Op:Ed from UNFCCC ambassador – the key takeaways of COP27

UNFCCC Ambassador Racquel Moses

Heading into Sharm el-Sheikh, the entire world was paying keen attention to how negotiations would develop the next set of climate action goals. Loss and Damage (L&D), which had been a point of contention for decades was also on the agenda, and amidst a wider need for appropriate and more accessible climate finance, there was hope that an agreement could come through. This, along with the platform laid in Glasgow at COP26 the previous year and the
latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, provided an opportunity for increased climate ambition across the board.

Mixed Results, Room for Growth

The results that came out of Egypt were mixed, as they are likely to be coming out of any COP where the world comes together to agree, but also as expected, shed light on new opportunities. Activists and delegates from the Global South were finally successful, with a consensus reached on L&D while Fossil fuels lobbyists’ impact resulted in weak language on the phasing out of fossil fuels. The agreement on L&D will, once implemented, provide a lot of necessary funding for climate-impacted communities globally. The framework and operationalization of the L&D fund will be detailed in the coming year and activated at COP28.

“This outcome moves us forward,” said UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell, “We have determined a way forward on a decades-long conversation on funding for loss and damage – deliberating over how we address the impacts on communities whose lives and livelihoods have been ruined by the very worst impacts of climate change.” In the larger context of climate change and resilience-building, this is a major win for communities on the frontlines and provides a new pathway to fund critical infrastructure projects that will safeguard future generations.

“Without the voices of individuals, whether they are activists, scientists, researchers, youth or indigenous peoples we would not have gotten this far…your voices have a direct impact on the way we find our way forward at the multilateral level,” Stiell expressed during the closing ceremony. The calls from these groups were more present than any previous COP, with this iteration seeing the first pavilions for youth, indigenous people, and climate justice – a definite shift towards more inclusive decision-making.

Caribbean Excellence and Leadership

Where sufficient progress was not made, opportunities exist for rapid change. The UN Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) is happening in Montreal in December, where countries will be expected to flesh out details to move forward on the 30×30 target. With the goal of protecting 30% of land and ocean resources by 2030 globally these 12 Caribbean countries Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, and Trinidad &Tobago are participating as either members of the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People, or the Global Ocean Alliance. Regardless of the decisions taken at COP27 or the CBD, the region continues its leadership in nature-based solutions and blue/green economic initiatives.

Outside of L&D, climate finance remained an unresolved issue at COP27. The creation of the Global Shield by Germany and the G7, a separate financial mechanism that would be used as disaster relief aimed at strengthening social protection schemes and providing some climate risk insurance, is a step in the right direction. However, it emphasized the need for collaboration between financial institutions and innovation at a regional level to meet funding goals. CCSA’s Financial Advisory Committee seeks to provide that innovation and collaboration with 9 leaders of regional financial institutions embracing their roles to advance climate action working together. This is also exemplified by the Caribbean Development Bank’s Recovery Duration Adjuster (RDA), a tool to capture countries’ vulnerability based on the duration of time it would take them to recover from the impacts of a climate event.

Building on COP2

“Our Ministers and negotiators have endured sleepless nights and endless days in an intense series of negotiations, determined to secure the establishment of a loss and damage response fund, keep 1.5 alive, and advance ambition on critical mitigation and adaptation plans. But after the pain comes the progress,” outlines the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) Chair, and Antigua & Barbuda’s Minister for Health, Wellness and the Environment Sir Molwyn Joseph.
“The agreements made at COP27 are a win for our entire world. We must work even harder to hold firm to the 1.5C warming limit, to operationalize the loss and damage fund, and continue to create a world that is safe, fair, and equitable for all.”

Sir Molwyn Joseph’s words ring true – the result in Sharm el-Sheikh may not be perfect, but they leave a lot to work with. Where progress may not have been as expected, we find new pathways to reach our goals, and through our own innovation and leadership make the Caribbean the blueprint for climate action. The interest from the private sector to finance resilience-building projects has continued to grow. Caribbean excellence and private sector financing were both on show at the first live CCSA Investor Forum held at COP27, where there was significant interest in Dominica’s National Financing Vehicle to commercialize its extensive geothermal potential, among other projects. As pointed out by many regional leaders including Mia Mottley, the region has matchless potential including opportunities to explore ways of
leveraging the IMF and World Bank for investment funds. We have several tools on our belt and tricks up our sleeve – let’s use them.

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