this month demanding financing for loss and damage be added to the agenda for this November’s UN climate negotiations in Egypt.
So far, only Scotland and the Belgian region of Wallonia have pledged to contribute to the fund. The pledges were made during the 2021 UN climate summit in Scotland.
Climate justice activists welcomed Denmark’s move, but said that the amount pales in comparison to the damage wrought by climate change.
Harjeet Singh of the non-profit Climate Action Network cautioned that one-third of the funds will go to the InsuResilience Global Partnership, a UN-organized program that involves private companies providing disaster insurance to communities most vulnerable to climate change.
He warned that the setup “will create business for European corporations in developing countries, eventually making vulnerable people pay for the premium(s) toward losses and damages from climate disasters.”