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Anglicans At COP28 – “Some progress has been made, but key challenges remain”

Anglicans At COP28 – “Some progress has been made, but key challenges remain...”

Nicholas Pande

11 December 2023 1:41PM

At the heart of COP are negotiations between countries which lead to renewed commitments on reducing emissions, strengthening how communities adapt to climate change, and financing those changes.  Nicholas Pande, the Anglican Alliance Disaster Resilience and Response Lead and UN Environment Policy Lead is at COP28. He has been following the negotiations to see where the Anglican Communion can articulate hope, justice and a voice for the most vulnerable, especially in places where discussions between states become difficult. He writes:

The Anglican delegation came into the conference with priorities in just transition away from fossil fuels, resilience building in vulnerable communities and just financing. These themes are negotiated under different items including Global Goal on Adaptation, Global Stocktake, Sharm-El-Sheikh Work programme on Just transition, New Collective Quantified Goal on Climate Finance, Long-term climate finance, Adaptation Fund, Loss and Damage, among other items.

By the end of week one, some progress has been made, but key challenges remain:

1. National Adaptation Plans (showing how countries will respond to the growing threat of climate change):

  • Only 50 out of 134 developing countries have submitted their National Adaptation Plans.
  • Developing countries are urging developed countries to scale up their provision of climate finance, technology, and capacity-building support urgently and significantly. They say this will enable more countries to submit adaptation plans and respond to the immense needs of climate change. Many developed countries have not responded in the way developing countries hoped, in what could be seen as avoiding responsibility for adaptation and leaving it with the developing countries where it is a priority.

The Anglican Communion wants to encourage resources towards the countries and communities most vulnerable to the impact of climate change, which requires scaling up support and working on the ground with faith communities as trusted partners.

2. Global Goal on Adaptation (enhancing the world's ability to adapt to climate shocks, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change across the globe)

  • No agreement yet reached.
  • The parties strongly noted that the text did not fully reflect their views which had been submitted over a period of two years in eight workshops. Some of the key issues raised were: the text had not established principles for implementation, no clear means of implementation, no sufficient options to choose from and no clear, well-structured targets.

While the body of the text is still significantly deficient of our expected Global Goal on Adaptation, there are sections of the text that well align to our priorities and preferred language. For example:
a)  Achieving universal access to safe and affordable potable water and a climate-resilient water supply and sanitation.
b)  Achieving climate-resilient food and agriculture systems, from production to supply and distribution of food and improving nutrition.
c)  Achieving universal health coverage and climate-resilient health systems. Reducing deaths related to climate change, particularly in the most vulnerable communities.
d)  Ensuring that at least 30 per cent of ecosystems are maintained, enhanced, or restored.
e)  Increasing the resilience of cities, towns and village infrastructure to climate change to ensure essential services can be provided for all, eliminating negative impacts of climate on infrastructure and services by 2040.
f)  Substantially reducing poverty and vulnerability of livelihoods in areas with high climate risk and ensuring that communities in such areas are covered by at least social protection measure.
g)  Protecting cultural heritage from climate shocks by developing strategies for preserving cultural practices and heritage sites guided by local communities’ knowledge.

We are also pleased to see in the draft text, reflection of our proposed principles and language like:
i) where applicable, adaptation action should be based on and guided by the best available science, including through use of science-based indicators, metrics and targets, as appropriate, traditional knowledge, knowledge of Indigenous Peoples and local communities. Language also prioritises ecosystem-based adaptation, nature-based solutions, community-based adaptation, disaster risk reduction, private sector engagement and sustainable development.
ii) Recognising the leadership of Indigenous Peoples and local communities as stewards of nature and encourages the ethical and equitable engagement with Indigenous Peoples and local communities and use of Indigenous and local knowledge, wisdom, and values in the implementation of the framework.
iii) Reaffirms the importance of concessional and grant-based funding for adaptation, as well as ensuring that adaptation finance does not add to the debt burden of developing countries. 

The Anglican Communion hopes for provision of more time by the ministers to deliberate on this agenda in the second week as this is a key outcome for this COP.

3. The Global Stocktake (a unique feature of this COP which allows countries to review progress so far and look ahead to greater progress).
The current text will still need to be negotiated and agreed by Ministers, but it currently reflects some of the issues we hoped for, like:
i)  the important role and active engagement of civil society, business, financial institutions, cities and other subnational authorities, Indigenous Peoples, local communities, women, youth, and children
ii)  Tripling renewable energy capacity globally by 2030 compared to the 2022 levels.
iii)  An orderly and just phase out of fossil fuels.
iv)  the importance of protecting, conserving, and restoring nature and ecosystems, including halting and reversing deforestation by 2030.
v)  the urgency of scaling up action, support and finance.

4. Loss and Damage: The key outcome of COP27 was the agreement by parties to set up a loss and damage fund – which would fund countries that had suffered losses as a result of climate change - after years of advocacy from the developing countries and civil society, and in a remarkable early win for the COP28 presidency, a loss and damage fund became official (operationalized) on day one. Countries applauded this hard-won compromise and started pledging to it.
By end of week one, the pledges were as follows:

  • United Arab Emirates - $100 million.
  • Germany - $ 100 million.
  • The United Kingdom - $50.6 million
  • Japan - $ 10 million.
  • The United States - $ 17.5
  • Italy - $108 million.
  • Canada - $11.8 million.
  • Denmark – $25.6 million
  • European Union - $27.1 million
  • Finland - $3.3 million
  • France - $108.9 million
  • Ireland - $27.1 million
  • Netherlands - $16.3 million
  • Norway - $25.4 million
  • Slovenia - $1.6 million
  • Spain - $21.8 million

Total pledges – $655.9 million

Concerns remain about the decision to host the fund at World Bank for the first 4 years. Many do not have confidence in accessing the funds because of complex application procedures.

The Anglican Communion enthusiastically welcomed these initial pledges and supports hopes that the burden of access will be reduced and funding for loss will not detract from funding for prevention.

We look forward to seeing the final outcomes of COP28.