‘More than 50 poor countries are in danger of bankruptcy’ says the UN official Police 27

More than 50 of the poorest developing countries are in danger of defaulting on their debts and becoming effectively bankrupt unless the rich world offers significant aid, the head of the United Nations Development Program has warned.

Inflation, the energy crisis and rising interest rates have created a situation where an increasing number of countries are in danger of default, and potentially disastrous impact for their peopleaccording to Achim Steiner, head of global development of the United Nations.

“There are currently 54 countries on our list [of those likely to default] and if we have more shocks – interest rates go up again, borrowing becomes more expensive, energy prices, food prices – it becomes almost inevitable that we will see a number of these economies cannot pay,” he said.

“And that creates a disaster scenario — look Sri Lanka [which has descended into civil strife] with all the social and economic and political implications this brings.

Speak in UN climate summit Cop27, Steiner said that such a standard would create further problems in solving the climate crisis. “It certainly won’t help [climate] action,” he said.

Without measures to help them in debt, he warned, poor countries will not be able to tackle the climate crisis.

“The debt problem has now become a big problem for many developing economies that dealing with the debt crisis is a prerequisite for accelerating climate action,” he said.

“We need to inject targeted liquidity into countries to be able to invest in the energy transition, and adapt [to the impacts of extreme weather].”

The climate crisis is causing more problems, he warned, as countries are increasingly experiencing the effects of extreme weather. Poor countries are not receiving the promised funds from the rich world, but are facing the dangers of hurricanes, floods, droughts and heat waves.

Steiner warned that some developing countries are in danger of giving up on the UN climate talks if developed country governments fail to fulfill a long-standing promise to poor countries of $100bn (£86bn) in aid a year, to help them reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of extreme weather.

“If Police 27 do not deliver a convergent path in $ 100bn, I think many developing countries will leave Sharm el-Sheikh at least thinking about their commitments to the global climate process, “he said. “And I deliberately say that, because it does not mean that they will stop doing things in earth, which they have done.”

States could slow down their efforts, he warned. “Part of accelerating our ability to deal with climate change is based on all countries doing something. So the highest risk is that we slow down again, some would say even further.

But developing countries are already taking action on their own to tackle the climate crisis, he added.

“The world is developing has invested multiples of $ 100bn to help accelerate the energy transition. The way taxpayers in London, or Berlin or Paris see it, are we asked to pay for everything that happens outside our country in the developing world?

“And that’s not true. China, India, countries like Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Morocco, Egypt – they’re all investing their own resources to move to a clean energy transition. Never mind the tremendous resources they’ll have to mobilize when climate-related extreme weather events.

One of the most controversial issues in the Cop27 talks is loss and damagerefers to the most devastating impact of extreme weather, which the country can not protect itself against.

Steiner said the issue is often misunderstood. “It builds on something that in many of our countries is a well-established practice. When extreme floods occur and taxpayers basically step in, with the government paying home owners the damage they have not been able to recover from insurance companies,” he said.

“We have an established practice that the public purse steps in when a disaster occurs. But when a Caribbean island has a third of its GDP destroyed in 12 hours by a hurricane, nothing can be returned.

That’s why a loss and damage fund is needed, he said. “That’s where the injustice of climate change becomes so dire in the eyes of many developing countries. It’s not even remotely a major causative factor [in the climate crisis]they are now paying an incredible price for the damage they have suffered.”

He predicted that there would be no final settlement at Cop27 on how the funding mechanism for losses and damages could work, but said the country meeting in Egypt, where talks are now almost halfway through, should be able to make significant progress.

On Thursday, the theme of discussion at the lecture was science, and youth and future generations. Hundreds of youth activists attended to show their support for climate action, but the protests were muted as the Egyptian government kept a watchful eye on demonstrations outside the talks. Several civil society groups reported concerns about intimidation and surveillance.

No such restrictions have been placed on the lobby indoors, however – a coalition of NGOs revealed on Thursday that more than 600 fossil fuel lobbyists were among those attendingthe number is much higher than the previous year.

Also in the talk, a new analysis showed that the country is looking for alternative gas suppliers to Russia after its war on Ukraine, is “over reach”.

European governments and others are now planning new gas infrastructure and supply contracts that far exceed the amount of gas that countries import from Russia, according to data from the Climate Action Tracker. If all these contracts are fulfilled, and infrastructure is built, temperatures will breach the crucial 1.5C limit, the analysis found.

In rare good news, however, the Norwegian oil company has suspended the development of the exploitation of the world’s northernmost oil field. The Wisting field would be a $10 billion project, but it has been put on ice for four years.

The the company blamed “cost increases due to increasing global inflation” and “uncertainty about the framework conditions for the project”. Campaigners claim the move as a victory.

Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the US House of Representatives, arrived in Sharm el-Sheikh to celebrate when the Democrats did better than expected in the midterm elections, and warned. that some Republicans still considered the climate crisis as a hoax. US President Joe Biden is expected to attend the conference on Friday and make a major intervention.

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