Senior UN economists warned on Wednesday that intersecting crises are likely to add further damage to the global economy, with growth set to slow from three per cent in 2022 to 1.9 per cent this year. This will be one of the lowest growth rates in recent decades, apart from during the 2007-8 financial crisis and the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
COP27 key outcomes: progress on compensation for developing countries, but more needed on climate justice and equity – THECONVERSATION
There were high expectations for COP27, the 27th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
COP conferences broadly provide a platform for the negotiation of international climate change agreements. This was to be the first COP held in Africa since 2016. It was also framed as the implementation COP, which would lead to action.
COP27 was expected to make progress on “loss and damage”. This is financing to compensate developing countries for the harm to the climate that has been caused primarily by the developed world.
The outcome – the establishment of a new fund for loss and damage – is a relief for climate activists and developing countries.
Below we unpack this, and other key outcomes from this crucial climate change conference.
Urgency, justice and equity missing in negotiations
Outside the formal negotiations, there were clear and consistent messages about the urgency of climate action from scientists, NGOs and climate activists. They gathered at the event and in small, peaceful protests. The same urgency wasn’t seen among party negotiators.
Inside the formal negotiations, mostly wealthy country parties pushed back on immediate action in these areas:
- support for people displaced by extreme events caused by climate change
- strong and transparent governance of carbon markets
- the phasing out of all fossil fuels.
This disconnect was striking and has led to significant delays and setbacks in agreements relevant to climate justice.
Further, the decision-making process raises questions about the equity of different voices at COP, and whose reality counts. All decisions within COP are made by consensus, not a vote. Decisions can be overruled by one dissenting party.
There’s also inequality in representation of countries and the prevalence of lobby groups at COP27. Certain countries can support large teams of party delegates and technical support. Poorer countries can’t.
New fund for loss and damage
A significant achievement of COP27 was an agreement to establish a new fund for loss and damage finance.
This negotiation was very contentious, with some parties threatening to walk out at various points. The central tension was between developed and developing countries. Developed countries did all they could to avoid a new financing entity for loss and damage.
Developing countries are largely represented by the G77 and China. This is a negotiating group of 134 developing countries initially founded by 77 countries in 1964. Rich nations tried to divide the G77 and China negotiating group by arguing that China, India, and other less vulnerable countries should also have to pay for loss and damage.
It’s true that China and India are currently large emitters of greenhouse gases, but this approach shows a refusal to acknowledge the historical cumulative emissions mostly attributed to the early industrialisers.
The responsibility for cumulative emissions does vary based on which emissions are counted, how they are counted, and whether it is analysed on a per capita basis. However, North American and European regions stand out as the largest emitters.
While the agreement on a fund for loss and damage is a significant step forward, a lot of work needs to be done before it is set up. The parties agreed to set up a transitional committee to make recommendations for adoption at COP28, in November 2023.
Technical assistance to address loss and damage
An additional positive move was made with the agreement on the institutional arrangements to operationalise the Santiago Network, which was established at COP25 to help developing countries identify their technical needs and connect with providers of assistance to address them. For example, in the case of flooding, improved systems to prepare and implement early warning systems and evacuation processes.
The next step will be to identify the host for the Santiago Network Secretariat.
No decision on the governance of the Warsaw International Mechanism
The Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) was established in 2013 to provide coordination and encourage dialogue on loss and damage. Unfortunately, discussions on the governance of the WIM went nowhere.
Parties could not agree on whether it should be under the governance of COP or the Paris Agreement.
Developed countries want the mechanism to be governed under the Paris Agreement alone. Developing countries want a dual governance system.
Governance under COP would hold developed countries to account, whereas the Paris Agreement has a paragraph which excludes liability and compensation.
Carbon market governance
There were similar tensions in the discussions around the governance framework for carbon markets.
Carbon markets allow countries or entities that can reduce or absorb emissions to sell them as carbon credits to high emitters. The markets can therefore reduce emissions and increase flows of climate finance if held to high standards of integrity and transparency.
However, new language in the decision text allows for confidentiality around the details of carbon credits. This could jeopardise transparency and accounting processes and reduce the likelihood of carbon markets contributing to mitigation.
New climate finance goal
This COP was supposed to develop a new collective quantified goal on climate finance, to replace the US$100 billion annual target which has not been met. It was also supposed to develop an action plan to double adaptation finance, which has not materialised.
The new finance goal has been delayed to next year, along with a status report on the commitment to double adaptation finance by 2025.
Various parties pointed out that climate finance should not worsen the indebtedness of developing countries. For the first time, the decision document acknowledged this issue. It also encouraged reform of the way multilateral development banks support climate finance.
Phasing out fossil fuels
This COP failed to get a commitment from all parties to phase out all fossil fuels.
Instead of committing to this obvious solution to reduce emissions, parties insisted on using the wording “accelerating efforts towards the phase-down of unabated coal power and phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.”
“Unabated coal power” insinuates that coal (with carbon capture technology) could be continued. Specifying “inefficient fossil fuel subsidies” may allow for loopholes due to the definition of “inefficient.”
While COP27 has delivered significant progress on finance for loss and damage, it remains to be seen whether this will translate into action. The lack of progress on mitigation and adaptation is a worry. In failing to deal with the central challenge of reducing fossil fuel use and reaching agreement on further reducing carbon emissions, COP27 has not addressed the key challenges of climate change.
The UN multilateral processes that govern climate change need developed countries to seriously commit to loss and damage. And treaties must be given greater enforcement capabilities. The parties will also need to find a mechanism to place common interests at the top of the agenda, above that of party interests.
African Development Bank Group team meet Swiss envoys from West Africa to discuss Africa’s development agenda
Swiss ambassadors meeting in the Ivorian commercial capital Abidjan invited a senior management team from the African Development Bank Group to exchange views on development and cooperation.The envoys held a working luncheon, hosted by the Swiss assistant state secretary for Sub-Saharan Africa, Siri Walt, on Friday 20 January. Ambassador Walt is the head of the Africa Division at the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland.
The African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Development Bank Group have a concluded a technical session on how to conduct an upcoming joint study on driving development in Africa. The goal of the study, titled Key Actions to Drive Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development in Africa, is to identify key actions that will allow Africa to rise and remain at a growth level of 7% GDP.
2022 AEC: Accessing clean, affordable energy in Africa is key as the world moves towards energy transition: panelists - AFDB
As the world moves toward energy transition, it is important that Africa’s ongoing challenges with access to clean, affordable and inclusive energy be addressed for the continent to achieve a fair and just energy transition, panelists said during the 2022 African Economic Conference (AEC).
Abu Dhabi, 16 January 2023 – As the Earth warms at a dangerous pace, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)-led Cool Coalition, with the United Arab Emirates’ incoming presidency of COP28, announced the development of a Global Cooling Pledge and a “Cool COP Menu of Actions” that will feature prominently at COP28. The Menu will be defined over the coming months in close collaboration with partners including the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL).
A new law will ensure that a set of key goods placed on the EU market, such as cattle, beef or soya, will no longer contribute to deforestation and forest degradation in the EU and elsewhere in the world. Since the EU is a major economy and consumer of these commodities, this step will help stop a significant share of global deforestation and forest degradation, in turn reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and biodiversity loss, according to the commission. This major agreement comes just before the start of the Conference on Biodiversity (COP15) which is set to define protection goals for nature for decades to come.
Forest Trends was founded with the mission of putting an economic engine behind nature conservation – the idea being that our economy, our society, and our wellbeing all depend in very real and material ways on healthy natural ecosystems. That idea’s time has come. The world is looking to “nature-based solutions” to combat climate change, mitigate water risks, prevent pandemics, protect biodiversity, support food insecurity, and so on. Forest Trends is fielding many new opportunities at a totally different scale than in the past, and at a much more systemic level.
Fern - New report outlining options for partnerships to accompany the new EU regulation on deforestation-free products
23 January 2023, Fern is launching a report which outlines options for partnerships to accompany the new EU Regulation on deforestation-free products. Partnerships will be an essential part of maximising the Regulation’s impact in decreasing deforestation on the ground. They will also help mitigate risks linked to the Regulation: that it would cause “leakage” of unsustainable production to other consumer markets, or that smallholders would bear the cost of implementation.
Call for inputs for the global Stocktake in 2023 In the run-up to the conclusion of the first global stocktake in COP 28, submissions on views on the approach to the consideration of the outputs component of the first global Stocktake are open until 15 February 2023. Also, submissions for the third technical dialogue, scheduled to be held during the June SB session, are open until 6 March.
At COP 27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, President Emmanuel Macron and President Ali Bongo announced that a One Forest Summit would be held in Libreville, Gabon, on 1st and 2nd of March, 2023. Tropical forests provide an invaluable service both to local populations and to humanity by offering many resources but also by sequestering carbon and hosting biodiversity hotspots.
Of previous editions, the Global Synthesis Report is composed of stand-alone analyses that can be read independently, for a more thematic or sectoral reading. Discover in the report: infographics on the evolution indicators of emissions and activities, the existing and emerging trends in the strategies of actors, signals of change in the various sectors, and case studies of exemplary initiatives.
Protect the Campo Ma’an national park and stop Cameroun Vert SARL (Camvert) from destroying Indigenious Bagyeli people’s and ancestral lands! More than 28 communities call the Campo Ma’an area home. Now, a palm oil company, Cameroun Vert SARL (Camvert), has started clear-cutting these ancestral lands about seven times the size of Dakar illegally.
In the aftermath of COP27, where global leaders have gathered for over two weeks in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, those of us who regularly engage directly with developing countries know that the path forward is clear. Developing countries are committed to climate-compatible development and ready to implement. However, driving climate action on the ground requires unprecedented finance.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced he will convene a Climate Ambition Summit in September 2023, to generate “new, tangible and credible climate action” to “accelerate action at the mid-way point” of the SDGs. Going forward, he said he will push for a Climate Solidarity Pact, for all big emitters to “make an extra effort” to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in line with the 1.5°C goal and provide support for those who need it.
The Sustainable Ocean Initiative (SOI), a capacity-building programme established by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 2010, provides support, advice, and guidance to countries in their efforts to achieve global biodiversity targets in marine and coastal areas. The Initiative, the subject of an event held during the UN Biodiversity Conference (CBD COP 15), achieves these aims through such activities as the SOI Global Dialogue with Regional Seas Organizations and Regional Fishery Bodies and the SOI Training of Trainers programme.
The Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (GPEDC) convened a three-day summit to take stock of the progress in implementing the Principles of Effective Development Co-operation since their endorsement in 2011, and to discuss the future of work. Stakeholders agreed to build on past commitments, achievements, and experiences and to address the “unfinished business of the aid effectiveness agenda.”
Seven safeguard principles for REDD+ were adopted at the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Cancun in 2010. Two of these principles address participation and respect for the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPs and LCs) directly. These principles are meant to be “interpreted” by REDD+ countries using their national legal frameworks, to decide, for example, who is recognized as an IP or LC, and what is meant by “respect” or their “participation”.
Indonesia’s forests are home to 10-15 percent of the world’s known plants, mammals, and birds, as well as vast carbon stocks. As such, any degradation or deforestation of these ecosystems will have important local, national, and international implications.
Partners call on CBD negotiations to commit to increasing agroecological food production practices. As environmental ministers at the United Nations Biodiversity Conference (UNCBD COP15) negotiate an agreement to tackle catastrophic degradation of our planet, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and World Agroforestry (ICRAF) have announced a partnership to accelerate implementation of food-based actions that will help restore nature and limit climate change. The two organisations will partner on major initiatives that support farmers in utilizing the power of natural ecosystems to build healthy and productive food systems that provide enough healthy and nutritious food within planetary boundaries.
Aligning Chad’s Nationally Determined Contribution and National Action Plan to Advance Climate Action – NDCPARTNERSHIP
Chad is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the effects of climate change. Because its economy is based mainly on the primary sector, Chad’s reliance on natural resources makes it particularly vulnerable to extreme weather events. Take for example the case of Lake Chad, where the water volume has decreased by 90% since the 1960s due to climate change and over-exploitation. Chad’s vulnerability to climate change is further exacerbated by the country’s relatively low level of preparedness when it comes to climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts.
In December 2022, the European Union (EU) finally agreed on the text of its long-awaited Regulation on deforestation-free products (EUDR). For the first time companies selling certain products on the EU market will be punished if they are found to have contributed towards deforestation. This was the final stage in a long and often tortuous journey, in which forests were thrust centre-stage of EU policymaking. 2023 will be another crucial year for the EU and forests, especially since it will be followed by the EU’s ‘cooling off’ period, when no new policies are initiated, in the run-up to the 2024 European elections.
New research by the University of East Anglia (UEA) highlights the risks of countries relying on nature-based solutions to achieve net zero. The article summarizes the findings of the study. For example, the study found that once the bulk of emissions have been reduced, countries plan to "cancel out" the leftover difficult-to-decarbonize emissions, such as those from agriculture, by using forests and soils to remove carbon from the atmosphere. However, this may prove risky because forests and soils are also threatened by a range of impacts, such as fire, disease, changes in farming practices, and deforestation.
Stop burning trees to make energy, say 650 scientists before Cop15 biodiversity summit - theguardian
More than 650 scientists are urging world leaders to stop burning trees to make energy because it destroys valuable habitats for wildlife. Bioenergy has “wrongly been deemed ‘carbon neutral’” and many countries are increasingly relying on forest biomass to meet net zero goals, according to the letter, addressed to world leaders including Joe Biden, Rishi Sunak and the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen. “The best thing for the climate and biodiversity is to leave forests standing – and biomass energy does the opposite,” it says.
This article is giving an introduction to the paper "Has global deforestation accelerated due to the COVID-19 pandemic?". Analysis of tree cover loss over time was used to determine whether deforestation observed in 2020 deviated from expected trajectories after the first COVID-19 cases were reported; both at the regional level for the Americas, Africa and Asia and at the country level for Brazil, Colombia, Peru, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Indonesia.
A growing body of research shows that even forests located far away from urban centers provide tremendous benefits in regulating the global climate, water and biodiversity systems that are essential to people’s health and quality of life. New research led by WRI and Pilot Projects through the Cities4Forests initiative synthesizes the benefits that forests at three scales — inner, nearby and faraway — offer cities. The report provides the scientific imperative for city-led policies, incentives and investments that help conserve, restore and sustainably manage forests at each of these scales. The article outlines the many benefits across four categories that forests provide to cities from the report.
Nature is a vital resource, necessary for our health, livelihoods and well-being. It also accounts for $44 trillion of economic value generation. In addition, nature-based solutions can provide more than one third of the mitigation needed by 2030 to keep climate goals in reach. Nature tech will be vital in helping facilitate and accelerate these solutions, making them valuable tools in tackling climate change.
Controversy over the lifting of the moratorium in the DRC, when Bazaiba throws a spanner in the works
The statement made by the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Environment and Sustainable Development, Eve Bazaiba, at the press briefing on Monday 28 November, on the lifting of the moratorium has raised the roof. Like a shockwave, the affirmation of the lifting of the moratorium established by the DRC's sovereignty over its forests in 2002 has provoked strong reactions in public opinion.
SW4SW Dialogue - Timber Value Chains for Resilience and Carbon Neutrality, 1-2 December 2022 at NOUBOU International Hotel Douala, Cameroon
The SW4SW Dialogue - Timber Value Chains for Resilience and Carbon Neutrality seeks to identify effective approaches, concrete actions, and actors to be mobilised to make timber value chains, especially those focused on the domestic market, a lever for a forest sector with high environmental, economic and social added value.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) framework for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (REDD+) refers to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). However, not all REDD+ countries have legal systems that build on UNDRIP and few, especially in Africa, have ratified other relevant agreements such as the International Labour Organization Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples.
Logging affects many of the world's tropical forests, and such forests are often considered degraded because they have lost vegetation structure, biomass and carbon stocks. But there has rarely been analysis of whether the ecological health and functionality of these ecosystems are similarly degraded. A new study by researchers at the University of Oxford, finds that logged rainforests are treasure-troves of healthy ecological function and should not be written off for oil palm plantations. This article gives some insights into the newly published paper.
Most global consumers have heard of palm oil – and if not, they’ve probably tasted it. The versatile commodity is used in almost half of the packaged products found in supermarkets, from chocolate to deodorant or lipstick, as well as for animal feed and biofuel.
DRC: march in support of the first maritime conference of the Economic Community of Central African States "COMAR I" - NEWS
Kinshasa is hosting from 28 November to 02 December 2022 the thematic workshops of the First Maritime Conference of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) under the theme: "Governance and Security of the ECCAS maritime space for the development of a sustainable Blue Economy in Central Africa". These meetings are organised under the high patronage of Félix Tshisekedi, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, President in Office of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).
Evaluation of the Forest Declaration in the Congo Basin: Interview with Monique Catherine Bisseck Epse Yigbedek, Regional Coordinator of the African Women's Network for Sustainable Development (AWNED) – FORESTDECLARATION
The African Women's Network for Sustainable Development (AWNSSD) is a network of mainly women's non-governmental organisations working in the field of sustainable natural resource management. It is also involved in the design, implementation and monitoring of conservation and development projects in the Central African region.
On October 27, 2022 in Nairobi, Kenya and online, a team of researchers launched a new tool that outlines how an integrated landscape approach can be adapted for displacement or refugee settings. Called ‘Guidance for a Landscape Approach in Displacement Settings’ (GLADS), the tool is an EU-funded initiative led by the Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF) in partnership with stakeholders.
Best Wishes for 2023, By the Honourable Dr. Christian Ruck, CBFP Facilitator of the Federal Republic of Germany
Dear CBFP Partners, In the aftermath of the World Forestry Congress held in Seoul, Republic of Korea, the first African Protected Areas Congress in Kigali, Rwanda, the COP 27 Climate Conference in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, and the COP15 Biodiversity Conference in Montreal, Canada, it is safe to say that Central Africa’s tropical forests were once again prominently featured in global negotiations and that the voice of the sub-region was heard loud and clear during plenary sessions, high-level meetings and side events. Please download the message of greetings from the CBFP Facilitator of the Federal Republic of Germany the Honorable Dr. Christian Ruck...