New Zealand push for global action at COP27 on climate loss and damage

Climate Change Foreign Affairs

Aotearoa New Zealand is supporting countries to deal with the impacts of loss and damage from climate change, as the UN climate conference COP27 gets underway in Egypt.

The Government has announced a dedicated allocation of NZ$20 million climate funding to address loss and damage in developing countries. It delivers on commitments to deal with the impacts of climate change that are not covered by funding for adaptation measures.

“Dedicated funding for loss and damage places Aotearoa New Zealand at the leading edge of wealthy countries who are supporting action to address loss and damage from climate change. It strongly signals our support for Pacific priorities,” said Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta.

“The loss of land and resources from sea-level rise is a well-known threat, but loss and damage for Pacific countries takes many forms. 

“We hear from our neighbours about climate impacts on freshwater systems, on plant and animal ecosystems, coastal waters and the ocean. It threatens the very basis of their lives. Loss and damage is happening to homes and crops and fisheries, but it also happens to cultures, languages, people’s mental health and their physical wellbeing,” said Nanaia Mahuta.

“As one of only three countries in the world to dedicate such funding – and with loss and damage on agenda for the first time at global climate negotiations in Egypt – today’s announcement sends an important signal about this Government’s commitment to global action to support communities to build a safe and fair future,” said James Shaw. 

“Comparatively wealthy countries like Aotearoa New Zealand have a duty to support countries most at-risk from climate change. The best way to do that is to cut climate pollution, but so too must we support communities to cope with the unavoidable impacts of the climate crisis. This funding will benefit communities in the Pacific and around the world.

“For decades, countries most at-risk from climate change, including communities in the Pacific, have called on developed nations to step up and provide support to minimise and address their loss and damage from climate change. These negotiations have been frustratingly slow, but now as one of only three countries to commit dedicated funding, New Zealand is taking a leading role to advance global action on loss and damage,” said James Shaw.

“Earlier this year the Prime Minister stood with Pacific Island Forum leaders in Fiji and declared a climate emergency. Today we stand again with our friends, neighbours and family in the Pacific, to deliver on our intent to address loss and damage directly,” said Nanaia Mahuta.

“There are areas of loss and damage that are of acute concern in the Pacific, such as rebuilding livelihoods after disaster, preservation of language and culture, and supporting communities who are forced to move as a result of climate change.

“International negotiations have in the past struck difficulties regarding calls for climate finance to deal with loss and damage, as some countries are concerned over what it means for liability and compensation. We are now amongst just a handful of countries to commit to this dedicated funding.

“COP27 is likely to discuss a centralised fund for international commitments for loss and damage. While New Zealand is not opposed to this, we also support a wide range of funding arrangements to make best use of our contribution. We will work with our partners, in particular Pacific governments, to support areas they identify as priorities,” said Nanaia Mahuta.

The dedicated loss and damage funding is allocated from the scaled-up climate finance commitment made in October 2021. Support to deal with loss and damage was identified as a priority in Tuia te Waka a Kiwa, New Zealand’s international climate finance strategy announced in August.

James Shaw leaves on Friday 11 November for the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, being held in Egypt.