A trickle of climate “loss and damage” funding pledges from rich countries at the COP27 summit in Egypt have been welcomed by observers and developing nations, who say they must pave the way for a broad global financing deal. The controversial issue is a key focus of the UN meeting, as a relentless surge of impacts wreak death, destruction and mounting economic losses on developing nations least responsible for planet-heating emissions. A handful of European nations and regions have announced small funding pledges during the Sharm el-Sheikh talks, with Germany, Austria, Ireland and Belgium saying they would make contributions. “These are good gestures. It shows that the issue has been acknowledged after years of advocacy,” said Harjeet Singh, head of global political strategy at the Climate Action Network. But he said that this should not distract from calls by developing nations for a robust framework that can pay out when countries are hit by increasingly ferocious floods, heatwaves and droughts, along with slow-onset impacts such as sea level rise. Pledges so far are miniscule in comparison to the damages already incurred. Austria has offered $50 million and Belgium says it will give $2.5 million to Mozambique, adding to $13 million that Denmark has earmarked for loss and damage in North Africa and the Sahel. Scotland, which kicked off the loss and damage pledges last year when Britain hosted the COP26 summit, has also upped its contribution to $8 million. Meanwhile, Germany is touting its “global shield” project, due to be officially launched in Egypt next week, as a way to provide climate risk insurance and prevention to vulnerable countries.