Our latest NewsletterDecember 2022
COP15: Nature’s Paris Moment
In a year in which the devastating impacts of climate change were felt far and wide, a ray of hope was delivered by negotiators at the UN Biodiversity Conference, COP 15.
The final agreement, known as the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework,sets out a number of ambitious targets to protect and halt the destruction of the Earth’s ecosystem.
These include commitments to protect 30% of all land and oceans and restore 30% of degraded land by 2030 and to end human induced-species extinctions. Measures agreed also include a pledge to increase the flow of finance to developing nations to USD 20bn annually by 2025 and at least USD 30bn each year by 2030.
There was also recognition of the vital role non-State actors (NSAs) can and must play in implementing these commitments.
Indigenous peoples were recognised as some of Nature’s most powerful stewards, with the final text stating” Indigenous-led conservation models must become the norm this decade if we are to take real action on biodiversity”. In addition, large and transnational companies will be required to disclose “their risks, dependencies, and impacts on biodiversity”. If implemented, this could be the start of a significant change in business practices.
Similarly, a side event on ending commodity-driven deforestation highlighted how financial institutions are progressing on commitments made last year via the Finance Sector Deforestation Action initiative. Signatories agreed to eliminate this practice from their portfolios by 2025 and increase investments in nature-based solutions.
Furthermore, echoing the recent words of High-Level Champion for the COP27 Presidency of the UN Climate Change process, Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, the final text calls for “fundamental transformation of the global financial architecture and the reform of multilateral development banks and international finance institutions, including investment banks, to make them fit for purpose in supporting implementation of the global biodiversity framework, sustainable development and just transition efforts in developing countries”.
The issue of financial system reform was also placed front and centre at COP 27 through the Bridgetown Agenda proving that tackling the climate crisis and halting nature and biodiversity loss are deeply entwined and neither can be solved on their own.
Likewise nature was embedded in a number of climate initiatives at COP 27 in Sharm el-Sheikh. The Mangrove Breakthrough brought together governments and NSAs to mobilise USD 4 billion by 2030 to conserve and revitalise coastal ecosystems and protect 15 million hectares of mangroves globally. Additionally, investors and governments secured over USD 1 billion for the restoration of degraded lands in Africa through the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100), a country-led effort to bring 100 million hectares of land in Africa into restoration by 2030.
Next year, the first Global Stocktake will conclude at the UN Climate Change Conference COP 28. This will provide key information for countries and NSAs to see what progress has been made on meeting the Paris Agreement goals, as well as identify any remaining gaps and opportunities for increased action.
Going into COP 15 we knew the Paris Agreement goals would be in serious jeopardy without significant action to protect and restore nature.
As Mirey Atallah, head of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Nature for Climate branch, said: “Without protecting and restoring our ecosystems, we have no chance of achieving the Paris goals, getting to the 1.5C target or buffering the impacts of an already disrupted climate.”
Nature helps both mitigate against and adapt to the worst effects of the climate crisis. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), managed and natural terrestrial ecosystems absorbed around one-third of anthropogenic CO2 emissions from 2010 to 2019.
As we near the end of 2022 and look ahead to the opportunities and challenges of a new year, the outcome in Montreal gives us cause for cautious optimism.
In the words of outgoing High-Level Champion for COP26, Nigel Topping: “We must not give up hope. Instead we must imagine better times ahead and unleash the incredible ingenuity of humankind.”
COP 27 outcomes
Across the two weeks of COP 27, the High-Level Champions and the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action supported and delivered a wide range of actions, announcements, and events captured in the Summary of Global Climate Action at COP27.
This complements the key takeaways from COP 27, which includes establishing a dedicated fund for loss and damage, maintaining a clear intention to keep 1.5°C within reach, holding businesses and institutions to account, mobilizing more financial support for developing countries and making the pivot towards implementation.
Through the Sharm el-Sheik Implementation Plan, Parties recognized the important role of indigenous peoples, local communities, cities and civil society, including youth and children. While encouraging Parties and non-Party stakeholders to engage actively in the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action, Parties also welcomed the leadership of the COP Presidency and the High-Level Champions, in particular in the context of the Sharm el-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda and the Breakthrough Agenda, and the convening of the five regional finance forums.
In addition, a mitigation work programme was established aimed at urgently scaling up mitigation ambition and implementation, encouraging the High-Level Champions to support the effective participation of non-party Stakeholders.
With respect to transparency and accountability, Parties welcomed the recommendations of the High-Level Expert Group on the Net-Zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Entities launched by the United Nations Secretary-General and invited the UNFCCC secretariat to ensure greater accountability of voluntary initiatives.
A full list of decisions from COP 27 can be found here. To support the implementation of these decisions, Parties, observers and other non-Party stakeholders are invited to submit inputs to various calls for submissions.
Guidelines on how to submit inputs are available here. Watch this space for further details and information on opportunities for engagement in 2023.
Keeping up with the Champions
- Mahmoud Mohieldin participated in the ‘‘ We don’t Care” exhibition in UAE. The campaign’s mission is to make environmentally sound shopping more accessible to everyone by championing innovative alternatives to plastics and harmful substances found in our supermarkets.
- In a speech delivered during the “COP27 Debrief: What is next for the Private Sector?” webinar organized by the UN Global Compact Academy, Mahmoud Mohieldin said there’d been a fundamental shift in climate finance at COP27 through innovative finance instruments such as debt swaps and carbon market initiatives.
- During the 21st annual conference of the Arab Administrative Development Organization (ARADO) that took place in Oman, Mahmoud Mohieldin stated the importance of addressing the climate crisis for the global economy. He gave examples of how international finance organizations are making climate action a key priority.
- The Central Bank of Oman welcomed Mahmoud Mohieldin to discuss how climate change is affecting monetary and fiscal policies. The need to provide continued financial support to developing and vulnerable countries to help achieve sustainable growth was also discussed.
- Mahmoud Mohieldin briefed the Intergovernmental Group of Twenty-Four Developing Countries on International Monetary Affairs and Development (G24) on the outcomes of COP27. During the virtual session he discussed how carbon markets were considered an innovative way to mobilize financing for climate action and reduce emissions.
- Mahmoud Mohieldin met with representatives from the insurance sector at the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center, Atlantic Council in Washington DC. He highlighted the role of the sector in meeting the outcomes outlined in the Sharm-El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda by developing an industry capabilities framework, actively supporting project implementation, and institutionalising a longer-term industry approach to climate adaptation.
- Mahmoud Mohieldin attended an informal session with members of the IIF Emerging Markets Advisory Council to inform them about COP27 key finance highlights and their implications for emerging markets.
In Case You Missed It
- Leaders from Viet Nam, the United Kingdom and the European Union have announced an ambitious new Just Energy Transition Partnership to provide $15.5 billion to help Viet Nam transition away from fossil fuels and achieve their net-zero goal by 2050. The deal will help Viet Nam to peak its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, bringing forward a previous 2035 projection, limit its peak coal capacity to 30.2 gigawatts (GW) instead of an initially planned 37 GW, and source 47% of its power from renewable energy by 2030. Additionally, the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero established a working group to support these efforts, with a particular focus on the mobilization of private capital.
- Five new retail and business associations have pledged to become Accelerators for the Race to Zero. ABComm (Brazil), ACCI (Greece) amfori (Global) CBL (Netherlands), and SOCR ČR (Czech Republic) are joining the British Retail Consortium (BRC), the Australia Retailers Alliance (ARA), EuroCommerce plus seven additional national associations in mobilizing climate action across the retail sector. The Race to Zero 2030 Breakthroughs: Retail Campaign, backed by the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions, founded by Best Buy, H&M Group, Ingka Group (IKEA), Kingfisher plc and Walmart and hosted by WBCSD, aims to engage national and regional retail associations to help support their members to build capacity to decarbonize through the Race to Zero Retail Centre of Excellence in order to catalyze a net zero breakthrough within the retail industry by 2030.
- A new guide from the We Mean Business Coalition lays out how companies can incorporate nature into their climate plans. It outlines five principles on what businesses need to do including cutting emissions across their own value chains in line with science and cutting emissions from land-use within their value chains. It also makes clear how investing in nature beyond their value chains as they work to cut their emissions must be part of a credible corporate climate transition action plan.
- Launch of the RegionsWithNatureplatform. It’s a partnership initiative that supports regional and subnational government officials and other stakeholders to enhance ecosystem restoration, biodiversity conservation and nature-based solutions in their regions. It offers a place for regions and their partners to make their voices heard, share their experiences, and showcase their commitments towards achieving national and global biodiversity targets.
- Achim Steiner, the administrator of the United Nations Development Programme has warned against “illogical” and “perverse” subsidies to industries estimated at $1.8tn that harm the planet. In an interview he said; “Paying people to do things that ultimately destroy biodiversity in the argument of short-term economic benefit is self-defeating.”
- MEPs and EU governments have agreed to reform the Emissions Trading System to further reduce industrial emissions and increase investment in climate friendly technologies. The EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), which enshrines the “polluter pays” principle, is at the core of European climate policy and key to achieving the objective of EU climate-neutrality. Increased ambitions for 2030 include emissions in the ETS sectors to be cut by 62% and free allowances to industries to be phased out from 2026 and disappear by 2034.
- The North Atlantic Treaty Organizaion (NATO) has held its first Climate Change and Security Roundtable including speakers from the World Meteorological Organisation, the World Bank Group, the UK Meteorological Office, the International Military Council on Climate and Security, the US Department of Defense, the UN Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and of Operational Support, Natural Resources Canada, and the international integrated technology group Rheinmetall. NATO has been actively engaging experts, civil society, youth and the private sector on climate change and security as part of the NATO 2030 Agenda. It also contributes to NATO meeting its ambition to becoming the leading international organization when it comes to understanding and adapting to the impact of climate change on security.
- HSBC has announced it will stop financing new oil and gas fields, as part of its efforts to drive down global greenhouse gas emissions. Europe’s largest bank said it made the decision after receiving advice from international energy experts. It comes following previous criticism of HSBC for funding oil and gas projects despite its green pledges. Jeanne Martin, head of the banking programme at ShareAction, a charity that campaigns for reducing investment for fossil fuels like oil and gas, said: “HSBC’s announcement sends a strong signal to fossil fuel giants and governments that banks’ appetite for financing new oil and gas fields is diminishing.” The charity called on other banks to follow suit – saying this move sets “a new minimum level of ambition” for the sector.
- The International Energy Agency (IEA) published its Renewables 2022 analysis forecasting the deployment of renewable energy technologies in electricity, transport and heat to 2027 while also exploring key challenges to the industry and identifying barriers to faster growth, based on current policies and market developments.
- Rwanda has launched its first ever National Circular Economy Action Plan and Roadmap on the sidelines of the World Circular Economy Forum 2022 (Kigali, December 2022). Through value retention, reduction of waste and the creation of new economic opportunities, the Circular Economy Action Plan and Roadmap will contribute to Rwanda’s vision to be a carbon-neutral and climate resilient nation by 2050.
- The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has published its first Restoration Barometer report, documenting that investments of $26bn across 18 countries have brought 14 million hectares of degraded landscapes under restoration and highlighting the various benefits these restoration efforts bring for conservation and sustainable development.
For more news from across the Race to Resilience and Race to Zero Communities, check out climatechampions.unfccc.int and Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action/UNFCCC.
Mark your calendar
- Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2023, 14-19 January
- World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2023, 16-20 January
- 2nd WASAG International Forum on Water Scarcity in Agriculture, 7-10 February
To those celebrating, we wish you a Happy Christmas and to all a peaceful New Year.
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