Progress is inadequate – SBSTA and SBI Closing Plenary (SB56) Statement2022-06-16 Ambassador Conrod Hunte
Distinguished Chairs of the Subsidiary Bodies Colleagues Antigua and Barbuda is honoured to deliver this statement on behalf of the 39 members of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). We associate ourselves with the statement made by the Group of 77 and China. Progress is inadequate Chairs, there are some incremental steps that our group can highlight coming out of this session, but this would give a false narrative. We are disappointed by the lack of substantive progress in critical areas. Progress is essential and so is balance. But in the wise words of Minister Shoukry “balance should not be mathematical equation”. Balance should grounded in progress or it can play out into a zero sum game. Considering the big picture: as small island developing states, we do not have any more assurances, after two weeks in Bonn, that the finance we need now will be delivered at scale or speed – now, not in 2025, or some future milestone. We call on developed countries to double adaptation finance pledges to our UNFCCC funds before Sharm el Sheikh. Colleagues, the climate emergency is fast becoming a catastrophe. Yet within these walls, the process feels out of step with reality; the pace is too slow. Loss and damage funding arrangements On loss and damage funding arrangements, AOSIS tabled an insurance facility in 1991. The Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage was created nearly a decade ago. We have tried many times to make the UNFCCC funds capable of adequately addressing loss and damage. At COP26, the Group of 77 and China tabled a proposal for a financing facility to address loss and damage. G77 and China has again tabled such a concrete way forward, a full 145 days before COP27. The one sign that there is some level of reckoning of the impossible situation faced by small islands and other developing countries is that, within these walls, it is no longer taboo to say: “finance to address loss and damage”. We share the sentiment that this first Glasgow Dialogue exchanged rich conversations. But this is too little, too late. We are here to negotiate. Not to educate. Loss and damage is being written out of our tracks, across science, transparency, the new collective quantified finance goal, and others. Science must be the basis of our decisions here, yet we leave with disappointing conclusions. This is an unconscionable way to negotiate with vulnerable countries. Keeping 1.5 alive Mitigation that keeps 1.5 alive is the cornerstone of success at Sharm El-Sheikh, through followups to Glasgow promises and a robust mitigation work programme. We are in code red, teetering on the edge of overshoot and into disaster. COP27 can resuscitate the weak pulse of 1.5. Global emissions must peak immediately and half by 2030. Major emitters – the G20 – must bring strengthened NDCs that collectively close the gap for a 1.5-degree aligned global emissions pathways, with no overshoot, by the 23rd of September to inform the Synthesis Report. As this deadline falls during the UN General Assembly, AOSIS looks forward to welcoming renewed pledges in New York. So, in the words of Bob Marley “Every man got a right to decide his own destiny” – SIDS have the right to a climate safe future. Thank you. Mitigation On mitigation we are deeply disappointed and concerned by the lack of substantive progress here in Bonn. Mitigation ambition, through a robust decision on the mitigation work programme is the cornerstone of a strong COP27 outcome in Sharm El-Sheik. We are teetering on the edge of overshoot and heading into disaster if we do not change the tide. SIDS are acutely aware of what this means. We are currently on code red and so COP27 has to be the place we rescue 1.5°C. We need to peak emissions immediately, half emissions by 2030 and get on a path to net-zero by 2050. The consequence of not doing so is that we will quickly reach the limits of adaptation, and face exponentially increasing loss and damage. The objective of the Mitigation Work Programme is to “urgently scale up mitigation and implementation in this critical decade”, 2020-2030, with the outcome of putting us on a path to limit temperature increase to 1.5°C with no overshoot. We cannot understate the importance of this decision at COP27. Unfortunately, Parties are yet to strengthen NDCs despite agreeing to do so in Glasgow last year. As Parties revisit plans, we encourage them to specify their peaking, if they have not already peaked. We need NDC targets from major emitters, especially the G20, aligned to a 1.5-degree global emissions pathway with no overshoot, by September to inform the Synthesis Report. Finance AOSIS appreciates the efforts of Parties to make progress on finance related issues. We are satisfied that we will be able to conclude the Fourth Review of the Adaptation Fund at COP27. Likewise, we look forward to our next dialogues on the new climate finance goal to begin to elaborate how that goal can effectively address the developing countries’ needs and priorities. AOSIS will continue to constructively engage in these processes. At the same time, we wish to underscore that the climate finance agenda is not confined to these processes alone. There is still a pressing need for developed country parties to make measurable progress on delivering the 100 billion and to provide clarity on how they will deliver that support including in the next biennium to the most vulnerable communities. AOSIS also encourages the establishment of a forum for climate finance providers by 2023 to simplify and harmonise their procedures so that SIDS can more easily access the finance we need at the time and scale required to confront the climate crisis which is fast becoming a climate catastrophe for our people. Loss and damage We agreed in Glasgow to engage here in Bonn on institutional arrangements for the Santiago Network. Negotiators spent hours deliberating on this, anticipating that we would have made significant progress with respect to this issue. Unfortunately, the outcome is far short of expectations. While we recognise the value of the workshop held in Denmark, and time spent here at SB 56 pouring over ways to advance the Network, we are disappointed that the draft conclusions do not have more substance. We see the science, and indeed, the evidence of the devastation that climate change is having. Access to technical assistance for loss and damage under the network from organisations, bodies, networks and experts (OBNEs) is urgent and necessary. We must find a way to progress work leading up to and at SB 57. We cannot afford a similar outcome when next we meet. Adaptation As AOSIS, we welcome the conclusions agreed regarding the Nairobi work programme on impacts, vulnerability, and adaptation to climate change, by reinforcing the work modalities in which adaptation knowledge gaps are addressed, and by responding to specific knowledge needs that might help us to overcome current gaps on how to implement adaptation actions in the national and subnational level. In this sense, we call for higher considerations regarding NAPs, since the procedural conclusions assumed in this SB56 blocks the urgent need to address the gaps and challenges around mobilising and enhancing funding for the formulation and implementation of national adaptation plans. The fact that we didn’t get to a conclusion regarding NAPs reflects the need to keep pushing for higher ambition and commitment from developed countries to support NAPs formulation and implementation. Regarding the GGA, we stand on a common ground where we expected stronger outcomes from these negotiations. Aspects like having interactive workshops, including the participation from experts, practitioners and the IPCC should be considered as part of the GLASS work programme in order to address the global goal on adaptation. We expect that further decisions regarding GGA at COP27 don’t lead us to a scenario where we keep delaying important decisions for strengthening adaptation actions, especially for SIDS where addressing adaptation is crucial for our survival. AOSIS appreciates the space and time dedicated to the IPCC’s Second Working Group report under AR6 on adaptation, vulnerabilities and impacts that set the tone for the urgency of moving our work on adaptation. AOSIS welcomes the first workshop of the Glasgow Sharm el-Sheik Work Programme on the Global Goal on Adaptation (GlaSS), however, it is clear that it requires more stir. With the new agenda item on the GGA, although progress was slow, Parties were able to work together to provide input on how future workshops can be improved to achieve the objectives of the GlaSS. Science On Science and Review, first, we express our deep appreciation and gratitude to the IPCC authors and the UNFCCC and IPCC Secretariats for their tireless efforts and dedication to the science and to the science-policy process. With the Paris Agreement, we all committed ourselves to act based on the best available science. The IPCC is the best available science — approved by all of us. In the Glasgow Climate Pact, Parties explicitly invited the IPCC to present its Working Group 2 and 3 reports. These presentations have been most informative and comprehensive, and we thank the SBSTA and IPCC Chairs for convening the mandated science events. We have learned from the IPCC Working Group 2 report that loss and damage is occurring today, and will worsen with every increment of further warming, and would rapidly escalate above 1.5°C as more limits to adaptation are exceeded. Working Group 3 showed that this fate can still be avoided and that we can limit warming to 1.5°C if we act now and halve emissions this decade. Science is essential for showing us the way forward. The IPCC reports have also been the basis for the last session of the Structured Expert Dialogue of the second Periodic Review here in Bonn. We found these dialogues very insightful and constructive. As AOSIS we look forward to the successful conclusion of the Periodic Review in Egypt and will continue to engage for substantive outcomes for Science and Review in future sessions. On the item of Research and Systematic Observation, as AOSIS we express our deep concern and disappointment at the lack of a more substantive outcome. That we have not been able to reflect the key findings from the IPCC reports in our Research conclusions is very disappointing to say the least, especially since all governments had approved the reports earlier this year. IPCC and UNFCCC secretariats and IPCC experts did their utmost to facilitate exchanges and to allow us to benefit from their scientific insights. But we did not honour their commitment. In RSO at these sessions, we almost reached a substantive outcome in this regard, but could not conclude our work. This outcome is a big disappointment not just for AOSIS, but for everyone who cares about Science. We remain committed to the science and will continue to seek substantive outcomes on Science and Review in future sessions. Markets With respect to Article 6, we are pleased at the progress made during the SBs. We have agreed on an ambitious set of activities to advance our work over the next four months, including, multiple submissions, technical papers and workshops. We hope that concerted efforts will continue to be made by all Parties to deliver these activities, in order to enable the operationalisation of Article 6 mechanisms, at the earliest possible time. Ensuring environmental integrity, and enhancing mitigation and adaptation ambition is in everyone’s best interest and SIDS will fully participate in this process, despite our capacity challenges. Global Stocktake AOSIS welcomes the procedural conclusions for the GST. The process was launched in a useful manner with the first technical dialogue providing a good basis for more in depth and cross-cutting consideration of inputs. The group wishes to underscore the value of non-party stakeholder input into the process as a means of ensuring our conversations are well informed and concrete. The GST must be guided by considerations of equity and the best available science so that we may be arrive at an outcome that leaves no one behind and places us firmly on a 1.5C degree consistent pathway. Transparency As the work at this session had progressed, we left with the unfavourable feeling that we were all making concessions to make room for this new agenda item. The difficulty we encountered during the informal meetings was securing funding and support for the review and training of SIDS specialists on a volunteer basis. We must keep making sure that the TACCC principles are upheld. The SBSTA agenda item 11, which refers to adaptation and loss and damage for the voluntary basis review and training course, is a cross-cutting issue, so we must make sure that SIDs are given the resources they require for capacity building. In addition, we must honour the spirit and character of the previously agreed decision. However, the group anticipates continuing work at SBSTA 57 with the draft wording from this SBSTA 56 session at COP27. We are seeing an effort by some Parties to systematically write loss and damage out as a crosscutting element. Response measures AOSIS welcomes the procedural decision with a reference to an informal note on the mid-term review of the forum and its KCI’s work plan but with limited progress here on the mid-term review, there will be significant work ahead at COP27. Technology The discussion at this SB session was fruitful. However, despite the progress, we still need to scale up the development and transfer of technology to implement our ambition. We look forward to the final report of the first periodic assessment which will help guide, improve the effectiveness and enhance support provided to the technology mechanism. Capacity building AOSIS welcomes the productive discussions and the exchange of views that took place at the 11th meeting of the Durban Forum on capacity building. The discussion held at this session reiterated that capacity building continues to be an important pillar of implementation of the Paris Agreement. The needs and gaps of capacity in Small Island States remains a big challenge, but we are prepared to work with partners at the next session to close these needs and gaps. Gender AOSIS recognises the contributions of parties during gender negotiations. While the lack of consensus on agreed language is not a favourable position ahead of COP27, it’s a unique opportunity for parties to consider, empathise and activity seek solutions for the challenges parties have expressed concerning the implementation of the gap. Developing countries, including SIDS continue to struggle with access to support for implementing the GAP as well as connecting the activities of the GAP with real and concrete actions on the ground which increase gender equality and women’s empowerment. These factors cannot be ignored as we head for COP27. I thank you.
Sub Topic: Cross-cutting