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Most important initiatives launched at COP27
The 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) – which was held in Egypt in November 2022 under the slogan of “Together Towards Implementation” – came up with many initiatives that would contribute mainly to financing climate action, promoting climate adaptation measures and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
COP27 was the first COP to have a dedicated day for Agriculture, which contributes to a third of greenhouse emissions and should be a crucial part of the solution. It came up with the Food and Agriculture for Sustainable Transformation initiative or FAST, to improve the quantity and quality of climate finance contributions to transform agriculture and food systems by 2030.
The climate summit also spearheaded the Action on Water, Adaptation and Resilience (AWARe) initiative with an aim to catalyze inclusive cooperation to address water as a key to climate change adaptation and its co-benefits, as well as resilience. It also aims at offering transitional adaptation solutions for planet and people, starting with the world’s most vulnerable communities and ecosystems, including water scarce countries.
Initiative on Climate Action and Nutrition (I-CAN) was also launched during COP27 to help foster collaboration to accelerate transformative action to address the critical nexus of climate change and nutrition in addition to delivering technical and high-level support from parties, UN agencies, NGOs, and the private sector to focus on win-win policies and actions that work to reduce climate change and improve nutrition, particularly for children and vulnerable groups.
The Africa Just and Affordable Energy Transition Initiative (AJAETI) initiative was also triggered during the climate summit with an aim to provide all Africans with access to clean energy, whilst meeting the energy requirements for Africa’s economic development.
The initiative is meant to galvanize its Agenda 2063 for an “Africa We Want” by supporting economy-wide energy transitions that are just, equitable and leave no corner of the continent behind, while taking into account the social and economic needs and aspirations of the African population. This becomes especially important considering the number of Africans that still do not have access to energy, the energy requirements for Africa’s economic development to drive industrialization and support job creation, the innovations for low-carbon industrialization, the need to manage demand of exponential growth through greater energy efficiency, and the need to strengthen national and regional energy markets.
The event also witnessed the debut of the African Carbon Market Initiative (ACMI) which aims to support the growth of carbon credit production and create jobs in Africa. The ACMI was inaugurated in cooperation with the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP), Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), and the UN Economic Commission for Africa, backed by UN climate change high level champions Mahmoud Mohieldin and Nigel Topping.
Egypt also spearheaded during COP27 the initiative of “Decent Life in Africa” to support vulnerable communities in Africa.
The African Women’s Climate Adaptive Priorities (AWCAP) was also triggered during the international event. The initiative focused on 3 of the actionable areas; promote gender sensitive perspectives within adaptation, mitigation, and responses; leverage opportunities for women within the just transition to the green economy and green consumption habits and within blue economy in the context of achieving sustainable development, and promote educational and behavioral change on women and climate change.
COP27 also launched the Sharm El Sheik Adaptation Agenda, the first global plan to rally States and non-State actors behind a shared set of 30 Adaptation Outcomes to enhance the resilience of 4 billion people living in the most climate vulnerable communities by 2030.
The High-Level Champions published their Yearbook of Global Climate Action 2022. It outlines what is needed to accelerate sectoral systems transformation, features case studies of real-world climate action projects, highlights some critical global climate action topics – particularly regionalization and accountability – and presents the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions’ contribution to these issues. It also highlights what needs to be achieved in 2023, particularly with regard to the Global Stock take and the work being done on implementing the improved Marrakech Partnership.
The Insurance Adaptation Acceleration Campaign was also triggered during the COP27 with an aim to mobilize 3,000 insurance companies (equal to 50% of the market) by COP28. The new campaign is part of the Race to Resilience and will accelerate implementation against one of the Outcomes of the Sharm El Sheikh Adaptation Agenda. The objective is to scale the industry’s ability to advance meaningful climate risk reduction, and to jointly pursue the innovative public-private partnerships that reflect a shared mission of protecting vulnerable populations from the physical ravages of climate change.
The Global Renewables Alliance was given the go-ahead during the COP27 with an aim to position renewable energy as a pillar of sustainable development and economic growth.
Also, the event witnessed the launch of the First Movers Coalition (FMC) Cement & Concrete Commitment with an aim to purchase at least 10% near zero carbon cement and concrete by 2030.
The Forest and Climate Leaders’ Partnership (FCLP) was also triggered during the COP27 with an aim to unite action by governments, businesses and community leaders.
Low Carbon Transport for Urban Sustainability (LOTUS) initiative was also given the go-ahead with an aim to respond to the urgent need and willingness to move away from the legacy ‘mode-first’ mindset, the transformative initiative aims to activate systemic change to improve and decarbonize the urban mobility landscape. Facilitated by SLOCAT and BCG and developed in collaboration with the UN Environment Program the initiative will focus on improving access to low carbon and resilient urban mobility solutions and strengthening the foundational enablers of change as the first-order priorities. To set sustainable low-carbon mobility as a top priority, LOTUS allows existing efforts to be scaled and replicated across geographies.
Sustainable Urban Resilience for the next Generation (SURGe) initiative was launched by the COP27 Presidency, in collaboration with UN-Habitat and with the facilitation of ICLEI. SURGe aims to effectively address some of the barriers that limit urban emissions reductions, adapting urban systems to climate change, and building urban system resilience. The initiative will track buildings and housing, urban water, urban mobility, urban waste and consumption, and urban energy, all of which will be supported by partnerships and collaborations with organizations from all over the world.
Global Waste Initiative 50 by 2050 was also triggered with a goal of treating and recycling at least 50% of the solid waste produced in Africa by 2050. It will leverage voluntary engagements from over 180 countries at the international level for Africa to achieve this target. The initiative is the first of its kind global coalition that proposes a collaborative platform for all stakeholders involved in waste management to holistically address all solid waste types and contribute to an ambitious target at the scale of the African continent.
Also, COP27 witnessed the launch of Friends of Greening National Investment Plans aiming to support developing nations in their climate adaptation and mitigation plans.
The members of the initiative should advocate for, coordinate and streamline policies facilitating the transition of their national investment plans and economic policies towards low emissions development, and more climate resilient just pathways, while considering their respective capabilities and the different national circumstances.
The Egyptian COP27 Presidency launched the Climate Responses for Sustaining Peace (CRSP) initiative, which seeks to mobilize integrated climate responses that advance sustainable peace and development. The initiative aims to contribute to the realization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063: the Africa We Want, as well as to the implementation of the Africa’s Silencing the Guns initiative, and the African Climate Change and Resilient Development Strategy and Action Plan (2022-2032).
Enhancing Nature-based Solutions for Climate Transformation (ENACT) initiative was given the go-ahead to foster a broad enabling environment across the Rio Conventions and to drive collective action for addressing the integrated challenges of climate change, land and ecosystem degradation, and biodiversity loss through Nature-based Solutions (NbS).
ENACT will serve as a hub for Party and non-state actors working on NbS to foster collaboration and bring global coherence to activities. This will be done by sharing experiences and knowledge; supporting the implementation of NbS activities on the ground, and bringing a collective voice to the global community on NbS to inform evidence-based policies, while driving alignment across climate, land degradation, and biodiversity negotiations.
The COP27 also saw the launch of “Reducing The Cost Of Green And Sustainable Borrowing” initiative as taking action on climate change is essential to reducing poverty and promoting shared prosperity in a sustainable manner, but this can only be achieved if African states have the ability to borrow at an affordable rate, mobilize more green funding and attract private capital.
Therefore, the Sustainable Debt Coalition Initiative was also triggered with an aim to highlight the difficult fiscal position of emerging market and developing economies and its debilitating impacts on climate action and development; spur Coalition partners to align on a set of new crucial commitments to alleviate the debt burden; and launch a new track for consultations at the intersection of debt, climate, and development.
Meanwhile, former US Vice-President and climate activist Albert Al Gore launched Climate TRACE initiative. The tool combines satellite data and artificial intelligence to show the facility-level emissions of over 70,000 sites around the world, including companies in China, the United States and India. This will allow leaders to identify the location and scope of carbon and methane emissions being released into the atmosphere.
At the end of the COP27, Loss and Damage Fund was launched to provide funding to countries suffering climate disasters. Scotland has confirmed an additional £5 million of funding to tackle loss and damage. The funds take Scotland’s commitment to addressing loss and damage caused by climate change to £7 million and will enable communities to take direct action to address the impacts of loss and damage.