A groundswell of businesses, cities, regions, civil society and experts offer solutions for a strong response to the global stocktake

By Climate Champions | October 16, 2023

A wide range of businesses, investors, cities, regions, and civil society organizations provided recommendations on the UN’s first-ever global stocktake (GST) of efforts to tackle climate change. Their inputs provide insights and suggestions for how governments can come together at COP28 with a strong response to the stocktake that sets a clear foundation for an all-of-economy, all-of-society ramp up of action urgently needed this decade to support mitigation, adaptation and sustainable development.

As part of the final phase of the stocktake, governments and real economy actors were invited to share their views on how countries could best come together at COP28 to respond. As of 2 October, it had received inputs from two dozen groups representing 180 governments and 44 private sector, sub-national government and civil society organizations, UN Climate Change said in a follow-up synthesis report. The report is designed to help governments reach a decision on the global stocktake at the COP28 climate conference in the United Arab Emirates, starting on 30 November.

These submissions also reflect the views of thousands of non-Party stakeholders. For example, the Corporate Climate Stocktake, run by the We Mean Business Coalition, consulted over 300 businesses across eight major emitting sectors. The Local Governments and Municipal Authorities Constituency, which represents thousands of sub-national governments, is inviting cities, towns and regions globally to conduct local stocktaking activities.

The UN Climate Change High-Level Champions’ submission drew on their work with hundreds of partners. It noted that the campaigns, initiatives and frameworks developed by the private sector, sub-national governments and civil society are already driving collaboration, action and ambition and that “there is significant potential to learn from and build on the work of the HLCs and the leadership of the voluntary non-Party stakeholders’ climate action to date to inform the GST response.”

In the submissions to UN Climate Change, the solutions and views offered up by the private sector, sub-national governments and civil society had one simple message: real-economy climate action is happening and growing – but it needs a united response from governments, setting out near-term priorities, actions and national policies, in order to reach the necessary scale and speed.

The submissions highlighted five key areas where political leadership is needed to help accelerate action on the ground from businesses, investors, cities, regions and civil society:

  1. Government policies to fill gaps in the near-term

Political signals to transform sectors and systems can provide a clarion call for the private sector, sub-national governments and others to address gaps. A commitment from governments to address these gaps together gives clarity and stronger incentives for investment, enables larger economies of scale and level playing fields, and unlocks faster innovation. This is especially true when complemented by action on research and development, standards, deployment policies and trade.

The Champions’ submission said that “an effective response to the GST must set out a transformational roadmap to 2030 and beyond that will give clarity to all actors on the shared direction of travel. In so doing, it will allow for increased collaboration and cooperation to accelerate and course-correct global climate action.” They pointed to the Marrakech Partnership Climate Action Pathways, 2030 Breakthroughs, the Breakthrough Agenda, and the Sharm El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda as part of a Solution Pathways framework, and the Race to Resilience and the Race to Zero campaigns as actionable toolkits available to help align plans and accelerate action against 2030 pathways.

“Businesses, investors, NGOs, and governments need to work together intensively, sector by sector, to define rapid and realistic decarbonization pathways that leverage demand signals,” the We Mean Business Coalition said in its submission. “This also implies genuine whole-of-government approaches to climate, with different ministries becoming involved in climate change negotiations.” 

“Existing coalitions and initiatives of Parties and [non-Party stakeholders] will be vital to actively mount an effective 2024 response to the GST outcomes and to operationalize identified opportunities so as to harvest them in new [Nationally Determined Contributions],” said the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. “These initiatives provide an entry point for implementing action and enhanced international cooperation in 2024.” 

  1. Greater public-private collaboration on adaptation

Stronger collaboration between national and sub-national governments, the private sector and civil society can deliver systems transformations to support adaptation and resilient development. Government policies are particularly needed to accelerate the near-term implementation of solutions, including nature-based solutions, for adaptation in water, oceans, food, and urban systems. To this end, the High-Level Champions are inviting governments, the private sector and civil society to join in fulfilling the goals of the Sharm El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda.

“Governments and the international community also need to place a greater emphasis on developing collaborative adaptation partnerships with the private sector,” the World Economic Forum said. “This could be achieved by creating a more enabling policy environment that spurs international cooperation on adaptation within and beyond the national adaptation planning process.” 

  1. Financial system reforms 

The global financial architecture needs to be transformed to scale up the access, affordability, quality and pace of finance for climate action projects in emerging markets and developing economies. This requires changes such as the extension of below-market-rate finance, debt relief for poor countries, and credit enhancement and guarantee schemes to incentivize private investment in these countries.

To raise awareness of the business opportunities waiting to be seized, the High-Level Champions are advancing a global pipeline of implementable, financeable and investable projects for emerging markets and developing economies, covering all areas of adaptation, resilience and mitigation. Ahead of COP28, the Champions are working to match project developers with the right investors through the Regional Platforms for Climate Projects.

“The GST… should lay the groundwork for a revised and revitalized climate finance architecture that fast-tracks the delivery of new and additional financial support to meet the urgent and growing needs of developing countries, with a deliberate focus on the adequacy of financial instruments and modalities,” Climate Action Network said in its submission.  

  1. Protection and regeneration of nature

Nature-based solutions are integral to meeting the interrelated goals of the Paris Agreement, the Kunming-Montreal Biodiversity Framework, and the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. The technical report on the global stocktake highlighted the need to halt and reverse deforestation and restore and protect natural ecosystems, by 2030.

The High-Level Champions are working to accelerate the synergies between climate action, nature regeneration, and the transformation of agriculture and food systems. They put out a call to action – Nature Positive for Climate Action – urging businesses, investors, cities and regions to take steps such as integrating nature into their climate plans, assessing and disclosing impacts and dependencies on nature, increasing investment in nature-based solutions, and addressing deforestation and land conversion driven by commodities.

“The GST outcomes at COP28 must strongly reinforce the interlinkages between the climate and biodiversity crises and clearly recognize, support and provide pathways for the protection, restoration and sustainable management of the world’s ecosystems, bearing in mind that these nature-based solutions provide immediate and cost-effective benefits for both mitigation and adaptation simultaneously, while also supporting biodiversity conservation and the Sustainable Development Goals,”  the International Union for Conservation of Nature said.

  1. Inclusion of all parts of society and the economy 

Enhanced multi-level action and collaboration and genuine inclusion can help to implement bold climate solutions more quickly. The High-Level Champions are convening businesses, investors, cities, sub-national governments and regions, civil society including Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples, youth, and workers, to help accelerate a just transition and the implementation of climate solutions.

“Multi Level Governance can provide a significant contribution to closing the gap exposed by Global Stocktake,” the Local Governments and Municipal Authorities Constituency said. “IIntegrating subnationals in the formal NDC and NAPs [National Action Plans] process can both support delivery of NDCs and NAPs at a country level and create enabling policy and regulatory frameworks that bolster and accelerate climate action. 

The GST response could “recognize the pivotal role of non-Party stakeholders in climate action, especially Indigenous Peoples, local communities, cities and civil society – including youth and children, people of all genders, and marginalized groups – in addressing and responding to climate change,” added the International Institute of Sustainable Development.

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