loss and damage meloni italia


From the first day of the summit of Heads of State and Government at COP28, we could have expected anything except Italy arising as the first global donor of the new Fund to compensate for loss and damage, whose minimum operating rules were adopted by the COP only one day earlier.

Instead, on Friday, Prime Minister Meloni, after recalling the 4.2 billion euro Italian Climate Fund already launched in 2021 and 2022, announced an Italian contribution of 100 million to the new Fund (which currently seems independent from the other), thus equalizing the contributions of France and Germany, and surpassing that of the United States by more than five times.

On Loss and Damage, an announcement that comes as a surprise for various reasons.

First of all, for the Government’s sudden political overthrow on the issue of loss and damage, treated as residual (if not even as a taboo, as for many other Western countries) until COP27 last year, and then without any new or particular emphasis in recent months and during the summer intermediate negotiations in Bonn.

The agenda approved by the (government) majority in the Chamber of Deputies just before the start of COP28 indicated that something could have changed on the fly, we talked about it yesterday in this article on our website. In that text however, there were no references to figures or numerical objectives of any kind. From the combined reading of that parliamentary document and the press release of European Commissioner Hoekstra of the past November 13th, which indicated the European “and the Member States’” willingness to donate to the new Fund as a start-up contribution, we could grasp the possibility – considered however remote – of an Italian contribution, but certainly not of a Prime Minister who, as soon as she arrived at COP, made it a strong point of her presence.

In these hours numerous observers and journalists are trying to justify the sudden Italian availability on a topic, that of the Loss and Damage Fund, so dear to the most vulnerable countries (and in particular the African ones) but also to the Presidency of COP28, reviewing backwards all agreements and contracts stipulated by the Italian Government with the Emirates in the past months. In particular, it stands out an agreement between ADNOC, the Emirati oil company of which COP President Al Jaber is leader, the Italians SAIPEM and Maire Technimont with direct participation of ENI for the development of two natural gas fields offshore in the Emirates, a deal for 17 billion dollars. The announcement dates back to October 6th and represents just one of the opportunities for collaboration and dialogue that the Italian Government has certainly had with the Emirates approaching COP28. Perhaps it is risky at this stage, however, to imagine what the possible Emirati requests for loss and damage might have been (assuming there were any) during those negotiations.

The fact remains that the Italian Government has promised a contribution of 100 million euros.

The second factor of surprise with respect to Meloni’s announcement is precisely the figure, certainly not huge compared to the goal of mobilizing at least 100 billion dollars a year on that same Fund by 2030 as hypothesized by the Committee that oversaw the drafts during the summer, not large compared to the 4.2 billion euros over 5 years of the Italian Climate Fund (840 million euros per year until 2026), but extremely politically relevant in a context in which the main historical responsible for climate-changing emissions on a planetary level, the United States of America, announced their first contribution of just 17.5 million dollars on Thursday. Italy, with its 100 million euros, stands as the first global donor on equal terms with Berlin and Paris.

To understand how “out of scale” everything is, so to speak, we should remember that from the unification of Italy up to 2021 our country has produced approximately 25 billion tons of CO2, Germany almost four times as much, the United States over sixteen times as much and today our country, on the other hand, promises to donate to a fund which – not by written rule, but by ethical principle – should at least partially respond to a principle of historical responsibility more than five times bigger than what Washington promised. Net of possible disputes arising from this financial availability.

Immagine che contiene testo, schermata, linea, Diagramma

Descrizione generata automaticamente

(figure: Our World in Data, last accessed December 2023)

It should be noted that the idea of asking the Government to commit to a start-up donation of at least 100 million euros had emerged in the parliamentary debate in the Chamber just last week, when the figure appeared for the first time in a proposal from the Democratic Party; the discussion then concluded with the approval of the aforementioned text by the majority which however did not contain any specific financial indications.

The figure proposed by the Democratic Party and then actually announced by Meloni, seemed appropriate to push for a first contribution, although obviously initial and partial, also in a first analysis by the Italian Climate Network which had compared it to the contributions announced by other European countries last year for the Global Shield initiative, unlike other entities which had instead remained more prudently around 50 million euros – in any case almost certain, like us, that it wouldn’t have been much more than a wishful thinking.

We should understand, in the next few days, what the exact source of financing will be to support this donation and how the Government intends to proceed with the disbursement once the Fund will be launched.

Certainly, since this Friday, the Government led by Meloni has marked an unexpected change of pace – thanks or not to any political and negotiating quibbles between Rome and the Emirates – and, in general, COP28 can look to the next few days with what is now a certainty, namely that on the issue of the Loss and Damage Fund the Emirates Presidency has not only decided to invest, in continuity with the Egyptian one and supporting the G77 negotiating group, but rather has already invested abundant political capital approaching the COP, artfully prepared to draw attention to this issue at least in this initial phase.

Article by Jacopo Bencini, Policy Advisor, European and Multilateral Climate Policies 

Italian Climate NetworkCover image: YouTube Palazzo Chigi

You are donating to : Italian Climate Network

How much would you like to donate?
€10 €20 €30
Would you like to make regular donations? I would like to make donation(s)
How many times would you like this to recur? (including this payment) *
Name *
Last Name *
Email *
Additional Note