28th Conference of the Parties Outcomes: Where are We?


Compiled by Hillary Mugota and Fortunate Chilenje

 COP28 has recently ended, and ZELA is committed to sustaining the continuity of the COP series through regular meetings in anticipation of upcoming objectives. In alignment with this commitment, ZELA organized a CSO Post-COP28 meeting, providing a platform for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), stakeholders, and business development partners to engage in discussions about the outcomes of the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP 28). The meeting aimed to foster reflection on the role these entities can play in shaping future climate action, with the meeting objectives being to provide feedback to Zimbabwean CSOs and other key stakeholders on the COP28 outcomes, to identify emerging opportunities from the UAE outcomes and decide on what form the CSOs need to take to address the opportunities and to identify potential demands for COP29 and map strategies on how best CSOs can strategically engage with the government in enhancing climate action.


The purpose of this gathering was to evaluate whether the expectations were met and, if not, to determine the way forward. Additionally, the event aimed to encourage dialogue with government representatives, who served as negotiators during COP 28. This breakdown focuses on the legal aspects of key articles within the Paris Agreement, shedding light on their implications and the subsequent discussions at the CSO Post COP28 reflection meeting.


Article 4: Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)

Article 4 of the Paris Agreement outlines the significance of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), requiring all Parties to prepare, communicate, and implement ambitious NDCs representing their efforts to achieve the Agreement’s goals. This legal mandate places an obligation on countries, including Zimbabwe, to set forth clear and impactful plans to address climate change. The legal strength lies in the enforceability of these commitments, fostering a sense of shared responsibility among nations.


Article 13: Enhanced Transparency Framework

Article 13 establishes an enhanced transparency framework, promoting accountability through regular reporting on emissions, progress towards NDCs, and implementation efforts. This legal provision ensures that Parties are held accountable for their climate actions, facilitating reviews and assessments of collective progress. The transparency mechanism becomes a cornerstone in measuring the effectiveness of global efforts toward the Agreement’s goals.


Article 6: Implementation and Support

Article 6 focuses on implementation and support, allowing cooperative approaches among Parties, and encouraging support from developed to developing countries in climate action initiatives. This legal framework creates opportunities for diverse stakeholders, including Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), to engage with governments in addressing concerns and initiatives emerging from COP28. It underscores the importance of a united voice from CSOs and government of Zimbabwe at global climate negotiations.


Article 8: Loss and Damage

Article 8 addresses the critical issue of Loss and Damage, recognizing the impacts of climate change in vulnerable developing countries. While establishing a framework for cooperation and support, it stops short of creating legal liability for climate change damages. COP28 deliberations saw the operationalization of a loss and damage fund, highlighting the need for Zimbabwe to develop its framework. CSOs play a crucial role in engaging the government and vernacularizing issues related to loss and damage to ensure community needs are met and resilience is built.


Article 11: Capacity-building and Transparency

Article 11 focuses on capacity-building and transparency, emphasizing the need for enhanced support for developing countries. This legal provision highlights the commitment to building the capacity of nations to effectively address climate change challenges. It underscores the importance of transparency in the implementation of climate actions, ensuring that all Parties contribute meaningfully to the global effort.


Article 7: Mitigation, Adaptation, and Means of Implementation

Article 7.5 acknowledge that action should follow a country-driven, gender-responsive, participatory, and fully transparent approach, taking into consideration vulnerable groups, communities, and ecosystems, with a view to integrating adaptation into relevant socioeconomic and environmental policies and actions, where appropriate. While gender mainstreaming is not explicitly mentioned in the Paris Agreement, the reference to a “gender-responsive” approach in Article 7.5 highlights the agreement’s recognition of the need to consider and integrate gender considerations in climate action. This aligns with the broader goal of promoting gender equality and empowering women in the context of climate action.


CSO Post COP28 Reflections: Legal and Human Rights Perspectives

The CSO Post COP28 Reflection event delved into legal and human rights perspectives, addressing crucial aspects that intersect with the Paris Agreement:


Interconnectedness of Climate Change and Human Rights: discussions acknowledged the link between climate change and fundamental human rights, participants highlighted the need for collective action to protect livelihoods, the right to development, and the right to food. This intersection emphasizes the legal imperative to address climate change as a human rights issue.


Localization of Climate Actions: The reflection emphasized the importance of localizing climate actions, allowing communities to actively contribute to a sustainable future. This not only helps in reducing greenhouse gas emissions but also fosters a sense of ownership and shared responsibility by the communities in the global climate action.


National Adaptation Plan (NAP): The participants stressed the importance of adopting National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) as crucial tools for developing bankable projects in the Zimbabwean context. CSOs were urged to advocate for the swift adoption of NAPs by the government.


Gender Mainstreaming: The event underscored the importance of mainstreaming gender issues in climate action efforts. Recognizing and addressing the gendered impacts of climate change ensures that climate actions are inclusive and equitable, aligning with the legal principles of fairness and justice.


In conclusion, the legal aspects of the Paris Agreement, as outlined in its key articles, provide a robust framework for global climate action. The reflections from the CSO Post COP28 meeting further emphasize the need for collective efforts, legal advocacy, and inclusive strategies to effectively address the challenges posed by climate change. As we prepare for COP29, it becomes imperative to uphold the legal obligations set forth in the Paris Agreement and integrate human rights considerations into the core of climate action initiatives.

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