Discover more from The CCI Newsletter
Earth Diplomacy Leadership – Summary of SB58 Session 3: Transformational Outcomes
Report from the third session of the SB58 cycle of Earth Diplomacy Leadership Initiative workshops, co-coordinated by Citizens’ Climate International and The Fletcher School at Tufts University
Earth Diplomacy Leadership Initiative – SB58 Cycle
Session 3: Transformational Outcomes – Friday, May 26, 2023
How can the SB58 round of negotiations set up the COP28 annual climate conference for high ambition consensus and transformational outcomes that come to life in people’s everyday experience?
This session will examine select areas of policy emerging within the negotiations, including:
Emerging innovative financing opportunities;
Cooperative measures to decarbonize, adapt, build resilience, and overcome loss and damage;
Linkages to the SDGs and other Conventions;
Macrocritical forces that shape whole economies and determine whether sustainable shared prosperity is possible;
Anchors in the formal agendas for critical legal decisions that can unlock resources and mobilize solutions.
Carlos Alvarado Quesada – 48th President of the Republic of Costa Rica; Professor of Practice of Diplomacy at The Fletcher School at Tufts University
Georg Børsting – a member of the Transitional Committee on Loss and Damage and long-time member of the Standing Committee on Finance
Josefina Achaval Torre – Global Coordinator of the Good Food Finance Network Secretariat
Session 3 of the SB58 cycle of Earth Diplomacy Leadership Initiative workshops opened with a review of key takeaways from Sessions 1 and 2. In particular, we emphasized:
The value of observers and negotiators sharing constructive insights that help others understand the integrated and holistic landscape of the negotiations, to make consensus around high ambition more likely;
The need to work across instruments and “institutional arrangements” (and conventions) as called for in Article 6.8(c) of the Paris Agreement;
The critical insight that negotiators need to have top of mind, that the path to safety and prosperity will only become more difficult and more expensive, the longer we wait.
Georg Børsting, a member of the Transitional Committee on Loss and Damage, opened a window into the formal intergovernmental process to address climate damage and vulnerability. He noted that formal talks about addressing climate-related Loss and Damage began at COP13, in 2007.
A work programme was agreed in 2010, and the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) was established by the COP19, in 2013, which is addressing Loss and Damage by enhancing knowledge and understanding with comprehensive risk-management approaches, supporting dialogue and synergies, and enhancing action and support.
The Santiago Network was established in 2019 to catalyze technical assistance related to loss and damage at the local, national and regional level in developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh last year decided to establish new funding arrangements for loss and damage, including a new fund, to support particularly vulnerable developing countries. The decision also established the Transitional Committee (TC) tasked with providing recommendations to COP28 in Dubai on how to operationalize the COP27 decision. The TC will consider details in the design of the fund, elements of the new funding arrangements, identification and expansion of funding sources, and how to ensure coordination and supplementarity with existing funding arrangements.
The 2023 process will include:
Four meetings of the TC, which are all webcasted;
Two workshops that will inform the work of the TC;
Input from the Glasgow Dialogue, established at COP26 in 2022;
A ministerial meeting;
An open invitation for input from Parties and from non-Party observers, including civil society.
Josefina Achaval Torre, Global Coordinator of the Good Food Finance Network secretariat, outlined the work of the Network, and the complex ongoing process to co-create a Co-Investment Platform for Food Systems Transformation. Connections between climate change and food systems are extensive: industrial food and land use practices are significant contributors to climate change, and climate change is undermining ecosystems, watersheds, and agricultural production.
Ms. Achaval Torre outlined the Good Food Finance Network’s efforts in three core areas:
Advocacy and Knowledge, including a growing resource library aimed at making ‘good food finance’ more mainstream;
A High Ambition Group of corporate and financial first-movers, whose first round of commitments cover $108 billion in business activity;
Development of a global Co-Investment Platform for Food Systems Transformation.
The GFFN is a strong example of how non-state actors (also referred to as non-Party stakeholders in UNFCCC proceedings) can coordinate to advance climate priorities while meeting other sustainable development objectives and improving business conditions.
The Co-Investment Platform will support funding into food systems that addresses mitigation, adaptation, or resilience, and could also provide means to address loss and damage.
It aims to serve not only governments or large-scale actors, but also small-scale farmers, and vulnerable communities conventionally beyond the reach of mainstream finance.
Carlos Alvarado Quesada, 48th President of the Republic of Costa Rica, and a Professor of Practice at The Fletcher School at Tufts University, closed the pre-Bonn sessions with a deep dive into three catalytic mindset shifts that can enhance diplomatic engagement and support more ambitious outcomes. He recommended negotiators and observers to the process:
Connect beyond networking, at the human level.
Embrace complexity; frame problems in a multidimensional way.
Be mindful of the emerging paradigm, recognizing that the optimal solution comes when everyone gets involved.
President Alvarado noted that high-level decision-makers often have no choice but to deal with climate impacts, policy, and action alongside a diverse range of other priorities, each demanding urgent attention. Professional networking is not the kind of connection that allows for a powerful refocusing of attention; human connections, where people are themselves, connect, and get to know each other’s perspectives, can help leaders focus on the human impact of climate policy.
How we frame problems matters: If we are too focused on solving one problem, without thinking through ramifications and interactions with the wider dynamic of human development, we can find unintended negative consequences falling on innocent third parties, or disrupting our own wider goals and aims. Embracing complexity is more than a mindset; it allows the process of policy-making to be upgraded to leverage integrated and holistic approaches, and to seek cascading co-benefits, instead of inefficient and preventable unintended harm and cost.
The world might be moving from a contest for spices, metals, coal, oil, and gas, to a context for biodiversity benefits and minerals needed for clean energy production. Can we avoid a repeat of the degradations of an extractive development paradigm, and shift instead to a sustainable integral human development paradigm?
The climate negotiations provide a venue where this kind of transition could take root. The challenge of achieving effective, inclusive, and sustainable outcomes through international climate cooperation requires diplomats to think beyond national interest, to shared progress and mutual gains. Building consensus means leaving behind zero-sum calculations, so agreed outcomes can produce real-world effects that are more than the sum of the national contributions.
The urgent and increasing need to address climate-related loss and damage is a clear sign that the community of nations is not acting quickly enough or widely enough to avoid dangerous climate change.
The most vulnerable and already impacted countries and communities need immediate, consequential progress on funding to address loss and damage.
How the process defines the ‘particularly vulnerable’ may determine where funding goes; support needs to go to front-line communities, not just to national governments.
Participation is a crucial piece of the puzzle—for effective policy design and implementation, and for the raising of ambition and mainstreaming of climate-smart practices.
Non-Party stakeholders hold transformational capabilities, can be leading mobilizers of resources, and can coordinate to co-create new ways of doing business and more sustainable market dynamics.
Food systems are not only highly vulnerable to climate disruption; they are everyday levers of action for restoring nature, supporting human health, building resilience, and optimizing the flow of capital.
Sustainable finance can generate wider impact when mutual accountability systems are in place, and trusted; efforts to connect data systems, to support multidimensional performance metrics can unlock unprecedented sums of mainstream finance.
Intergovernmental negotiations are a human endeavor, where cooperative problem-solving is a necessary ingredient for success.
The process can achieve higher ambition when there are stronger human connections between participants, including between powerful leaders and marginal stakeholders.
Negotiators should look for opportunities to use active and emerging elements of the process to address needs at the global, national, and local scales, intentionally aiming to spread benefits and create outcomes that are more than the sum total of everyone’s estimated “fair share”.
The UNFCCC process—and so the SB58 and the COP28 later this year—can be a place for developing bold progress toward an integrated and holistic upgrading of national and international development strategies.
Working across instruments, across aims and institutions, and across conventions, may be a deciding factor in whether humankind can successfully achieve climate-resilient development.
For more about the Earth Diplomacy Leadership Initiative, co-convened by Citizens’ Climate International and The Fletcher School at Tufts University, go to: