Compiled by Byron Zamasiya
The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) is a public interest law organisation that uses the law to protect the environment and promote sustainable resource governance. The organisation is implementing several climate change projects which address adaptation and mitigation at local and national levels. The organisation also contributes to the national discourse on climate change through leadership of the Zimbabwe Climate Change Working Group, capacity building of Parliament, government agencies, Rural district councils and communities. Both at an organisational and individual level, ZELA staff members have researched, offered advice and in some cases collaborated with different Government departments on climate change and environmental policy and legislative processes. The organisation is also a member of the Climate Action Network International, one of the biggest international environmental coalitions with over 1800 member organisations worldwide. Our road to COP28 is informed by community and Civil Society Organisations consultations. In this roadmap, we present a recap of COP27 outcomes, and our themed demands for COP28 and conclude by asking questions that we think stakeholders should be asking themselves as negotiations take place at COP28 in Dubai Expo City.
A recap of key outcomes from COP27
COP27 was convened in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt between 6 to 18 November 2022. It was dubbed the Africa COP with so many expectations largely from African countries, especially on the initiation of talks on the loss and damage talks in Glasgow at COP26. COP27 closed with the development of the Sharm El Sheikh Implement Plan. This is the main source of our recap for the COP27 outcomes. Our key picks from the COP27 are as follows.
Loss and damage
At COP27, parties agreed to the setting up of a loss and damage facility fund whose purpose is to assist vulnerable countries and small island countries to compensate them for climate-related disasters. The governments also agreed to establish a ‘transitional committee’ to make recommendations on how to operationalize both the new funding arrangements and the fund at COP28. A technical committee with 24 members representing developing and developing countries was set up to work on the governance framework for the fund. Parties further agreed on the institutional arrangements to operationalize the Santiago Network for Loss and Damage, to catalyze technical assistance to developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
Global stock take
There were initial discussions at COP27 on the Global Stocktake for COP28. The stocktake involves an introspection by parties on ambitions under the Paris Agreement. A technical dialogue was set for 2023 ahead of COP28.
Parties admitted that keeping global warming within 1.5 degrees Celsius and net zero by 2050 requires investments to the tune of $4 to 6 trillion annually until 2030. Parties reviewed the commitment by developed countries to avail $100 billion annually by 2020 for developing countries. At COP27, parties deliberated on setting a ‘new collective quantified goal on climate finance’ in 2024, considering the needs and priorities of developing countries. There was no agreement between parties as developed countries pushed for a clear quantum or numerical financial goal in trillions and not billions. There was no clarity on the source of the funds for climate finance and how this could be achieved. Parties also noted the urgency to reform multilateral development bank practices and priorities to ensure alignment and scaling up of finance.
Parties retained the commitment to keeping warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius. A mitigation Work Program was launched in Sharm el-Sheikh. The programme runs from 2022 to 2026. Its purpose is to accelerate mitigation ambition and implementation. The parties noted that there is an increased interest in expanding African gas exports due to the geopolitical tensions in Ukraine. There were also serious discussions on access to energy as over 900 million worldwide lack access to energy. Governments were urged to accelerate efforts to phasedown unabated coal power and phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. However, there was no agreement to phase down or phase out fossil fuels including phasing down of coal.
Parties noted the huge disparity between current levels of adaptation versus expected levels to respond to the impacts of climate change. The parties agreed to the establishment of a new framework called the Global Goal on Adaptation. No firm commitments were made on this goal with targets and indicators. There were new pledges made to the Adaptation fund totalling more than USD 230 million. The purpose of the pledges is to assist vulnerable developing countries to adapt to climate change through concrete adaptation solutions.
Parties passed a decision to establish the Work Programme on Just Transition (JTWP). The JTWP is a confidence builder between Parties to the Paris Agreement. Parties view the JTWP as an opportunity to holistically assess, design and scale up pathways to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement in a just and equitable manner. The parties agreed that they would consider meeting the Paris temperature goal based on country contexts
Gender and climate change
Parties reviewed the gender action plan’s implementation. The decisions include encouraging future COP Presidency and country teams to include women as top climate negotiators to promote gender balance; encouraging parties and relevant organizations to strengthen the use of sex-disaggregated data in project implementation and reporting and encouragements for parties to strengthen gender responsiveness of climate finance.
ARTICLE 6 OF THE PARIS AGREEMENT
COP27 delivered incremental progress on technical elements of the Article 6 Rulebook agreed at COP26. Parties faced contentious issues on how to operationalise Article 6-backed carbon markets. These challenges included how to treat emissions from “removals”, whether to allow credits for “emissions avoidance” and when carbon credits could be “revoked”. The negotiations delivered guidance on the operationalisation of Article 6.
What CSOs are pushing for at COP28
Priority areas for COP28 are loss and damage, climate finance, adaptation, mitigation, global stocktake and just transition and our demands are as follows:
Loss and Damage
- COP28 must adopt institutional arrangements for the operationalisation of the loss and damage fund (L& DF).
- COP28 Presidency must ensure a Replenishment Call for the loss and damage facility made in Dubai.
- COP28 must call for early pledges and pragmatic processes to get money flowing to impacted communities at scale and speed. We call for the use of windfall taxes on high-polluting countries to raise funds for the L& DF.
- COP28 must declare the Loss and Damage Fund an independent institution free from the interference of developed countries.
- COP28 must ensure that mechanisms are put in place for developing countries to access Loss and damage funds as grants-based financing and non-debt-generating innovative financial instruments. Loans offered by the World Bank attract an administration fee of 24%. This makes it difficult for developing countries to access especially those in financial distress.
- COP28 must ensure the non-exclusion of developing countries using vulnerability analysis which is in favour of least developing countries and small island developing states. Innovative instruments such as Special Drawing Rights to African financial institutions should be used to enable access to the fund by all developing countries.
- The Loss and Damage Fund must respect human rights and be gender responsive.
- COP28 must call on developed countries to demonstrate, through measurable data, how they will reach the $100 billion target this year, exceed it in 2024 and 2025, and meet (or exceed) their pledge to double adaptation financing. They must also commit to and demonstrate how they will make up for shortfalls between 2020 and 2025.
- COP28 must Scale access to grants-based climate financing and non-debt financing instruments. In this regard, all climate finance should be new finance and not overseas development assistance.
- COP28 must call for a quantum (Amount and Time) on Climate Finance that can be generated through innovative financial instruments such as windfall tax charged to high polluters, and removal of fossil fuel subsidies among others.
- COP28 must call for gender sensitivity with deliberate inclusion of women organisations in the design and allocation of grant-based climate finance.
- COP28 must reform access mechanisms for adaptation finances so that vulnerable developing countries can access it for the implementation of gender transformative initiatives in key sectors.
- COP28 must call for developed countries to cut down on emissions. They should increase their ambitions to cut down on emissions in their NDCs through measurable, and time-bound actions. This should be supported by robust science-based emission reduction targets.
- COP28 must call for all developed countries to PHASE OUT fossil fuels in all sectors and phase in renewable energy. At current emission rates, the world is set to breach the 1.5 degrees Celsius rise by 2030. This will set in motion the devastating impacts of climate change.
- We call for COP28 to link ambition in mitigation for developing countries to ambition in support. Developed countries must pay up.
Just Transition & transitional minerals
- We demand that COP28 takes firm steps to implement a Just Transition based on rights, inclusion, and international cooperation.
- We demand that the exploitation of potential presented by transitional minerals should be devoid of human rights violations and environmental injustices.
Global Goal on Adaptation
- COP28 must secure/adopt the framework for the Global Goal of Adaptation and operationalize it.
- We call for COP28 to adopt matrices and indicators for the implementation of the Global Goal on Adaptation.
- COP28 must demand a detailed roadmap outlining how developed countries intend to quadruple climate adaptation funds when they are failing to meet the USD100 billion commitment.
- We call for greater allocation for adaptation financing in Africa to key sectors that address gender transformative initiatives such as agriculture, water and other livelihood sub-sectors.
- COP28 must agree to provide funding for the operationalisation of National Adaptation Plans (NAPS) and the delivery of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
Global stocktake (GST)
- GST must recalibrate ambitions, global commitments, and targets.
- COP28 must secure adaptation and loss and damage goals through GST, as well as have explicit goals, evaluation matrices comprising targets, and indicators of progress toward goals.
- We call upon the global community to set more ambitious targets that are supported by quantifiable measurements.
- We call upon COP28 to put in place clear follow-up measures that integrate GST outcomes into action on gaps identified in mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage.
Key questions to ponder for COP28
- Developed countries are failing to honour their USD100 billion pledge, how are they going to ensure that they honour their pledges and also pay up the balances?
- Developing countries are struggling to access climate finance as grants. If the framework to use the World Bank as the host for the Loss and damage fund is finalised, how will the needy and debt-stressed developing countries be able to access the loss and damage fund?
- Oil-producing nations from the east pushed back the agenda to phase out fossil fuels. Given that fossil fuels are the major sources of pollution and that there is no windfall tax for polluters, how will the world be able to attain a net zero?
- In the absence of a just transition fund, how will developing countries with high energy poverty levels be able to transition to the new reality of renewable energy?