By Members of the Santiago Network Working Group
14 / 02 / 2024
A land management specialist, in Warrap state in South Sudan. Photo: UNDP South Sudan/Brian Sokol. Licensed under a CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED licence.

To ensure full operationalisation of the Santiago Network for Loss and Damage in 2024, the Network's Advisory Board needs to get up and running quickly. But nominations to the Board are incomplete as delays to the Board of the Loss and Damage Fund also continue.

At the Bonn Climate Conference in June 2023 (SB58), a draft text encouraged Parties to nominate Santiago Network Advisory Board members by the 15th of November 2023 for election at COP28 and for the first meeting of the Board to be held in 2024.

The Advisory Board requires 12 nominations from Parties, two from each of the five recognized United Nations regional groups and one member each from the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS). It also requires two nominations from members of the Executive Committee of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage (WIM ExCom) and three nominations from observer representatives which in this case includes representatives from the UNFCCC Youth (YOUNGO), Indigenous Peoples and Women and Gender (WGC) Constituencies.

Composition of the Advisory Board of the Santiago Network.

But as of the 7th of February, nominations to the Santiago Network’s Advisory Board were incomplete with only 8 of 12 Party members nominated. See the UNFCCC webpage for Election and Membership for the list of current nominees. 

Sadly —and much like the delayed nominations to the Board of the Loss and Damage Fund— it is the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) and Eastern Europe Group that are dragging their heels (see the list of UNFCCC country groupings here). 

However, nominations from the WIM ExCom are in, with former Transitional Committee member Angela Rivera Galvis of Colombia and Stella Brożek Everaert of the European Union being put forward. 

We have also heard that YOUNGO has nominated Samuel Chijioke Okorie and that the WGC has nominated Tetet Lauron —this is excellent news and we look forward to supporting our civil society colleagues when they take their seats on the Board.

As for nominations from Parties they include Alpha Kaloga of Guinea,  Rachid Tahiri of Morocco, Akio Takemoto of Japan, Syed Asif Hyder Shah of Pakistan, Kenel Delusca of Haiti, Belen Reyes of Uruguay, Camila Minerva of the Dominican Republic and Idy Niang of Senegal.

So why have developed countries from the WEOG group failed to make their nominations to Santiago Network’s Advisory Board? And most importantly what impact does this delay have?

With the nominations to the Board of the Loss and Damage Fund becoming heated as developed country Parties that made pledges to the Fund vie for a seat, it is concerning that nominations for the Advisory Board of the Santiago Network are also delayed. Unlike the Loss and Damage Fund, there is no agreed deadline for the first meeting of the Advisory Board of the Santiago Network, but at least two meetings are mandated each year. However, there is an option to run the meetings back to back with WIM ExCom meetings. That means that the first Santiago Network Advisory Board meeting could take place alongside the 20th meeting of the WIM ExCom which is scheduled for the 12th to 15th of March 2024

In order for the Santiago Network to get up and running so that it can deliver technical assistance at the scale of the needs of developing countries, the Advisory Board must start meeting as soon as possible in 2024 with all members present to enable decisions to be taken. Delays caused by developed country Parties failing to nominate Board members will push the first meeting back, delaying important decisions (e.g. the location of the headquarters of the Santiago Network), and further impede the full operationalisation of the Network.

Setbacks will also hold up the ability of the Santiago Network to receive, administer and disburse pledges* amounting to approximately $40.7 million (USD), which were welcomed in the Dubai decision. 

*Current pledges to the Santiago Network have come from the European Union, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

What would help to encourage nominations? Well, a dedicated web page listing Advisory Board members on the  Santiago Network’s UNFCCC webpage (like the for the Board of the Loss and Damage Fund) would help to keep track of which groups have yet to nominate!

Santiago Network Project The L&DC's Santiago Network Project is specifically focused on contributing to ambitious progress in the UNFCCC negotiations that results in a fit for purpose Santiago Network that delivers on the needs of developing countries.