The United Nations has set a date for crunch talks over funding for climate victims despite Asia-Pacific developing countries’ failure to nominate their two representatives.
The move piles pressure on the block to choose its members or risk the world’s biggest continent going unrepresented at talks on setting up a loss and damage fund.
At last November’s Cop27 climate summit, governments agreed to set up a fund for vulnerable communities hit by climate disaster – a breakthrough after years of stalemate.
They said a 24-member transitional committee should work out the details of this fund, such as who pays, who benefits and who oversees how money is spent on the ground, ahead of the next major conference in Dubai.
Governments agreed to nominate the committee’s members, which are carefully divided on geographic and wealth lines, by 15 December.
But they were slow to pick their members. Two months after the deadline, just ten of the 24 had been chosen.
According to the UN's website, the Asia-Pacific group of developing countries has yet to pick its two nominees.
A source with knowledge of deliberations said seven Asia-Pacific governments wanted their candidates chosen.
These delays have sparked fears that the process, and much-needed funding for climate victims, would be delayed.
Saleemul Huq, a Bangladeshi climate scientist and veteran of all 27 Cop talks, said the delay was “certainly worrying” and “will leave very little time for the work [the committee] must do before Cop28”.
But, according to a document seen by Climate Home dated yesterday, the UN's climate division told committee members that the meeting would happen on 27-29 March in Egypt.
The committe's rules have yet to be drawn up but the UN's rules generally mean meetings can take place and make decisions with two-thirds of members present.
So the meeting could take place without nominees from Asia-Pacific - a continent on which most of the world's people live.
The UN is piling pressure on the block, chaired by Pakistan's Nabeel Munir, to nominate its members, one committee member told Climate Home.
Sameh Shoukry, president of Cop27, will host a retreat for the committee on 24 and 25 March.
As of yesterday's document, the city and precise venues for both meetings had not been decided.
But a source with knowledge of arrangements told Climate Home the meetings will either be in Aswan or Luxor, two cities on the banks of Egypt's river Nile.
Munir and the UN's climate change division did not reply to a request for comment.