Delegates meeting in Dubai agreed Thursday on the operationalization of a fund that would help compensate vulnerable countries coping with loss and damage caused by climate change, a major breakthrough on the first day of this year’s UN climate conference.

“Today’s news on loss and damage gives this UN climate conference a running start. All governments and negotiators must use this momentum to deliver ambitious outcomes here in Dubai,” said UN climate chief Simon Stiell during a press conference at which the announcement was made.

On X (formerly Twitter), UN Secretary-General António Guterres also welcomed the agreement to operationalize the fund calling it an essential tool to deliver climate justice. He urged leaders to support the fund and get COP28 off to a strong start.

The fund has been a long-standing demand of developing nations on the frontlines of climate change coping with the cost of the devastation caused by ever-increasing extreme weather events such as drought, floods, and rising seas.

Following several years of intense negotiations at annual UN climate meetings, developed nations extended their support for the need to set up the fund last year during COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

Reportedly, Sultan al-Jaber, the President of the COP28 climate conference, has said that his country, the United Arab Emirates, would commit $100 million to the fund.

Germany has also reportedly pledged a contribution of $100 million to the fund. The United States and Japan have also announced contributions to the fund.

The 28th annual meeting known as ‘COP’ after the Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Cli​mate Change (UNFCCC), opened today and is scheduled to run through to 12 December.

The action is taking place at the sprawling campus of Expo City, which has been decorated with trees and foliage. It is located on the outskirts of Dubai and is expected to host over 70,000 delegates, climate negotiators and other participants coming together to shape a better future for the planet.