Gaea Katreena Cabico – Philstar.com
November 16, 2022 | 7:52 a.m
BALI, Indonesia — The Philippines will be among the first countries to receive financial assistance from a program aimed at funding communities suffering from climate-related disasters, but groups have questioned the initiative’s effectiveness.
The Group of Seven (G7) and Vulnerable 20 Group of Finance Ministers (V20) of countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change launched the Global Shield at the start of the COP27 climate summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt against Climate Risks” launched its last week.
The program aims to provide “pre-arranged financial support that can be deployed quickly in times of climate disaster.”
In addition to the Philippines, the first recipients of Global Shield packages include Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Fiji, Ghana, Pakistan and Senegal.
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The program consists largely of an insurance policy that pays out immediately – or even before – a climate catastrophe occurs.
However, some Filipino activists stressed that the program is insufficient to cover the “losses and damage” vulnerable communities have already suffered from a warming planet.
“Definitely, the Global Shield is not sufficient to cover the losses and harms to peoples and communities from the Global South,” Lidy Nacpil, coordinator of the Asia Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development, told Philstar.com.
Loss and damage, or how prosperous economies should compensate developing countries for climate-related disasters, is a sensitive issue in climate change negotiations. For years, countries made rich from burning fossil fuels that are warming the planet have resisted setting up a Losses and Damages Fund for fear of climate liability.
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“We can understand why governments of vulnerable countries are accepting the Global Shield as part of the Global North’s response due to the urgency of the needs. But we are sure that the governments of vulnerable countries will not be content with that. They are asking for more,” Nacpil added.
Joy Reyes, human rights and climate justice advocate at the Manila Observatory, called the program a “distraction.”
“[It] will encourage rich countries to delay financing. It is requested that a facility be set up to finance losses and damages. Insurance plays a small role in dealing with loss and damage,” she said.
The Global Shield is designed to provide livelihoods, social protection systems, livestock and crop insurance, and property insurance.
The financing has initial funding of more than $200 million.