The stalemate on loss and damage was broken on Thursday with South Africa and Sweden being asked to help lead more constructive talks on the contentious issue. The move came a day after the walk-out by G77+China from negotiations helped produce another draft decision which was then sent back to the gathered ministers.

Loss and damage refers to the demand from the poor and vulnerable countries demanding that they be paid reparation for the inevitable damage from climate change that no amount of adaptation or reducing emissions can prevent.

A decision was taken last year’s talks to set up a mechanism to address loss and damage but this year the U.S., Norway, Australia have stood adamant against such a move trying to defang the subject believing that the language of liability and compensation should not be allowed into climate change negotiations.

A source participating in the renewed talks on the issue behind closed door told The Hindu that while technical details had been better fleshed out, the two large decisions on where a mechanism on loss and damage would be housed under the UN climate convention’s set of institutions and how it would be financed still remained unresolved. The G77 has asked for a separate new mechanism while the U.S. and Norway have demanded it be relegated to just a body under the existing adaptation institutions diluting its significance.

The source said that three options remained open as of now. One was to make it immensely powerful and put it under the ‘Conference of Parties’, the other to house it under the adaptation stream and third, a vaguer term ‘under the convention’. The draft text from the day’s talks had been sent to the ministers of the respective delegations to give their views before the negotiators can be empowered to take the tough call.