LGMA at COP27: Rounding up the first week

This piece was written by Yunus Arikan and edited by Sajili Oberoi from ICLEI World Secretariat.

Here’s a quick recap of the first week of COP27 (i.e. SB57) that concluded on November 12 on Saturday in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt.

The first week round up provides insight for all cities, regions and relevant stakeholders to learn everything they need to about global climate action, the challenges that come with it and what’s at stake beyond the conference.

COP27, despite kick starting with success, came with its set of limitations. The technical negotiations during COP27 concluded with limited consensus on a wide array of topics , possibly due to a deepening lack of ambition and trust among the UNFCCC Parties. The implication of this is that starting this week, the Egyptian COP27 Presidency and Climate and Environment Ministers of UNFCCC Parties have no choice but to play a more decisive role to ensure that COP27 concludes with effective outcomes.

Other major concerns from the first week of COP27 include the weak engagement of a number of major countries of G7 and G20 at the Implementation Summit in the first 2 days of COP27. There have been a very limited number of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) since COP26 without any significant integration of any of the initiatives or commitments announced in Glasgow. Moreover, perpetual delays in the delivery of 2020 target of annual $100bn climate finance to developing countries, backtracking in many climate commitments, seems to continue. All these challenges amplify existing concerns that climate neutrality and 1.5oC goal of the Paris Agreement is rapidly fading out.

Positive Landmarks of the First Week

Regardless of the concerns we witnessed in the first week, COP27 week-1 also saw major positive progress that deserves recognition.

Negotiations on Loss-and-Damage

The negotiations on loss-and-damage officially became an agenda of COP27. The elevated financial commitments and announcement of key loss-and-damage implementation principles by Scottish Government and partners demonstrate the leadership role of local and regional governments in this space.

Positive Momentum of Technical Dialogues

The UNFCCC Executive Secretary called all stakeholders to elevate the positive momentum of the Technical Dialogues under Global Stocktake to a political dialogue at all levels before and at COP28.  the LGMA vision to engage local and regional governments actively through the multilevel and multistakeholder #Stocktake4ClimateEmergency sessions to be rolled out across cities and regions of the world in 2023 fully respond to this call.

Connecting Sustainable Urbanization with Non-Market Approaches

The first brick on the wall is laid down to connect sustainable urbanization as one of the non-market approaches under Art 6.8 of the Paris Agreement. The Local Climate Adaptive Limiting Facility is included in a section of the draft text, but there are Parties that wish to remove it from the list. Art6.8 was a key priority in both the ICLEI/LGMA Call to Action as well as the joint ICLEI/UNCDF/FMDV position paper on Climate Emergency. If LoCAL can be kept in the next iteration of the document this week and after COP27, it would enable the broader sustainable urbanization projects and policies to access national and global climate finance architecture.

LGMA and ICLEI’s Call to Action

All these prove the importance, relevance, and urgency of the LGMA COP27 motto #MultilevelActionDelivers as an essential element for global climate action.

It is so encouraging to see that ICLEI Call-To-Action is supported by a broad diversity of local and regional leaders as well as non-state actors, ranging from businesses to the youth. Similarly, COP27 Presidency SURGe Initiative has started to receive endorsements from the national governments in the Global North and Global South and around 50 Ministers of both Urbanization and Infrastructure and Climate and Environment community confirmed their participation to the first-ever COP27 Ministerial Meeting on Urbanization and Climate Change, to be held on 17 November.

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