Pakistan, Ghana and Bangladesh will be among the first recipients of funding from a G7 ‘Global Shield’ initiative to provide funding to countries suffering climate disasters, the programme announced on Monday at the COP27 summit in Egypt.
The Global Shield, coordinated by G7 president Germany, aims to provide rapid access for climate-vulnerable countries to insurance and disaster protection funding after floods or drought. It is being developed in collaboration with the ‘V20′ group of 58 climate-vulnerable economies.
A statement issued by Germany on Monday listed Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Fiji, Ghana, Pakistan, the Philippines and Senegal as some of the initial recipients of Global Shield packages.
Those packages would be developed in the coming months, Germany said.
Backed by 170 million euros ($175.17 million) in funding from Germany and 40 million euros from other donors including Denmark and Ireland, the Global Shield will in the next few months develop support to be deployed in countries when events occur.
Some countries and campaigners were cautious, however, concerned it risked damaging efforts to secure a substantive deal on financial help for so-called “loss and damage” – the UN jargon for irreparable damage wrought by global warming.
German development minister Svenja Schulze said the Global Shield aimed to complement, not replace, progress on loss and damage.
“It is not a kind of tactic to avoid formal negotiation on loss and damage funding arrangements here,” Schulze said. “Global Shield isn’t the one and only solution for loss and damage. Certainly not. We need a broad range of solutions.”
Some research suggests that by 2030, vulnerable countries could face $580 billion per year in climate-linked “loss and damage”.
Ghana’s finance minister Ken Ofori-Atta, who chairs the V20 group of vulnerable countries, called the creation of the Global Shield “long overdue”.
Yet some vulnerable countries questioned the scheme’s focus on insurance, with insurance premiums adding another cost to cash-strapped countries that have low carbon emissions and contributed least to the causes of climate change.
“We are not yet persuaded, especially of the insurance elements,” Avinash Persaud, Special Envoy on Climate Finance to Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, told Reuters.
“Using insurance is a method in which the victim pays, just in instalments in the beginning,” he said, adding that loss and damage finance should be grant-based.
It was not immediately clear how much of the Global Shield funding announced so far was in grant form.
Michai Robertson, a negotiator for the Alliance of Small Island States – which is championing calls for a new UN loss and damage fund in the talks this week – said even subsidised insurance premiums could enable insurance companies in wealthy countries to profit off poor and vulnerable nations’ suffering.
“There’s an inherent injustice about them profiting off of our loss and damage,” he said.