Day 9 – “Biodiversity Day”
On Wednesday, the focus at COP 27 was on climate change’s impacts on biodiversity and endangered species, and on the link between climate change and nature and ecosystem-based solutions.
Dedicated sessions and meetings discussed the need for integrated responses to climate change and biodiversity loss, as well as solutions to use biodiversity management to improve climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Some key highlights from the day included:
- India’s proposal to add in the final decision a commitment to “phase down” all fossil fuels has gathered support by several States parties, with US Presidential Climate Envoy John Kerry reportedly backing the proposal if limited to unchecked emissions. Some African and Middle Eastern countries, in particular Saudi Arabia, have criticized the proposal, stating it “demonises” the fossil fuel industry.
- US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and Egyptian Minister of Environment Yasmine Fouad participated in the opening of the Connecting Climate and Biodiversity event. Kerry affirmed that the US has pledged $25 billion to develop infrastructure that support nature-based solutions and has underlined the importance of these solutions in simultaneously tackling climate change and loss of biodiversity.
- The Enhancing Nature-based Solutions for an Accelerated Climate Transformation (ENACT) initiative was officially launched during the biodiversity session “Hope: Providing Solutions and Benefits for Biodiversity, climate, and people“. The ENACT initiative is a voluntary coalition involving both state and non-state actors, aiming to coordinate effort to find nature-based solutions to address climate change and biodiversity loss. The initiative will be implemented through the ENACT Secretariat, which, starting in 2023, will compile an annual State of the Nature-based Solutions report and will deliver it to future COP Presidencies to be discussed at future COPs.
Progress of negotiations
On Wednesday, government ministers returned to Sharm El-Sheikh to begin final negotiations, although the anticipated shift from technical to political discussion was only partially achieved, with many issues being discussed in parallel on the two fronts.
Negotiations advanced at a slow pace: many issues remain unresolved and many texts have been forwarded to the COP Presidency still including unagreed options and bracketed wording.
The maintaining of the 1.5 °C goal in the text of the COP 27 decision appears to be a contentious topic, despite the US and the EU strongly pushing for the commitment to be included. A strong signal in favour of the 1.5 °C goal came from G20 leaders gathered in Indonesia, who issued a statement reaffirming their “steadfast commitments in pursuit of the objective of UNFCCC to tackle climate change by strengthening the full and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement and its temperature goal” of 1.5 °C above preindustrial levels.
Progress was made on adaptation, with delegates agreeing on a draft text regarding the Adaptation Fund Board. This agreement came amid developed countries pledges to give $172 million to the Adaptation Fund.
On adaptation-related news, the European Union launched on Wednesday a new initiative on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience in Africa, an initiative that will aim to combine existing and new climate adaptation programmes to help countries in Africa improve resilience in the face of adverse impacts of climate change. The initiative will mobilise €1 billion to serve this purpose.
Loss and Damage
Negotiations on loss and damage and on the implementation of a financial mechanism to address it, one of the most discussed points at COP 27, also made little progress. The divide between developed and developing countries remains: developed countries are favourable to agreeing now on a process that would lead to a financial arrangement put into place in 2024, while developing countries have been calling for a final decision at COP 27 that establishes a financial facility or fund, whose details will then be worked out over the next two years.
Despite the stalling on a funding mechanism, a step forward on the issue of loss and damage was made when parties agreed to fully operationalise the Santiago Network. The network was first established at COP 25 in Madrid in 2019, with the goal of catalysing technical assistance to help developing countries avert, minimize and address loss and damage.
Even though details for the operationalisation of the Santiago Network have not been laid out, the agreement shows that efforts to find consensus on loss and damage are still ongoing.
Talks on finance continued throughout day 9, with countries discussing long-term finance and the setting of a new goal on climate finance. Technical and political discussions on these issues were held in parallel, although no final agreement was achieved.
The text on the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the climate fund created at the Paris Agreement with the mandate to support developing countries in implementing their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), was also the object of informal consultations. One developing country sought to include in the text a commitment to “at least double” the funding from the GFC, but delegates from developed countries rejected the proposal.
Brazil incoming President Luiz Iniacio Lula da Silva addressed COP 27 on Wednesday and announced that “Brazil is ready to come back” into climate talks and action.
Lula promised that his government will make climate change one of its priorities and that it will implement policies to protect the Amazon by fighting deforestation. Lula also vowed that indigenous people will be included in this effort to protect the Amazon and announced the creation of a Brazilian Ministry for Indigenous people.
Lula also confirmed news announced on Wednesday that Germany and Norway will reopen the Amazon Fund, whose financial resources were frozen under the previous Bolsonaro Presidency.
The Brazilian President aims to have Brazil host COP 30 in 2025, in a venue located in the Amazon rainforest.