Vulnerable nations warn COP27 success rests on climate damage fund

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt, Nov 17 (Reuters) - The COP27 climate summit in Egypt must establish a fund to help countries cope with the irreparable damage caused by climate disasters, ministers representing developing nations said on Thursday, warning that anything less would thwart the U.N. summit's chances of success.

Talks about creating - or at least committing to create - a "loss and damage" fund were put on the agenda for the first time in nearly three decades of COP climate summits where poorer nations have urged richer countries to act.

"Anything less than establishing a loss and damage fund at this COP is a betrayal of the people who are working so hard to clean up this environment," said Molwyn Joseph, Antigua and Barbuda's environment minister.

He was speaking at a news conference of ministers representing groups of developing countries in the U.N. climate talks. Antigua and Barbuda chair a bloc of small island states.

Climate Change Minister Ralph Regenvanu of Vanuatu, another island country threatened by rising sea levels, said the G77 group of 134 developing countries had discussed the option of walking out of COP27 if there was no decision on loss and damage.

"It was discussed as an option (but) the negotiations are fast and furious now... We want it announced here," Regenvanu said.

The first draft of a possible deal document for COP27 published earlier on Thursday mentions loss and damage, but it does not include details for actually launching a fund.

"We recognise that many aspects cannot be worked out while we are here...We just want a commitment to establish it. We can do everything else afterwards, but the commitment has to be established," Regenvanu said.

Pakistan's ambassador to South Korea, Nabeel Munir, said patience was running out as developing countries have been trying to convince richer countries for decades to pay up for climate damages caused by their emissions.

"If we can't even get a political signal 30 years later, then what are we all doing?...If we can't agree on loss and damage, then I think this COP will not be a successful COP," Munir said.

Reporting by Kate Abnett, Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Toby Chopra and Lisa Shumaker

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