Key outcomes for Adaptation, and Loss and Damage
Dr Susannah Fisher has detailed the challenging points around the Glasgow Sharm El-Sheikh Work Programme and efforts to establish a Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA) as it was written into Article 7 of the Paris Agreement. At COP27, negotiators agreed on a framework to guide the GGA and next steps towards measuring progress through workshops outside of COP.
I was following the Loss and Damage negotiations closely, where important new steps were taken in Egypt. For many years, there has been an ongoing debate between country parties to give equal representation and support toward Adaptation as Mitigation. More recently, similar debate has ensued around elevating issues of Loss and Damage, giving them the same status as Mitigation and Adaptation as essential action areas in addressing the climate crisis.
Working Group II of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report published earlier this year highlighted examples of Loss and Damage that are already occurring worldwide and raised the urgency of measures needed now to address these impacts.
With the urgency of this mandate entering into COP, negotiators finally reached agreement on two key decisions, but failed to come to consensus on a third:
Countries agreed to establish a new fund to address the impacts of Loss and Damage, especially in support of the countries that are most vulnerable to climate change. While many developed country parties spent much of the two weeks arguing that there was no need to set up a new fund (and such Loss and Damage funding could be channeled through existing mechanisms, including a new finance initiative set up by Germany and the G7 called 'Global Shield', which was widely promoted during events at the conference) – developing country parties held firm. Agreement was finally reached that a new fund will be created. The decision text establishes a Transitional Committee, which will be responsible for gathering data on knowledge gaps and developing recommendations for next year’s conference on the priorities for the Fund.
Operationalising the Santiago Network for averting, minimising, and addressing Loss and Damage under the WIM
After many difficult days of negotiations, cheers erupted in the room when parties finally reached agreement on how to operationalise the Santiago Network. The Network was created at COP25 in Madrid, and intends to provide an important platform to facilitate connections on technical assistance between experts and those experiencing Loss and Damage impacts. Next steps detailed in the agreement included selecting a host organization for the Network this year.
Governance of the WIM on Loss and Damage
This involved a difficult and nuanced discussion on liability around Loss and Damage, and whether the WIM is managed under the UNFCCC or just under the terms of the Paris Agreement. Unfortunately, countries could not come to agreement and this issue will be revisited in Dubai next year.
Reflecting on COP27
For my own research, attending COP27 as an observer proved a unique opportunity to closely follow the difficult processes behind each agenda item. I was also able to make some valuable connections for my research, and hear from inspiring leaders including newly re-elected Lula, the incoming President of Brazil who declared at the COP that ‘Brazil is back!’ and that protecting the Amazon and indigenous peoples there were his top priority.
Upon my return, I organised an event for our network of climate researchers at King’s, and students interested in hearing more about COP. Our panel of delegates brought insights from their time in Egypt to share with the King’s community, especially around their respective areas of research.