Caritas Australia welcomes the establishment and financing of the Loss and Damage Fund at COP28

Formal opening of COP28 in Dubai. Photo Credit UNFCCC.

Day one of COP28 saw United Nations (UN) member organisations agree to a model for the Loss and Damage Fund with international governments pledging $400million in financial commitments. 

Caritas Australia is on the ground at the annual conference, with a new report ‘Unheard, Uncharted: A holistic vision for addressing 'non-economic' loss and damage’.  

At COP27 in 2022 world leaders came to a breakthrough agreement to provide loss and damage funding for vulnerable countries hit hard by climate disasters. The fund acknowledges that developing nations are the most heavily impacted by climate change, despite having contributed the least to historic emissions. 

These nations now face financial barriers to establishing much needed climate adaption and resilience measures. Widespread ‘non-economic’ losses are also a key concern, meaning the loss of assets that cannot simply be purchased like for like, such as health, community, and ways of life. 

Caritas Australia Chief Executive Officer Kirsty Robertson said of the Loss and Damage fund “Australia needs to back up its renewed engagement with the Pacific not just with words but with actions. Showing leadership on Loss and Damage means making an early and substantial commitment to the fund, just as the EU is doing at COP28, to show confidence in it and generate wide support.  

“And what our Pacific partners are telling us is that Australia needs to speak up to ensure the fund covers ‘non-economic’ loss and damage too: the massive impacts to people’s lives, homes and health wrought by climate change, and the cultural and spiritual loss that accompanies it.”  

To support the ‘Unheard, Unchartered’ report, Caritas Australia asked Australians how much they understand and think about the ‘non-economic’ impacts of climate change at home and abroad. 9 in 10 Australians said they care about ‘non-economic’ loss and damage caused by climate change, with respondents also stating they think about this more than economic loss.   

3 in 4 also consider the displacement of people due to climate change to be an important issue, with many wanting to see politicians do more. 

Developed alongside Caritas Internationalis, Catholic Relief Services and The Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund, the ‘Unheard, Unchartered’ report calls for the ‘non-economic’ impacts of climate change to be acknowledged, measured, and funded as part of the Global Stocktake process and the enacting of the Loss and Damage Fund.