Media CenterCRS Advocates for Climate Finance, Loss and Damage Fund at COP28 Climate Change Conference in Dubai

Photo by Philip Laubner/CRS

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Nikki Gamer
Catholic Relief Services
[email protected]
(978) 884-0003

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, Nov. 29, 2023 – Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the global humanitarian and development organization of the United States Catholic Church, is attending the United Nations climate change conference, or COP28, in Dubai to urge negotiators to advance policies that support vulnerable communities overseas, including pushing for climate finance and the operationalization of a Loss and Damage fund. CRS’ COP28 attendance includes staff from some of the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world.

“Having witnessed firsthand the devastating impacts of climate change in Madagascar, I can attest to the urgency of immediate global action,” said Rado Ravonjiarivelo, who is joining the CRS COP28 delegation from Madagascar. “Our communities are facing unprecedented challenges – prolonged droughts in some areas, flooding in others. Severe food shortages. The loss of livelihoods. These are not distant threats; they are realities happening now, drastically altering daily lives that require different types of interventions.”

As the Catholic bishops of the United States have said, “our care for one another and our care for the earth are intimately bound together. Climate change is one of the principal challenges facing society and the global community. The effects of climate change are borne by the most vulnerable people, whether at home or around the world.”

CRS, which works in more than 110 countries, aims to bring a faith-driven perspective to climate discussions, emphasizing the moral imperative to protect the planet and support the most vulnerable. COP28 represents the first time a U.N. climate change conference will host a dedicated faith pavilion. The conference starts Nov. 30 and runs through Dec. 12.

“At CRS, we believe that faith can be a powerful catalyst for environmental stewardship,” said Gina Castillo, CRS’ policy advisor for climate change. “Pope Francis, in his encyclical ‘Laudato Si,’ calls for an ‘integral ecology’ that respects both the environment and human dignity. This message is at the heart of our advocacy at COP28. We are committed to echoing the pope’s call for urgent, collective action.”

In addition to participating in various panels and side events, CRS staff will advocate for several key policies at COP28, as outlined in its policy brief, “COP28: The Case for a Quantum Leap in Climate Action”:

  • Adaptation: CRS advocates for a comprehensive framework for adaptation with mid- and long-term targets, metrics and indicators, emphasizing the need for doubling adaptation financing.
  • Climate Finance: CRS stresses the importance of meeting the $100 billion climate finance goal and contributing to the Green Climate Fund.
  • Loss and Damage: CRS calls for operationalizing the Loss and Damage Fund with principles of country ownership, inclusiveness and human rights and urges developed countries to support this fund.
  • Food Systems: CRS highlights the need for a work plan for the Sharm el-Sheikh Joint Work on Agriculture and Food Security and the prioritization of sustainable agricultural practices in the UAE Food System Declaration.

In preparation for COP28, CRS contributed to a new Caritas Internationalis report, “Unheard, Uncharted: A holistic vision for addressing ‘noneconomic’ loss and damage,” which examines noneconomic losses and damages, such as losses to culture and traditional ways of life.

“The climate crisis requires a global response with the United States taking a lead role in that response,” Castillo said. “At COP28, we will be pushing United States negotiators to advance policies that address immediate needs and pave the way for a sustainable and equitable future for all.”

CRS president and CEO, Sean Callahan, said that CRS’ presence at COP28 represents the organization’s core values of solidarity and subsidiarity.

“Our presence at COP28 is a testament to our commitment to ensuring that the voices of the world’s most vulnerable people are heard and acted upon,” Callahan said.

CRS’ COP28 Media Resources:

  • For more information about CRS’ COP28 presence, including bios of CRS’ COP28 attendees and photos, visit our COP28 media page.
  • To read CRS’ COP28 policy brief in full, click here.
  • To read the Caritas Internationalis report on noneconomic losses and damages, click here.


Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding. For more information, visit or and follow Catholic Relief Services on social media in English at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube; and in Spanish at: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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Nikki Gamer

Senior Public Affairs Manager

Nikki Gamer
November 29, 2023

Based in Baltimore, MD

Nikki is the Senior Public Affairs Manager for CRS and connects journalists to regional stories and sources related to the agency’s life-saving development work. Previously, Nikki worked as the Communications Officer for the Middle East, Europe, and Central Asia. She has covered CRS’ response to the Syrian refugee crisis and the mass displacement...More