SHARM EL SHEIKH, 20th November, 2022 (WAM) -- Negotiators at a global climate conference in Egypt on Sunday agreed to create a long-sought fund to compensate climate-vulnerable countries, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) reported.
The payment of reparations to poorer countries for damage caused by climate change was one of the thorniest issues at the two-week conference.
According to dpa, the agreement is seen as a big win for low-income countries that often bear the impacts of climate change though they have contributed the least to causing it.
The approval of the funding came at a final plenary session and drew applause from delegates.
The conference, known as COP27, also saw delegates ratify a final declaration during a session that ran into the early hours of Sunday in Egypt's coastal resort of Sharm El Sheikh.
The decision to create the climate damage fund drew instant praise.
Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), said it was an important step towards justice.
"I welcome the decision to establish a loss and damage fund and to operationalize it in the coming period," he said in a video recording posted on his Twitter account.
"Clearly this will not be enough, but it is a much-needed political signal to rebuild broken trust," he added.
UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell called the COP27 outcome "historic."
Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, the conference's president, told delegates the outcome was a testament to the fact that "multilateral diplomacy still works."
Pakistan's Climate Minister, Sherry Rehman, said the fund was "a down payment in the investment in our joint future."
Pakistan experienced devastating and deadly floods this year.
The European Union's top climate official Frans Timmermans was critical of the outcome, however.
"What we have in front of us is not enough of a step forward for people and the planet," he told the final session.
He added that the outcome does not address the "yawning gap between climate science and our climate policies."
Referring to cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, Timmermans said, "The EU came here to get a strong language agreed and we are disappointed we didn't achieve this."
The creation of the fund was an "important" step for rebuilding trust with vulnerable countries, the president of environmental think tank World Resources Institute, Ani Dasgupta, said.
"In a historic breakthrough, wealthy nations have finally agreed to create a fund to aid vulnerable countries that are reeling from devastating climate damages," Dasgupta said.