COP28: here’s what to look out for nature at the UN Climate Change Conference

Posted by Nature4Climate

Welcome to Dubai, either in person or watching from afar. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s 28th Conference of the Parties (the shorthand being UNFCCC COP28) starts today (30th), and Nature4Climate is urging Parties to the Paris Agreement to shift gears and pick up the pace of implementation of nature-based solutions. The focus is to transform words into action as a recent analysis found that more than half of global commitments on nature made since COP 26, in Glasgow, show little or no evidence of progress.

Non-state actors are united under three shared goals: ending deforestation, halting the degradation of land, freshwater, and ocean ecosystems; securing the tenure and protection of Indigenous and local communities’ territories; and urgently mobilising financial resources and mechanisms to close the nature funding gap, all by 2030. A successful outcome for nature at this conference is critical to influencing the conclusion of the first Global Stocktake.

Lucy Almond, Chair of Nature4Climate: “At COP28, the world stands at a course-correcting moment. Leaders must acknowledge the critical role of nature in tackling the climate crisis. Nature can provide one-third of the solution needed by 2030, and it is essential for adaptation. Past commitments to protect nature and halt deforestation by 2030 are commendable, yet continuing deforestation and inadequate policy budgets underscore the urgency for tangible action. Governments and business leaders must pick up the pace and turn their words into action.”

Nature Positive Pavilion

A vision of a world with more nature and resilient outcomes comes to life at the Nature Positive Pavilion, an initiative involving a coalition of organizations dedicated to securing a nature-positive future for people and the planet. The pavilion, located in the Blue Zone at COP28, is convened by Nature4Climate, the High-level Climate Champions, and the Global Commons Alliance. Participating organizations include The Nature Conservancy, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Conservation International, Environmental Defense Fund, Wildlife Conservation Society, Pew Charitable Trusts, WBCSD, Smithsonian Institution, IFAW, Global Evergreening Alliance, Business for Nature, National Audubon Society, Capitals Coalition, WWF International, and Birdlife.

Over the next two weeks, the Nature Positive Pavilion is set to host around 70 events organized by over 25 partner organizations, featuring themed days dedicated to Indigenous Peoples, ‘Business in Action,’ and Nature Day. These days will serve as a dynamic platform for diverse discussions and impactful actions.

On the 3rd of December, the Pavilion will welcome Indigenous delegations from across the globe for a comprehensive agenda encompassing human rights and territorial-tenure panels, events on carbon finance for local communities, as well as storytelling and artistic interventions. The 5th of December will witness businesses taking centre stage, engaging in discussions on the nature-positive transition for a net-zero economy and accelerating the financing of nature-based solutions.

For Nature Day on the 9th, we have curated an agenda that aims to unite the entire nature-positive community, including policymakers, practitioners, scientists, Indigenous peoples, local communities, businesses, and stakeholders. The program will feature panels addressing the significance of nature at a climate summit, along with Nature Talks – Ted-style presentations on leading nature for climate action, and Nature Live – a Newsroom show exploring whether COP28 is delivering on its ambition. The day will culminate in the Nature Positive Celebration and an evening reception to welcome ministers, multi- and bilateral organizations, and key COP delegates, including the Nature Positive Delegation, made possible by the ‘Solidarity Fund’ from all Nature4Climate partners, bringing together 30 individuals from 12 Indigenous and youth groups worldwide.

All Pavilion activities will be live-streamed, and you can access the complete 12-day program here.

To enhance the reach of our messaging, the Nature Positive Pavilion will operate an on-site press office and newsroom, sharing spokespeople’s expertise and amplifying key announcements.

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It’s time to take stock of nature: what to expect for nature advocacy at COP 28

The world is at a pivotal moment in addressing the critical challenges of climate breakdown, biodiversity loss and food security. Global policy efforts do not currently reflect the ambition, urgency or scale of action needed to make the necessary transitions. 

For the first time, governments will assess progress since the 2015 Paris Agreement, via the Global Stocktake (GST). This is crucial as it evaluates the effectiveness of countries’ climate actions, measures the impact of implemented policies, and identifies areas that require additional efforts to meet the overarching goals of the Paris Agreement, making sure that countries are being transparent, accountable, and ambitious in their efforts to address climate change and nature loss (learn more about what that is and why it matters for nature here). Over 200 signatories from environmental organizations, academia, IPLC groups and businesses signed an open letter earlier this year calling for better transparency on nature plans to be considered within the GST outcomes.

Another key topic for this year’s climate conference is, of course, finance. We need nature-based solutions (NbS) to provide up to a third of the mitigation required by 2030 to keep the goals of the Paris Agreement in reach. However, finance flows to nature-based solutions are currently only USD 154bn/year, which is less than half of the USD 384bn/year needed by 2025 and only a third (31%) of investment needed by 2030 to achieve global climate and biodiversity goals.

In addition, the next steps in operationalising the Article 6 mechanisms will be negotiated at COP28, particularly concerning the technical and administrative architecture to operationalise the Article 6.4 mechanism, which could provide the platform for a global carbon market. 

What to expect 

Last year’s global biodiversity and climate conferences provided us with a clear signal – we must halt and reverse nature loss by 2030. We cannot reach the Paris Agreement goals without nature. Beyond the Nature Positive Pavilion, we hope to see nature being put at the heart of the climate commitments.

Here are some of the highlights for each week:

Week 1

Watch for COP28 President United Arab Emirates to centre nature in discussions during the World Climate Action Summit at the Leaders’ Event: Protecting Nature for Climate, Lives, and Livelihoods on December 2nd. Also on the 2nd, the Forest & Climate Leaders’ Partnership will bring up important discussions and announcements on trade and finance. New announcements are anticipated from Brazil, Colombia, and Germany are set to drive more action for NbS globally. Other new nature-related announcements are expected to focus on updates to Article 6 negotiations, action for oceans, efforts to align renewable energy goals in line with supporting nature, improved data capabilities on monitoring deforestation, and an improved perspective on the current state of financing for forest conservation and restoration.

Week 2

There will be significant government and private-sector action during Week 2, especially on December 10th – the Food, Agriculture and Water Day. Starting off the week will be new partnerships for improving REDD+, aligning country Nationally Determined Contributions and National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans goals, and advancing Food System Transformation through new collaborative commitments amongst governments. We’ll also get updates on progress for meeting 30×30 goals, the COP26 Glasgow Declaration on Forests Agreement, mangrove restoration and protection, and the establishment of new global plans to support Oceans. A new Food Systems Roadmap is anticipated along with commitments to regenerate landscapes, new analysis on the financial landscape for funding a diverse NbS, and how corporate actors can take a leadership role in establishing a nature positive economy.

See here a full list of nature-related events across all pavilions in a PDF to plan your COP activities.  

Past commitments to protect nature and halt deforestation by 2030 are commendable, yet continuing deforestation and inadequate policy budgets underscore the urgency for tangible action. Governments and business leaders must pick up the pace and turn their words into action.”

Lucy Almond, Chair of Nature4Climate lead