Climate Finance Pledges Must Be High In Quality, Not Just Quantity

2021-11-08 Lia Nicholson, AOSIS Lead Climate Negotiator Download PDF

Topic: Climate

Statement on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS)
COP Presidency Stocktaking
8 November 2021

I have the honour to speak on behalf of AOSIS, in line with the statement delivered by the Republic of Guinea for the Group of 77 and China.

A flurry of pledges and announcements were made last week and while AOSIS welcomes these, before we congratulate ourselves, let’s ensure that these are credible, compatible with the collective 1.5-degree pathway, and when it comes to finance, high in quality and not just quantity.

If a tree falls in a forest and no one hears, does it make a sound? The NDC Synthesis Report event took place briefly late at night in a small room, with a musical interlude. Colleagues, most of us were not there to hear it. This report reveals a huge ambition gap. We need stronger 2030 NDCs, by next year, with concrete implementation plans. AOSIS requests the Synthesis report’s presentation to the CMA, and more systematic updating and inclusion of this report going forward.

Emission ranges in the NDC Synthesis Report reveal conditional targets. The failure to deliver 100 billion per year by 2020, as underscored by the G77 & China Chair, is a missing rung in the Paris Agreement’s ratchet-up mechanism. So too is the failure to strike a balance for adaptation finance, which should be at least doubled immediately. Presidency, we recommend that the cover decision call for finance to at least be on par with mitigation finance. Every cog must function for the Paris mechanism to work, and we need it to be working overtime to catch up to a 1.5-degree pathway and adapt to locked-in impacts.

We must launch a process to operationalise new and additional loss and damage financing. AOSIS leaders last week called for safeguards against “wipe out risk” – the climate impacts that have forced islands into unsustainable debt, arresting development and holding us hostage to random acts of charity. Loss and damage must be reflected on the world’s balance sheet, starting now and in the new quantified finance goal. We expect discussions on this goal to be transparent, inclusive, and multilateral.

AOSIS questions the merit of including the Santiago Network in the Glasgow cover decision. Its inclusion could distract from our unwavering focus on securing new and additional financing for loss and damage. Financial support for Loss and Damage has been the platform of AOSIS for 20 years – since the Alliance’s submission for the UNFCCC treaty in 1991.

While there is universal excitement to move into full implementation mode, the UNFCCC needs a more robust process to address distortions that heighten social and economic risks of the transition. Colleagues, I refer to the trillions of dollars in subsidies handed over to the fossil fuel industry since the Paris Agreement’s adoption, meanwhile a meagre 2 billion dollars per year is available through the UN’s climate funds.

G-20 members agreed in 2009 to phase out “inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies”. In 2016, G-7 nations for the first time set a deadline to end fossil fuel subsidies by 2025. We must reflect this progress, albeit inadequate, in the UNFCCC, along with the climate resilience benefits of a diversified energy system.

A stated objective of this COP Presidency is to keep the 1.5-degree goal alive. We have heard many Parties support inclusion of calling for an end to fossil fuel subsidies in major economies, and to accelerate clear implementation pathways. AOSIS requests this inclusion in the cover decision.

Let us stop paying lip service on access to finance. AOSIS has tabled numerous concrete proposals across agenda items to address chronic challenges that not only SIDS face, but that also inhibit lofty goals to mobilise private finance.

In closing, Excellency, I voice my group’s practical concern that no less than four negotiating sessions began with AOSIS not in the room, because three agenda items for which we have one Coordinator were happening in parallel In one case, our Coordinator was stuck outside as the room was at capacity. That coordinator represents the voice of 39 Parties in this process.

We place our trust in the COP Presidency to ensure that each Group Constituency has a literal seat at the table.We recognize and appreciate your extraordinary efforts to host over 39,000 registered participants in the midst of a pandemic.

I thank you.

Sub Topic: Cross-cutting


Meeting: COP26