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Stage set for conflict at Cop28 with mixed response to outcome of key climate talks

TENSE negotiations at the final meeting on an international fund to help poor countries hit the hardest by climate change ended on Saturday in Abu Dhabi.

Participants agreed that the World Bank would host the fund for the next four years.

But, the US and several developing countries expressed disappointment in the draft agreement, which will be sent for global leaders to sign at the Cop28 climate conference in Dubai later this month.

The US State Department said it was “pleased with an agreement being reached” but regretted that it does not make contributions to the fund voluntary.

The agreement lays out basic goals for the fund, including for its planned launch in 2024, and specifies how it will be administered and who will oversee it.

It also includes a requirement for developing countries to have a seat on the board, in addition to the World Bank’s role.

Avinash Persaud, a special envoy to Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley on climate finance, said the agreement was “a challenging but critical outcome. It was one of those things where success can be measured in the equality of discomfort.”

Mr Persaud negotiated on behalf of Latin America and the Caribbean in the meetings.

He said that failure to reach an agreement would have “cast a long shadow over Cop.”

Mohamed Nasr, the lead negotiator from Egypt, last year’s climate conference host, said: “It falls short on some items, particularly the scale and the sources (of funding), and (an) acknowledgment of cost incurred by developing countries.”

The demand for establishing a fund to help poor countries hit hard by climate change has been a focus of UN climate talks ever since they started 30 years ago, and was finally realised at last year’s climate conference in Egypt.

Since then, a smaller group of negotiators representing both rich and developing countries have met multiple times to finalise the details of the fund. Their last meeting in the city of Aswan in Egypt in November ended in a stalemate.

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