As historic loss and damage fund victory kicks off COP28, cities and regions celebrate direct access to critical funding

Everyone will feel the effects of climate change, but it is the most vulnerable who will be hit the hardest. The critical role of local and regional governments as first responders to loss and damages incurred by climate change, as well as architects of building back better, needs to be acknowledged. 

The LGMA celebrates the announcement from the opening day of COP28 operationalizing the Loss and Damage fund, with commitments already coming from the UAE, USA, Japan and EU, led by Germany. By starting the COP with this announcement, the COP28 Presidency also opens the door to additional contributions through the two-week event. 

The established fund critically includes direct access for subnational governments. For cities and regions, subnational direct access to loss and damage funds is particularly important. Direct access would avoid long periods of application, review and approval for local and regional government projects and allow them to access larger volumes of climate finance. 

The Fund: 

  • Allows all developing countries to directly access resources, including through subnational, national and regional entities and through small grants funding for communities, consistent with policies and procedures to be established by the Board of the Fund and applicable safeguards and fiduciary standards;
  • Will promote, in all its operations, direct engagement with the national and, where appropriate, with subnational and local levels to facilitate efficiency and concrete results.
  • Gives direct access via subnational, national, and regional entities or in partnership with entities accredited to other funds, such as the GCF, GEF and the Adaptation Fund.

Subnational leadership has been pushing for this since COP26. The Scottish Government made the first commitment from the Global North to the loss and damage fund at COP26, hoping that would inspire others to follow. Two years later, that hope has come to pass. 

LGMA early position included loss and damage

The LGMA Constituency Position paper ahead of COP28 specified direction for the negotiations on the subject:


Recognize the leadership, commitment and expertise of subnational governments in countries and communities most affected by loss and damage resulting from climate impacts, particularly Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

Include LDCs and SIDS in the design and governance of the new Loss and Damage Fund to ensure that funds are accessible at local level and that they reach the most vulnerable communities. Incorporate local and indigenous knowledge regarding climate-friendly cultural norms, beliefs and daily household practices, and financial support mechanisms, to recover, rebuild and advance to resilient livelihoods, infrastructure and nature.

The more than EUR 400 m financially committed to the Fund are, however, far from enough. The loss and damage from climate change cost about $1.5 trillion in 2022 only, and countries of the Global South lost on average 8.3% GDP due to impacts of climate change in 2022. Further financing commitments are necessary to meet this financial gap. Also, there is an urgent need to further financially support the role and efforts of subnational governments in developing resilience building processes and the recovery and restoration of livelihoods, infrastructure and nature, despite limited budgets and independent sources of revenue. 

2023 LGMA and networks’ contributions to Loss & Damage dialogues

In March 2023, the Scottish Government released the report, Climate loss and damage: practical action. The report is a synthesis of different views and analyses of practical action for addressing climate loss and damage. It considers mobilizing and innovative finance, assessing needs and delivering actions. This report builds on the efforts of the Scottish Government since 2021, and directly feeds into their partnership announcement with C40 Cities at COP28 (watch the webcast).

The LGMA also delivered comments at the first UNFCCC workshop on addressing loss and damage in the context of decisions 2/CP.27 and 2/CMA.4 on 30 April 2023.

Additionally, the LGMA Loss and Damage Finance Working Group was created in May 2023 and co-led by C40, UCLG, Scotland and ICLEI.

Submissions were made by C40, Mayors Migration Council, ICLEI, UCLG and the Scottish Government as members of the LGMA Constituency to the 2nd Meeting of the Transitional Committee, 25-27 May 2023.

At the Civil Society Dialogue of the Co-Chairs and Members of the Transitional Committee, held on 31 August 2023 at the third meeting of the Transitional Committee, Pablo Mariani from UCLG delivered the LGMA intervention.
UCLG also launched initial discussions around its working paper on Loss and damage at COP28. UCLG’s plans to launch a consultation process towards a Coalition for the Local Loss and Damage perspective later next year at the Summit of the Future.