AOSIS delivers opening statement at the beginning of joint plenary at COP272022-11-06 AOSIS Download PDF
Statement on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) at the Joint Plenary of COP27, CMP17, CMA4, SBSTA57 and SBI57
6 November 2022
I have the honor to deliver these remarks on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States in line with the statement delivered by the Group of 77 and China. Introduction We would like to thank the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt for their outstanding efforts in hosting COP27 in Sharm el Sheikh. Africa is the cradle of humanity, and so we return to this cradle to implore the global community to protect our humanity – to limit global warming to 1.5- degrees with no overshoot. Yet, the world is not even promising us that they will do enough to avert the excessive danger we face. COP27 must establish a Loss and Damage Response Fund.
Loss and Damage Response Finance
The evidence is irrefutable. The loss of lives and livelihoods, of territories and cultures, is irreversible. The culprit – human-induced climate change – is unquestionable. Already at 1.1-degrees of warming, we are living in an era of unmanageable loss and damage. We on the frontlines are paying the price for decades of wholly insufficient action by those most responsible for the dangerous state of our climate. More than 140 countries proposed a way forward. With more and more loss and damage occurring we remain resolute in our ask that we urgently need a fit for purpose, multilateral fund designated as an operating entity of the UNFCCC Financial Mechanism. At the close of the Glasgow Conference, AOSIS signaled that the time had come to see the finance gap on loss and damage closed once and for all. That time is now. We welcome the Presidency’s appointment of two able Ministers to shepherd the process forward and deliver from the start of the sessions of the COP and the CMA:
-Agreement on a new finance agenda item on loss and damage;
-Agreement on a way forward to implement the agenda item with a view to finally addressing the finance gap within the UNFCCC climate finance architecture on loss and damage
Given the scale of loss and damage that we face relative to the size of our populations and economies, and the decades it has taken of patient laboring to get here, establishing a loss and damage fund under the UNFCCC is only the beginning AOSIS appeals for solidarity not charity. We will work as always in a cooperative spirit despite the injustices we are suffering.
Climate ambition in the Sharm el Sheikh outcome
At the closing of last year’s COP, the world acknowledged that we are collectively teetering on the edge of overshoot and into disaster and that COP27 could resuscitate the weak pulse of 1.5. We arrive in Sharm El Sheikh with only a handful of countries delivering on the call for updated NDCs promising an incremental increase in ambition since COP26. Major emitters cannot even promise to do enough, and as the UNEP Gap Report outlined, incremental change is no longer an option – we need broad-based economy-wide transformations across all sectors. Parties are still not operating at the scale and pace needed to ensure that we achieve the 1.5°C goal with no overshoot. Current climate change policies remain highly inadequate and implementation remains insufficient for achieving the 1.5°C goal. We are on a path to a 2.7°C world by the year 2100. All recent reports confirm we are doing too little, but it is not too late for 1.5°C. We need political will. We are in the midst of an energy crisis that is challenging for us all. It has unfortunately been amplified by the lack of progress by developed countries to wean themselves off fossil fuels. In 2022, just months after the adoption of the Glasgow Climate Pact the oil and gas industry is expected to double profits which have averaged 1 trillion US dollars per year for the past fifty years. We demand major emitters, especially the G20, to recommit themselves to the 1.5°C of the Paris Agreement, the key decisions we took just one year ago and some guarantees that these shortterm carbon-intensive solutions to the energy crisis are in fact short-term, such as writing them off before the end of their economic life as stranded assets. Limiting warming to the targeted 1.5°C temperature goal of the Paris Agreement is critical to the survival of SIDS. Climate risks will escalate with every increment of global warming. Beyond 1.5°C, climate resilient development is increasingly impossible for small islands. Limiting warming to 1.5°C could halve the increase in expected damage from tropical cyclones in Antigua and Barbuda by 2050 compared to a scenario based on current policies. Globally, emissions must peak immediately, well before 2025, and be halved by 2030. The COP27 decisions must reiterate the call for Parties who have not yet communicated new or updated nationally determined contributions and long-term strategies to do so as soon as possible in advance of COP-28, and announce clear implementation plans to achieve them. Parties, who have not yet peaked emissions, should also indicate when they are projected to peak. A robust decision here at COP27 to operationalise the Mitigation Work Programme (MWP) will be a defining success factor here at COP. The MWP will be critical to increasing ambition and enhancing NDC implementation at the scale and pace needed in this critical decade. AOSIS has always been a strong advocate to ensure our work is guided and informed by the best available science, the MWP is no different. Working Group 3 of the IPCC AR6 has the solutions, we just need to implement them. We believe that the MWP should be comprised of sectoral or thematic focused discussions and foster partnerships to catalyse ambitious mitigation actions geared towards closing the 2030 emissions gap, against 1.5°C compatible pathways. Targeting high-impact sectors and sub-sectors that have the highest abatement potential at the lowest cost within the 2020-2030 period is key for achieving net zero emissions globally. Apart from mandating the draft decision to establish the MWP, the Glasgow Climate Pact also recognised the need to reduce global carbon dioxide emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 relative to the 2010 level and to net zero around mid-century, to achieve deep reductions in other greenhouse gases, accelerate the development, deployment and dissemination of technologies, and adoption of policies to transition towards low-emission energy systems, including scaling up the deployment of clean power generation and energy efficiency measures, and to accelerate efforts towards the phasedown of unabated coal power and phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. We ask for a space at this COP to follow up on these issues in a cover decision coming out of this COP. AOSIS believes that giving a political signal that 1.5°C must stay alive for the survival of humankind is key.
In the face of unprecedented climate impacts, adaptation to climate change has never been more pressing. The IPCC’s Second Working Group report under AR6 on adaptation, vulnerabilities and impacts confirms we are barreling towards and in some instances, past the limits of adaptation. The science is clear we are amidst profound constraints and limits to adaptation. We have entered an era where hard limits to adaptation for ecosystems and people are already being reached and the rapid scaling up of climate finance is urgently needed. Despite the grand promises made at COP 26 on adaptation finance, pledges failed to turn to actual committed funds and the gap between what is being done and what is needed continues to grow. Alongside pledges must be transparency and accountability, otherwise, there is no certainty of progress. At this COP, we pave the way for success on the Global Goal on Adaptation at COP28 which requires a decision that goes beyond process. The GGA must ensure the recognition of the transboundary nature of adaptation, considering it a global problem requiring urgent and immediate global solutions. In the last 9 months, we have attended three workshops for the Glasgow-Sharm-el-Sheikh Work Programme on the Global Goal on Adaptation hoping that it delivers on the much-needed transformational adaptation action and support. On the adaptation continuum, we need to enhance adaptation planning and move to implementation. This is not possible without access to finance for the implementation of NAPs aligned with national priorities and adapted to the special circumstances of SIDS. It is more than necessary that this COP, this implementation COP, delivers a decision that shows commitment from developed countries to close the gaps between formulation and implementation of NAPs.
Market and Non-market approaches
For AOSIS, one of the key accomplishments of Glasgow was reaching agreement on the mandatory application of a 5% SOP rate for adaptation and a mandatory cancellation rate of 2% for OMGE under Article 6.4. At Sharm el Sheikh, we want the full implementation of Article 6, but it cannot not come at the price of allowing any decisions that permits a ‘gaming of the system’. OMGE, SOP and their related corresponding adjustments must apply at the time of issuance of all Article 6.4 units. Moreover, we expect that all Parties will respect the strong encouragement in the 6.2 decision and apply ITMO cancellations towards OMGE and contribution of resources for adaptation in all circumstances. SOP and OMGE speak to higher mitigation and adaptation ambition. And with the rules of Article 6 now in place, we have an important mechanism for fighting climate change, helping countries make meaningful emissions cuts by partnering with other countries who have gone above and beyond their country targets, while ensuring environmental integrity, sustainable development, and transparency in climate action. Moreover, in solidarity of countries at the frontline of the climate crisis and to support higher ambition in Parties’ mitigation and adaptation actions under the Paris Agreement, we call on all Parties and Groups of Parties to join AOSIS members in communicating their intent not to utilize CERs towards their first or updated NDCs.
Finance and Means of Implementation
While the UNFCCC tabulates climate finance in the billions, the real world demands for finance are in the order of trillions. COP27 must set us on an upward trajectory with clearly defined benchmarks from now through to 2025 when the next goal is set. First, consistent with the 100 billion delivery plan, 2023, some three years after the initial deadline, should mark the first benchmark when the 100 billion floor is finally achieved. A second important benchmark is clarity on a delivery plan to achieve the doubling of adaptation finance. However, we cannot wait until 2025 to determine whether that benchmark has been achieved. We need a credible, predictable plan that sets out who is providing, who is receiving and how the finance is being channeled. With transparency and accountability, we can ensure that developed countries are making steady progress towards scaling up finance for adaptation in line with the needs of developing countries and to ensuring that the most vulnerable are the beneficiaries of those funds. A third critical benchmark is agreement on a new climate finance goal by COP29. Exchanges in the technical expert dialogues under the Ad Hoc Work Programme on the NCQG have already revealed areas of convergence which should be anchored and how discussions should be in line with the Paris Agreement, including Article 9. These could include agreed principles of new, additional, predictable, and accessible; that the goal must be transformative, that the role of the public sector is fundamental but so too will be the private sector; that there shall be sub-goals and targets, and that the goal should elaborate on how we achieve those sub-goals and targets including in terms of sources, instruments, and modalities. But there are also areas where technical work is still needed, including to build further understanding on how dynamism can be built into the goal so that it can be responsive to or flexible to adjust to the needs and priorities of developing countries in achieving the Paris Agreement goals; and on how the goal can support a common understanding on climate finance to allow for improved transparency and accountability. While highlighting these key benchmarks, AOSIS also considers the importance of other decisions that the governing bodies will take to ensure that the UNFCCC climate finance architecture continues to improve on scale, timely and predictable delivery, ease of access, and affordability, especially for the particularly vulnerable and capacity constrained, and finally that this is done with utmost transparency. In this vein, we will engage constructively to conclude decisions on the Fourth Review of the Adaptation Fund, the Fifth Review of the Financial Mechanism, and to provide guidance to the operating entities.
Parties must further operationalize Article 11, paragraph 1, of the Paris Agreement, which recognizes that capacity building should enhance effective climate action, in particular of SIDS as a group of Parties that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. SIDS are hamstrung in implementing our NDCs, which are at the heart of the Paris Agreement. Limited financial resources and technical support, limited capacity in vulnerability, impact and adaptation assessments; limited capacity in socio-economic assessments of impacts of response measures, limited technical and institutional capacity to undertake various relevant research and studies. Limited financial and human resources for capacity building to increase the base of local expertise in atmospheric and ocean sciences; lack of efficient networking and coordination in the research arena at local and regional levels; lack of capacity in creating strategies and mechanisms to access, store and disseminate relevant information on climate change. The list is long. We need a renewed commitment by developed country Parties to double their efforts in investing and supporting the capacity building of SIDS to ensure our adaptation and mitigation efforts to combat climate change impacts does not go in vain.
Technology Development and Transfer
On technology, AOSIS calls for substantial progress to be made on the four technology agenda items at this session. AOSIS recalls the IPCC guidance that technology development and transfer is critical for enhanced and ambitious climate action. In this regard, AOSIS reiterates the call to urgently address the barriers, challenges and gaps identified in the Joint Annual Reports of the TEC and the CTCN, the Poznan Strategic Programme and the First Periodic Assessment. AOSIS laments that we were not able to achieve consensus on the linkages between the Technology Mechanism and the Financial Mechanism at SB56 and insists on the maintenance of this agenda item under the COP and for the scaling up of resources for technology development and transfer as envisaged in the Convention and the Paris Agreement.
As set out in the various reports that have come forward in recent weeks, we are all well aware that we are not on track to deliver on the goals that we have agreed in the Paris Agreement. We created the GST process as a mechanism to deal with the very circumstances we find ourselves in today. AOSIS sees the GST as a strategic political and technical lever that can help us to course correct, not just post-2030, but also within this critical decade. It is perhaps the only GST that can make a difference for the 1.5C limit. It is not just a box-ticking exercise. AOSIS looks forward to the GST arrangements for this session and stands ready to contribute to meaningful deliberations.
The journey for Transparency continues to be an uphill battle, with minimal wins. Nevertheless, the fight continues. At COP 26, under Transparency, we were able to effectively finalize and adopt the formats and outlines for reporting under the Enhanced Transparency Frameworks (ETF) to begin in 2024. At June’s SBs, we were given another opportunity to further solidify trust to operationalize reporting and reviews under the ETF, as Parties were called to share submissions on the review process on a voluntary basis for adaptation and loss and damage information for the upcoming biennial transparency reports. This agenda item provides the prospect to advance this critical issue as it is a cross cutting issue relating to the review of adaptation and loss & damage reported on a voluntary basis as well as training courses that relate to capacity building. Following the SBs, we left with the unfavorable feeling that we were all making concessions to make room for this new agenda item. The difficulties encountered were that of securing funding and support for the review and training of SIDS specialists on a volunteer basis. COP27 needs to be for execution and for the operationalization of reporting and review under the ETF that is as facilitative as possible with special consideration given to SIDS and LDCs, to ensure capacity building at the domestic level on the reporting requirements. It is also important to have the assurance that SIDS benefit from the voluntary review without cost implications. The work and decisions from this COP should complement the work of the WIM ExCom and the Adaptation Committee while also providing capacity building in these areas in the review process. AOSIS would like to use this opportunity to draw attention to the Transparency needs for this year: a training programme for national SIDS experts for the preparation of our first BTRs in 2024, a manual for national experts for preparing BTRs and adequate and timely funding for this first upcoming 2024 BTR.
Loss and Damage
On catalyzing technical assistance under the Santiago Network, COP 27 should launch the process of selecting the coordinating body/host that will have the responsibility of managing the network. Here in Sharm El-Sheikh, it is important that we discuss the sustained financing of the Santiago Network and agree on a fit-for-purpose institutional arrangement. With respect to the governance of the WIM, we maintain that dual governance holds true. The WIM was established to fulfill its role under the Convention of promoting the implementation of approaches to address loss and damage. The Paris Agreement did not cancel the original intent of the WIM but expanded its reach to include the new treaty. Loss and damage will not be relegated to only the Paris Agreement. The COP has prominence in the implementation of the WIM.
AOSIS is committed to moving from the limited progress we left at SB56 to move the KCI’s work plan to one that responds to the needs of the Parties and build the capacity of SIDS to understand, assess and address the potential socio-economic impacts of response measures. This is particularly the case in understanding and addressing the cross-border impacts so the just transition that we urgently need is achieved. AOSIS acknowledges the good technical work of the KCI to advance the activities from the Madrid workplan. Building on this work, AOSIS is committed to moving from the progress we left at SB56 to move the KCI’s work plan to one that further responds to the needs of the Parties and build the capacity of SIDS to understand, assess and address the potential socio-economic impacts of response measures. This is particularly the case in understanding and addressing the cross-border impacts so the just transition that we urgently need is achieved. In this regard, we welcome the discussions and agreement at KCI7 to prepare a note on the potential impact of the COP 26 and COP27 decisions on the KCI work. This will help to ensure that the KCI work is current and relates to the real-world developments that support mitigation efforts and address its impacts.
Gender and indigenous and local communities
The most vulnerable of our communities are at risk of losing their identity, culture, livelihood, ecosystem, rights and lives as the climate crisis intensifies. Already, sea-level rise and climate change, coupled with other environmental changes, have been blamed for the destruction of important and unique cultural and spiritual sites, coastal protected areas, and traditional heritage sites in some SIDS, devastating developments for indigenous groups and local communities. Rising temperatures and eroding coastlines threaten the viability of our economies. The potential of an uninhabitable island or one which disappears due to a rise in sea level by one meter erases the future of a next generation living and thriving in our islands. The grim reality of SIDS is the driving force for the AOSIS call to action and its support for measures which address and include communities most affected. AOSIS joins our colleagues in pushing for a more favorable outcome on the Review of the Enhanced Lima Work Programme on Gender and its Action Plan and ensuring the capacity restraints faced by SIDS and developing countries in implementing the GAP are addressed.
In Glasgow last year, the importance of oceans in climate negotiations was finally acknowledged. To put this into context, we are currently just a few miles away from one of the world’s most ecologically rich and captivating reef systems. The longer we continue to ignore the dire need, the closer we get to losing these ecosystems. We need to foster ambitious ocean-based action, across the relevant international regimes and processes and UN bodies with mandates related to oceans. We must work to protect marine ecosystems which help sustain the livelihoods of all who live not only in Sharm el-Sheikh but millions across the world. We request the Presidency to consider how the recommendations of the ocean dialogue will be tabled along with elements of the report at COP27. We request that 1.CP/27 does justice to more than 70% of this planet and understand that the survival of billions hinges on the decisions made here.
We deliver this statement only days after Hurricane Lisa launched its attack on Belize and only weeks after Hurricane Ian ravaged Cuba; months after biblical flooding in Pakistan and displacement in Nigeria from storm surge made worse by sea level rise – the era of loss and damage is upon us, and we have no choice, we cannot pretend it is not here. I thank you
Sub Topic: Loss & Damage