Concern staff member at COP28 in Dubai

Concern’s response to COP28 agreement – a mix of cautious welcome and deep frustration

Concern Worldwide has cautiously welcomed elements of the COP28 agreement announced today, while also expressing frustration at the lack of urgency and fairness shown by global leaders in responding to the needs of some of the world’s low-income countries which are currently hardest hit by climate change. 

Concern Worldwide welcomes the Loss and Damage fund which was announced at the start of COP28, but will monitor its progress closely over the coming months.

“Contributions to the fund are voluntary and the $792 million announced to date represents just 0.2% of the estimated $400 billion bill for loss and damage globally,” Concern’s Advocacy Manager Sally Tyldesley said. “We need to see high-income countries deliver new funding for Loss and Damage, rather than move money around. This can’t just be an accounting exercise.”

Low-income countries severely impacted by climate change will be watching closely to see how this fund will operate, according to Afsari Begum, Concern Bangladesh Program Manager, who attended COP28.

“We are concerned that it will be managed by the World Bank and we want to ensure that funds are provided as grants, not loans,” she said. “We are also waiting to see details of how the funds will be accessed and what selection criteria will be used.”

Adaptation Funding

Concern Worldwide noted that today’s COP28 statement acknowledged the large and widening gap between what was needed for climate adaptation and what had been committed by countries. COP28 reiterated the call for high-income countries to at least double their adaptation finance commitments from 2019 levels by 2025.  It also urged high-income countries and other funders to mobilize support for low-income countries.

“Given the scale of devastation currently being caused by climate change in many low-income countries, the level of commitment by high-income countries for climate adaptation finance will be crucial,” Tyldesley said. “The focus of next year’s negotiations will be on agreeing a new collective climate finance goal – we need to see this adequately address the gap in adaptation funding. This will be critical for the people that Concern works with, who are already dealing with the impacts of climate change.”

Fossil Fuels

Concern Worldwide welcomes that COP28 agreed to transition away from fossil fuels in its final text for the first time. However, it does not include sufficient recognition that high-income countries should be moving first and faster, or the need to provide funding to help low-income countries transition.

A word from our CEO

"At COP28, there have been promising strides forward, but our frustration grows as decision makers seem to lack the urgency of this moment," Concern Worldwide US CEO Colleen Kelly said. "The current existential threat of climate change to low-income communities demands immediate action. We believe that with sufficient political will, the resources can be mobilized. If the same pattern of recurring droughts and floods were impacting high-income countries, we are confident that prompt funding and decisive actions would be swiftly agreed upon."