CPD Sameh Shoukry’s open letter to parties and observers’ days before COP27

Delegates, observers, colleagues and friends,

 

We are five days from the start of the 2022 UN Climate Change Conference (COP27). As COP President, Egypt is proud to host more than 45,000 registered COP27 participants representing Parties, UN and regional organizations, businesses, the scientific community, indigenous and local communities and civil society to jointly enhance and accelerate the implementation of climate action and follow up on our collective commitments and pledges. We hope that the welcoming people and natural beauty of Sharm El Sheikh can provide some inspiration for us to take the very needed meaningful steps to fight for the people and planet and save lives and livelihoods.

 

As the international community with all its stakeholders gear up to engage at COP27 on different workstreams and at different levels, it is important that, after 30 years from the adoption of the UNFCCC, we look at the big picture of where we are, and where we want to be. Such an assessment of the big picture will help us all better formulate our expectations of COP27. We gather this year at a critical time of cascading risks and overlapping crises, multilateralism is facing a challenge due to geopolitical situations, spiraling food and energy prices, and a growing public finance and public debt crisis in many countries already struggling to contend with the devastating impacts of the pandemic, all of which demand urgent attention.

 

Yet the climate crisis is existential, overriding and ever present, adverse climate impacts are increasing in frequency, intensity and impacts. Following the news today one is confronted with a stark and distressing picture of heatwaves and droughts, wildfires, cyclones, sea level rise, land degradation and desertification and floods devastating societies around the world and erasing many hard-won development gains. Millions are facing famine, water scarcity, agricultural shrinking, and an intensifying battle against scarcity of resources. With every slightest increment of warming, the impacts will only get worse, with a disproportionate impact on those who are still developing and lack the resources and means to protect themselves through implementing effective climate action.

 

We convene in Sharm El Sheikh in a year when reports from UNFCCC, IPCC, UNEP among others detail and alarm against increasing mitigation gaps, a rapidly closing window of opportunity for adaptation, and recurrent and increasingly severe losses and damages. This disconcerting picture is further reinforced by reports from OECD, OXFAM and others on 2 insufficiency of climate finance and undelivered pledges. As best available science indicates, some impacts of climate change are now irreversible and require concerted global solidarity and action, not empty rhetoric.

 

And if last year’s outcomes from G7 and G20 provided valuable inputs and momentum to COP26 and helped facilitate the Glasgow outcomes, this year the picture is less encouraging. While G7 was ambitious in its outcomes, G20 environment meeting proved to be challenging and could not agree on outcomes on environment. Likewise, the high expectations from the fall meetings of the IMF and the World Bank Group to respond to the urgent calls to provide appropriate support for addressing the climate crisis didn’t materialize into concrete agreements to allow more flows and facilitated access by developing countries. This challenge comes coupled with a wider concern on backsliding on delivery of finance pledges and the commitment to the operating entities of the financial mechanism of the convention and the Paris Agreement, all of which is not responding to the needs of developing countries as identified including by the SCF needs report that puts the volume to fulfil developing countries NDCs at around 5.6 trillion USD up to 2030.

 

On another note, it is important to acknowledge the significant progress made over the past year. The latest NDCs synthesis report indicates that countries are beginning to bend the curve of global greenhouse gas emissions downward. The IMF created the resilience fund with a scale of 40 billion USD. The CIF is providing a new funding program for Nature Based solutions. The Green Climate Fund is delivering around 2.5 billion annually and the Adaptation Fund is delivering on its programs within its limited available resources. This progress proves that when there is political will, a sense of urgency and a functional structure, we can collectively make strides in our joint effort to combat climate change.

 

COP27 creates a unique opportunity for the world to come together, mend multilateralism, rebuild trust and unite at the highest political levels to address climate change – with over 100 Heads of States and Governments joining for the leaders’ summit, let us take advantage of what COP27 can offer as we have no time to lose. Every successive COP represents an opportunity that humanity cannot afford to miss.

 

With this in mind, it was only logical that COP 27 unofficially be labelled ‘the Implementation COP’. This means the full and faithful implementation of all the provisions of the Paris Agreement along with pursuing even more ambitious NDCs if we are to keep the temperature goal within reach and avert further negative impacts. It further means pursuing a transformative action agenda aimed at moving from pledges to actions on the ground.

 

We aim to restore the “grand bargain” at the center of the Paris Agreement and our collective multilateral climate process – whereby developing countries agreed to increase their efforts to tackle a crisis for which they are far less responsible, in return for appropriate financial support and other means of implementation as per the agreement in the Convention and the Paris agreement.

 

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