We would like to thank the UAE Government and the COP28 President for the excellent arrangements for the Conference and the leadership they have demonstrated at this Conference so far.
We reaffirm our support to the process so that we arrive at a meaningful and ambitious outcome here at COP28.
We wish to share our reflections on the status of negotiations and indicate our expectations of the outcome of this Conference.
As you know, COP28 has been dubbed as a crucial moment for global climate action as we take stock of the implementation of the Paris Agreement of 2015.
For us, as the African Group, we came here focused and determined to ensure that COP28 delivers a fair and balanced Global Stocktake that catalyses greater ambition across all elements of climate action, i.e. adaptation, loss and damage, mitigation and means of implementation centered on equity; a Just Transition work programme aimed at promoting sustainable development; and climate finance where developed countries make meaningful financial commitments, both in quality and quantity, based on their obligations under the climate convention as well as the Paris Agreement.
As such, we expect COP28 to result in tangible outcomes which reflect Africa’s aspirations, especially on the need for enhanced climate adaptation.
We expect a robust Framework on the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA) outcome as the work programme comes to a close at this session, and we are disappointed by the lack of progress on this important issue in the first week.
Decisions we must reach at COP28
We are concerned about the lack of progress on various issues of importance to our group particularly on finance and adaptation. However, with few days remaining, we believe we can still deliver on the following work streams.
We reiterate that adaptation is a key priority for the African Continent and a critical component in the implementation of the Paris Agreement. Adaptation is a matter of survival for us in Africa. Amid all the summits and meetings taking place to discuss this issue, what Africans need to see is action to help us adapt to this changing climate. How are we to cope with the persistent droughts, the devastating storms and rising seas which threaten our very lives and livelihoods?
Last month, the UN Environment Programme published its Adaptation Gap report, which revealed the scale of the problem – a widening gap between the adaptation needs of vulnerable countries and the funding that has been made available so far. The report has revealed that the gap is 50% larger than previously thought and that the adaptation needs are now ten to 18 times as great as the flows of international public finance.
We wish to agree with the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, on the report, who said, and we quote: “Lives and livelihoods are being lost and destroyed, with the vulnerable suffering the most. We are in an adaptation emergency. We must act like it. And take steps to close the adaptation gap, now.”
COP28 is mandated to complete the work undertaken for the past two years under the Global Goal on Adaptation, by launching a robust framework on the GGA. The outcome of the GGA is the most important outcome for Africa at COP28, without which we would consider COP28 a failure.
As we have stated before, at the heart of the framework is the development of qualitative and quantitative dimensional and thematic science-based targets that are measurable and time-bound to help us achieve the objective of the goal on adaptation.
Further, the means of implementation, including finance, capacity building, and technology transfer, will be a critical component of the GGA framework. We believe that further technical work in unpacking the goal informed by science will be necessary upon the adoption of a robust framework here in Dubai.
On Loss and Damage
The delivery on the Sharm El-Sheik COP27 decision to establish a new fund for loss and damage was a milestone achievement for the multilateral process.
We note a historic and positive start to this Conference where the Loss and Damage Fund was operationalised and initial financial commitments made within minutes. As we welcome this good news, we are cautious of similar commitments made in the past, which, from our standpoint, have not been fulfilled. We hope this won’t be the case with the Loss and Damage fund.
We are also alive to the fact that loss and damage requires billions, if not trillions, of dollars. We, therefore, call for more resources in order to actualise the intended purpose of the Fund, addressing loss and damage.
We also wish to note the adoption of the decision regarding the operationalisation of the Santiago Network on Loss and Damage.
We take this opportunity to commend our technical negotiating teams who represented us on the Transitional Committee on Loss and Damage for a job well done.
Finance is critical for the implementation of both the convention and the Paris Agreement.
Africa has and continues to suffer the brunt of the adverse effects of climate change and has not received the required multilateral support to face the climate challenge. African countries require access to scaled-up levels of new and additional and predictable grant and concessional finance for climate action.
However, Despite the clear provisions in the Paris Agreement that make the level of ambition by developing countries contingent on the support provided by developed countries, we continue to witness a decline in the delivery of public climate finance in real terms.
Developed countries have not met the $100 billion per year mobilisation goal by 2020. The goal of doubling adaptation finance from 2019 levels by 2025 is an undertaking on paper only. Various reports demonstrate the enormous climate change needs of developing countries and how present public climate finance flows are not forthcoming, inadequate and lack quality.
On the Global Stocktake (GST)
We have now reached the final leg of the consideration of the output phase. It’s important that the outcome is practical and one that all parties can effectively implement. In article 2.1, the Paris Agreement places emphasis on the pursuit of sustainable development and eradication of poverty to make certain that the poorest and most vulnerable are not left behind as we ramp up climate action across all fronts in light of equity and the best available science.
The GST outcome must therefore be guided by the principles of the UNFCCC and Paris Agreement, in particular, common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities in light of different national circumstances.
GST must explicitly recognise Africa’s developmental constraints and challenges and facilitate the provision of the support and development space for the continent to exploit its natural resources and endowments for achieving Sustainable development goals. On the other hand, the just and resilient low-carbon development, if not properly designed, risks widening the developmental gap between Africa and the rest of the world. This is not the sort of outcome we must leave here with. The GST outcome must enable us to achieve the purpose of the Paris Agreement in the fullest sense.
On the Just Transition Pathways
The African Group welcomes the establishment of this important Work Programme. Advancing the implementation and strengthening of the global response to the threat of climate change, however, this should be in the context of equity and centre on sustainable development and poverty eradication. We should design a robust and comprehensive work programme including elements, scope, and modalities here in Dubai, that recognises the different pathways for achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement.
We look forward to engaging constructively with all parties for a successful outcome of COP28.
By Collins Nzovu, Minister of Green Economy and Environment of Zambia as Chair of the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change (AGN)