COP27 Week 1 Brief: Taking Stock, Discovering New Tools & Defining Ambition
This is an implementation COP, an African COP, a vulnerability COP. It is the COP where food systems have come to the mainstream conversation about how to properly and comprehensively combat climate change. It is the COP where finance came to mean partnership—not merely a conditional transfer of resources. And we know that non-debt finance needs to expand dramatically, or the costly and compounding effects of climate change will only get worse and become unmanageable for all of us.
The following resources can give you remote access to events, background on the process, and daily reports on the negotiations:
The People’s Pavilion (for remote participation)
Vulnerability and Adaptation
We saw progress on this front as well. In a high-level event focused on Acceleration Adaptation in Africa, Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, was forceful in communicating that new standards are being developed to ensure vulnerable countries are not penalized for their vulnerability—especially for having to spend money to respond to disasters created by others that profit from climate pollution. Three countries have already begun to access the new funds available under these new standards.
The polycrisis is advancing, however. More than 90 countries are at serious risk of debt distress, and ongoing disruptions to international food supplies have resulted in new projections that a global food crisis—possibly of unprecedented scale and impact—could come in February. Week 1 has not altered the “dash for gas” in Africa, though it has raised awareness about the many ways in which expanded fossil fuel extraction could trap countries into a less sustainable, less inclusive mode of development that builds assets overseas, instead of at home.
We are closely tracking how food systems are treated in this process. Whether negotiators or ministers are fluent in the vocabulary of food systems, many of their priorities and decisions are entangled with them.
Policies that affect forest boundaries and watersheds, land rights and tenure, as well as monetary, fiscal, and trade policies, all condition how food production, distribution, and consumption will play out.
Climate pollution heats the atmosphere and ocean, resulting in both shock impacts and slow-moving degradation of glaciers, watersheds, ecosystems, and the conditions for achieving human health and resilience.
COP decisions are food systems decisions; the question is whether they are being adequately designed to make sure we have healthy, sustainable food systems, or even the ability to avoid widespread hunger shocks, in the coming years.
During Week 1, our team and our allies saw some critical breakthroughs in food systems and related policy and financial support:
On Wednesday, November 9, the High Ambition Group of corporate and financial leaders, linked to the Good Food Finance Network, presented new targets to drive investment into healthy, sustainable food systems, covering $113 billion in business activity.
On Friday, the Good Food Finance Network announced the activation of a work plan to establish a Co-Investment Platform for Food Systems Transformation, to crowd in finance from public, private, multilateral, and philanthropic sources.
Also on Friday, the GFFN released the first discussion draft of a Blueprint for Good Food Finance Data Systems Integration, to make multidimensional decision-support insights available to financial decision-makers.
The Egyptian Presidency launched major new food systems initiatives, including FAST (Food and Agriculture Sustainable Transformation Initiative) and I-CAN (Initiative on Climate Action and Nutrition), to connect nutrition, food security, climate action, and systems transformation.
In the days and months ahead, it is crucial that food systems—and the broader food systems lens—be integrated into formal text negotiated by the Parties, here in Sharm El-Sheikh, and at the SB58 round of negotiations in Bonn, next June. The systems lens aligns with the integrated and holistic standard for Paris Agreement implementation, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, and informed by an inclusive, far-reaching Global Stocktake.
CCI and Resilience Intel released the 2022 Reinventing Prosperity Report, emphasizing a participatory Capital to Communities approach to diversifying, scaling up, right-sizing, and tracking deployment of climate-related finance and resource sharing arrangements. Climate action is about avoiding danger through smart, evidence-based cooperation. It requires participation of stakeholders, and common-sense decision-making to reduce vulnerability to shock events and slow-moving but cumulative destabilizing dynamics.
Some key takeaways from the report:
Personal rights and freedoms, for individuals and communities, are being eroded by compounding crises and shock events;
The number of people facing hunger and chronic food insecurity is historically high, and an increasing threat to stability;
We need to invest in reducing vulnerability and building resilience everywhere possible, now;
Decentralizing value creation is a natural and necessary part of a healthy climate-smart transformation;
We can do better in technical and financial terms if we do better honoring the dignity and rights of all people;
Open engagement and participatory future visioning can set us on a trajectory toward higher ambition and more holistic and integrated action to address climate emergency while it is still affordable.
Planetary health is human security; we need to invest directly in planetary health.
Non-Market Cooperative Climate Action
In the negotiating process, non-market approaches under paragraph 8 of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement (Article 6.8) are gradually becoming a hot topic. In Glasgow, Parties agreed to craft a knowledge-sharing system that would allow countries to discover opportunities and modalities for non-market approaches (international cooperation without emissions trading).
Some are focused on whether a digital system for information-sharing will include a “matching function”, and whether matching would be curated by a panel of experts or automated. The much more significant open question is how far-reaching NMAs are understood to be. Will there be a narrow, strictly defined short list of qualifying NMAs, or will all non-market cooperative activities be welcomed and promoted as ways to accelerate overall mitigation of global emissions?
A quick review of the pre-Session documents, where Parties and Observers outlined existing and possible additional NMAs, shows there is wide acceptance of the very broad and diversified scope of non-market cooperative climate action. Citizens’ Climate International has laid out some suggestions for types of NMAs, as well as principles that can serve to ensure high integrity and rapid implementation.
Action for Climate Empowerment
CCI has long supported enhanced, always-active implementation of Article 6 of the Convention and Article 12 of the Paris Agreement—the civics, education, and information agenda known as Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE). Without open, transparent, and widespread sharing of scientific information and technical capabilities, and without active, ongoing participatory policy and solutions design, our climate crisis response will be under-informed, more prone to error, and less transformational.
We cannot afford for that to happen, so the stakes are very high when we consider how open, participatory, and inclusive any nation’s climate action and investment strategies are.
The final outcome on ACE should:
Recognize human rights as essential to ACE activities;
Recognize ACE as essential to national climate action implementation (on NDCs (mitigation), NAPs (adaptation), ITMOs (markets), related integrity safeguards, Non-Market Approaches, finance, and the Global Stocktake);
Support a broad, flexible range of ACE activities to raise ambition, inform decision-making, and track progress;
Include specific dedicated resources to support cooperative sharing of capabilities for mainstreaming of ACE in countries and communities with less institutional experience or capacity.
Where things stand
The negotiations so far have alternated between strong demand for integrative approaches, on the one hand, and procedural strictness and clarity, on the other. Saturday saw many agenda items finalized, with new documents and recommendations forwarded to the process chairs for inclusion in Week 2 of the negotiations. Some key areas of controversy where pushed to next year, like the forum on the impact of response measures.
On Loss and Damage funding, IISD reports:
“several developing country groups reiterated their call to establish a finance facility for loss and damage at COP 27/CMA 4 and set out a clear roadmap to ensure its full operationalization by 2024. Several also suggested establishing an ad hoc committee to guide the operationalization process, noting the need to give it a clear mandate and timeline, decide on its composition and modalities of work, and ensure sufficient budgetary provisions.”
On Article 6.8 non-market approaches, the SBSTA Chair Tosi Mpanu Mpanu notes the Parties have not yet reached agreement for a draft decision regarding the Work Programme for implementation. The SBSTA Chair “will bring unresolved issues to the attention of the CMA President for his further guidance on next steps.”
On the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA) described in Paris Agreement Article 7.1, Parties continue to hold widely divergent views of the road ahead:
Some strongly assert that Article 7.1 adequately defines the GGA and mandates work toward the stated goal;
Others assert that both the Paris Agreement and the Glasgow Pact require a new, updated, more precise and action-oriented statement of the GGA, or possibly an outlining of an ecosystem of GGA areas of action, connected to other areas of implementation, and informing other goals and metrics.
For an overall report on where things stand, read the latest Daily report from the Earth Negotiations Bulletin by IISD.