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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

COP28: CSOs apprehensive of potential collapse of discussions on Global Goal on Adaptation

As end of the first week of COP28 approaches, African Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have raised a red flag on the stalling progress of the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA) negotiations, expressing fears that the process may not yield a concrete outcome.

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COP28 in Dubai

A decision on GGA had been cited as one of the key outcomes of this COP. But CSOs are now apprehensive that the negotiations are losing this momentum. They claim the current negotiations may lead to a watered down GGA.

The observers fear developed nations might be disinclined to push for a decision on the Global Goal on Adaptation, especially since the decision on Loss and Damage Fund has already been agreed and money started to flow into it.

The L&D decision was announced on the second day of the ongoing climate talks. Some countries in the Global North have already started to contribute money to it, with $400 million pledged so far.

But with the discussions still ongoing, experts are calling on negotiation teams to be bolder and more ambitious to prevent the collapse of the critical discussions.

Days before COP28, African Civil Society Organisations wrote a Common Position Paper on Adaptation and Loss and Damage, highlighting a robust framework for the Global Goal on Adaptation as one of Africa’s core priorities at the climate summit.

In the paper, the CSOs called on COP28 to operationalise and establish a comprehensive framework for the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA) as one of its key outcomes. To scale up adaptation action, they also wanted the COP presidency to decide on a clear, quantitative, and holistic global target for the GGA, a concrete target for means of implementation (i.e. support for finance, technology transfer, and capacity building), and targets for the adaptation policy cycle.

In recent months, experts have expressed hope that countries would decide on GGA targets at the climate talks by focusing on people, livelihoods, ecosystems and finance, given adaptation is the second goal and therefore equally important part of the Paris Agreement.

African delegations and negotiators have pushing for a position that supports the development of targets for priority sectors such as water, food and agriculture, sustainable cities, health, land use and biodiversity.

In their push, the CSOs and other interest groups want a GGA outcome that is:

  • Clear
  • Quantitative and qualitative
  • Holistic and principle-based
  • Addresses finance needs
  • Easy to institutionalise
  • Globally applicable

Amy G Thorp, the Senior Adaptation and Resilience Policy Advisor at Power Shift Africa, noted: “We cannot talk about adaptation without talking about scaling up finance and a strong Global Goal on Adaptation. Both are critical if we are to fast-track action on building the adaptative capacity of communities on the frontline of the climate crisis, especially in Africa.

“We must urgently close the growing gap on adaptation finance for us to make meaningful progress in enhancing the resilience of our people. So far at this COP, financial pledges have not met the scale of need and commitments for adaptation lukewarm. To move forward, developed nations need to come to the table.”

Mike Terungwa, Director and Founder, Global Initiative for Food Security and Ecosystem Preservation, said: “In the pursuit of climate action that is just and equitable, adaptation becomes our compass. Adaptation finance serves as the fuel that propels climate resilience, ensuring a sustainable and harmonious coexistence with our ecosystems.

“We cannot leave Climate Adaptation in the cold at COP28. There can never be climate action in the absence of adaptation finance. COP28 must deliver an outcome that prioritises finance in ambitious, deliberate and urgent manner.”

Ndivile Mokoena, Project Coordinator, Community & Church, noted: “Elements of inequality and injustice are so prevalent in the discussions. Rich nations, as they have done before, are attempting to dominate this process and to push an agenda that is in their favour. The UNFCCC must embrace the critical component of observers and the role they play in these processes.

“This is important for both the quality of discussions and the outcome. Adaptive capacities and resilience-building initiatives need to take a bottom-up approach. They must also be community-led and gender-responsive for effective interventions and implementation.”

Patience Agyekum, Policy Lead, Strategic Youth Network for Development (SYND), commented: “Article 7 of the Paris Climate Agreement states that the Global Goal on Adaptation would enhance adaptive capacity, strengthen resilience and reduce vulnerability of countries to climate change.

“A comprehensive framework must be agreed on and adopted at COP28 to enable vulnerable countries with special needs and circumstances like many African countries to attract the needed financial and technological support to build their resilience to climate change. We cannot afford to miss this opportunity.”

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