ABU DHABI, 28th October, 2023 (WAM) — The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) achieved three main pillars to enhance and support the world’s climate change journey through initiatives that were the first in the history of the UN climate summits.
The “Loss and Damage Fund” initiative to help developing countries address the impacts of climate change topped the outcomes and results of this summit, which was held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, in November 2022.
For the first time in climate conferences, COP27 added a water file as a means to combat climate change, and included water in the sectors eligible for climate finance as part of mitigation and adaptation policies. The term “nature-based solutions” was also added and a section on “forests” and their protection was allocated.
The climate conference succeeded in raising the ceiling of international commitments to reduce the effects of climate change risks. The European Union pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 57 percent by 2030, and Canada by 75 percent by 2030. In addition, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) pledged to develop an agricultural roadmap that is compatible with the 1.5 degree Celsius target before the next climate conference, and Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva pledged to end deforestation in the Amazon region by 2030.
Early Warnings for All
The United Nations announced the Early Warning for All initiative at the COP27 meeting to warn of extreme climate events, with investments of $3.1 billion annually between 2023 and 2027.
The basic components for achieving Early Warning for All include four pillars:
Disaster risk knowledge and management (US$374 million): aims to collect data and undertake risk assessments to increase knowledge on hazards and vulnerabilities and trends.
Detection, observations, monitoring, analysis and forecasting of hazards (US$1.18 billion). Develop hazard monitoring and early warning services.
Dissemination and communication (US$ 550 million). Communicate risk information so it reaches all those who need it, and is understandable and usable.
Preparedness and response ($1 billion): Build national and community response capabilities.
Early Warning for All initiative is a significant step forward in the fight against climate change. It recognises the importance of early warning systems in helping countries prepare for and respond to extreme weather events. The initiative is expected to save lives and property, and to reduce the economic and social costs of climate change.
Creative ways to address Climate Change
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said during the opening of the International Conference on a Climate Resilient Pakistan, which was held in Geneva in January 2023 to support the reconstruction of Pakistan after the devastating floods that hit it in the summer of 2022: “At the recent UN Climate Conference in Egypt, the world made some important breakthroughs. This includes progress on addressing loss and damage, speeding the shift to renewables, and an unprecedented call to reform the global financial architecture, particularly Multilateral Development Banks.”
Guterres called for finding creative ways to enable developing countries to obtain debt relief and financing on favourable terms, stressing that the destruction caused by climate change is real and that the least responsible developing countries are the first to suffer. He noted that countries on the front lines of the climate crisis need massive support and that developed countries must fulfill their commitments to double adaptation funding and reach the $100 billion target as quickly as possible without delay.
The Conference of the Parties (COP), also known as the Climate Change Conference, is an annual event organised by any of the member states of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which was signed in 1992 and entered into force in 1994. It aimed to reduce the risk of human interference in causing climate change, through a number of binding measures for the signatory countries.
The COP aims to discuss global developments in the issue of climate change, the progress that has been made to reduce carbon emissions, opportunities for financing developing countries, steps to move away from fossil fuels, and other climate issues and their negative impacts and ways to reduce them.
Sharm El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda
In December 2022, Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, Climate Champion for the Egyptian Presidency of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the United Nations Special Envoy for Financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, presented the key outcomes of the COP27 Conference in a briefing at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. He noted that the conference achieved many results in all areas of climate action.
Mohieldin explained that the climate conference saw the Egyptian presidency, in cooperation with climate champions, launch the Sharm El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda, which portrays a total of 30 global adaptation outcome targets by 2030 that are urgently needed to increase the Race to Resilience‘s goal of building the resilience of 4 billion people to accelerate transformation across five impact systems. These are: food and agriculture, water and nature, coastal and oceans, human settlements, and infrastructure, and including enabling solutions for planning and finance.
COP27 saw the announcement of the Nairobi Declaration, which seeks to provide financial facilities of $14 billion to support adaptation in Africa against natural disasters of all kinds. In addition, the conference called for the restructuring of the global financial system to be more just and efficient to provide the necessary financing. It also saw the release of a report entitled “Mobilizing Finance for Climate Action” which includes several important recommendations in the field of climate finance.
The climate conference highlighted debt swaps as a new and innovative solution to finance climate action and reduce the debt burden on developing countries, with the presentation of successful models of debt swaps based on performance indicators.
According to Dr. Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Environment of Egypt, Ministerial Coordinator, and COP27 Envoy, the number of participants in the conference was 50,000 compared to 36,000 in the Glasgow COP26. The area of the pavilions in the Blue Zone was also expanded after requests to become 36,000 square metres, three times the size of COP26, and the Green Zone area reached 20,000 square metres, compared to 4,000 square metres in COP26.
COP27 also saw the launch and allocation of three initiatives for the African continent, including:
1. The Fair Energy Transition Initiative in Africa
2. The African Women and Climate Change Adaptation Initiative in cooperation between the Ministry of Environment, the National Women’s Council in Egypt, and UN Women – Burkina Faso, through the provision of jobs for African women, especially in rural Africa, through small projects in the fields of energy, agriculture, and water.
3. The Global Waste Initiative by 2050 between the Ministry of Environment in partnership with the UN Environment Programme and 10 African countries, in addition to promoting nature-based solutions to accelerate the climate transition.
Together for implementation
The events of the UN Climate Change Conference COP27 were held in the Egyptian city of Sharm El-Sheikh from November 6-19, 2022, under the slogan “together for implementation.”
The climate summit, with its launch, witnessed warnings described by UN Secretary-General António Guterres as climate chaos and that it is either cooperation together or collective suicide. The official opening came with the presence of presidents and leaders the following day, and the conference was extended by an additional day to conclude its work on November 20, 2022, amid calls for “urgent action to address the greatest threat facing humanity and planet Earth.”
For his part, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, President of COP27, mentioned in his speech during the conference that “the world does not have the luxury of continuing the approach of polarization in efforts to combat climate change,” adding that: “The current climate situation calls for urgent international action to take all necessary measures and enhance multilateral collective work.”