CoP 27 Week One Round Up: what we’ve seen and heard in the Blue Zone
We’re finally one week into CoP 27, hosted in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt and we find ourselves trying to make sense of the progress made so far. While week two is known to dive deeper into negotiations of key topics that will make it into the final COP cover text, the first seven days of the UN Climate Change Conference have seen a wide range of exciting announcements and conversations, despite the broader perceptions that mitigation and finance announcements have fallen short.
Forests, a major protagonist of the previous edition in Glasgow at COP26, made the headlines over the first couple of days, especially due to the launch of the Forest and Climate Leaders Partnership, a platform to apply focused, ambitious political will to scale up and accelerate concrete action to meet our forest and climate goals, signed up for 28 member countries. The World Leaders Summit on Forests and Land Use also reported on progress in implementing the Glasgow Leaders Declaration on Forests and Land Use, as well as a number of related financial commitments. For example, it was reported that $2.67 billion, or 22% of the $12 billion in public money that was committed last year was spent during the first year. There have also been reports that Brazil, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, home to 52% of the world’s tropical forests, are in strategic talks to align conservation efforts.
It’s time for Africa
Africa has also been front and centre of CoP 27, and rightly so. Amongst the highlights is the new Africa Sustainable Commodities Initiative, where Ministers of the 10 West and Central African countries signed the expanded Africa Sustainable Commodities Declaration – moving from the original focus on palm oil to a set of principles that encompass all relevant commodities in the production landscape.
Led by a thirteen-member steering committee of African leaders, CEOs, and carbon credit experts, the Africa Carbon Markets Initiative (ACMI) was also announced with the aim of dramatically expanding Africa’s participation in voluntary carbon markets. ACMI announced the goal for the continent to reach 300 million credits annually by 2030. This level of production would unlock 6 billion in income and support 30 million jobs.
On a general note, it’s been great seeing vast delegations coming from African countries, youth and Indigenous representatives of the Global South in the Blue Zone. In this sense at least, it truly feels like an Africa CoP.
The return of a nature giant
Another country that has been the talk of CoP is Brazil. With three pavilions at the Blue Zone – one led by the current government partnered with several industry and private sector players, another led by governors of the Amazon states and a third one led by a coalition of civil society NGOs, the future of the country is being debated widely as a result of the latest election, which had former President Luís Inácio Lula da Silva won over current President Jair Bolsonaro.
Elected congresswoman and former Minister of Environment Marina Silva said: “We will resume the public policies that have been proven successful before and that have contributed Brazil to avoiding five billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. It will be a strong action to fight deforestation, with the aim of reaching zero deforestation and to protect the Indigenous Peoples, respecting their territories and lifestyles.”
Lula is expected to come over the next few days and there have been talks he will be laying out his plan for stopping deforestation across the Brazilian biomes, especially the Amazon, and announcing the new Minister for Native Peoples, a much anticipated first in the history of the country.
New reports and tools to scale up implementation
The Agriculture Sector Roadmap to 1.5°C was launched by 14 of the world’s largest agricultural commodity trading and processing companies laying out a plan to reduce emissions from land use change by halting deforestation linked to supply chains. The roadmap represents a shared, sector-wide plan for addressing deforestation in supply chains, and also for accelerating collaboration with others to achieve that goal. It is the outcome of a year’s joint work between the signatories, who manage large global trade volumes in key agricultural commodities – including more than half of both Brazilian soy exports and global palm oil trade.
Nature4Climate has created an “NbS commitment tracker” – an evaluation of progress on joint action commitments that have been made on nature-based solutions from 2019 to 2022. The tracker shows some good progress across a range of commitments, but there is much more to do. Overall, it tracks 80 commitments so far and finds that 55% demonstrate substantial signs of progress or completion, while 45% show only small signs of progress or no progress at all.
Another key resource to keep track of the ambition loop on nature and climate is the NbS Policy Tracker. Launched in 2021 at the occasion of the UN Climate Change Conference CoP 26, the tool aims to serve as the world’s largest global database of public policies to support nature, helping governments and investors increase ambition and awareness of nature’s potential to tackle the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis more effectively. This year, the database includes 462 policies in 144 countries and a mapping of NbS-relevant targets in 31 countries’ international nature and climate commitments to the international community. Ten case studies are included, highlighting policies that enable positive action on NbS, as well as the key NbS-related terms on their NDCs, NAPs and NBSAPs.
What can we expect from week two?
Progress on negotiations during the first week was slow, and there is significant work ahead to bridge political differences. Whether the drive exists to tackle some of the difficult challenges ahead remains to be seen. There are significantly diverging views on a number of key items, and a wide range of proposed elements. On the nature front, we’re looking forward to Biodiversity Day on Wednesday to gather signals for linking the COP outcome to calls for a global deal for nature at the upcoming biodiversity summit.
One of the key themes of this CoP, as proposed by the Egyptian presidency is adaptation. In this context, the Sharm-El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda is being discussed as a global plan to unite governments and non-state actors behind a set of goals to improve the resiliency of four billion people living in the most climate-vulnerable communities around the world.
Other debates going on are around the final stages of the Global Stocktake, which is set to be concluded in 2023; mechanisms for Loss and Damage; increased mitigation targets and ambition on NDCs; and monitoring and evaluation frameworks, as well as of course how to meet the much-needed figures for climate finance.
As for Article 6 and carbon markets, the expectation for this COP is to establish how the rules will work in detail and focuses on two articles. 6.2 allows countries to negotiate emission reductions and removals with each other through bilateral or multilateral agreements and 6.4, which creates a global carbon market overseen by a United Nations entity. Here’s a useful explainer to get you up to speed.
For more detailed updates, subscribe to our daily briefs. You can also read the previous one in our Briefing Room.