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Chairs’ summary from COP President Alok Sharma and COP President Designate and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, for the May Ministerial on Implementation held on 12-13 May 2022 in Copenhagen.
On 12-13 May 2022, Ministers and high-level representatives from over 40 countries met in Copenhagen, Denmark, to follow up, promote and accelerate the implementation of key climate commitments and pledges, and assess the practical steps needed for progress this year. The meeting was co-chaired by the COP President from the UK, H.E Alok Sharma, and the COP President Designate from Egypt, H.E. Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry. The co-chairs wish to express their deep gratitude to Minister Dan Jørgensen and the Danish Government for hosting the meeting.
The agenda consisted of four sessions, covering implementation and action for: (i) adapting to climate impacts; (ii) averting, minimising and addressing loss and damage; (iii) reducing emissions and keeping 1.5C alive; and (iv) mobilising finance. Discussions took place through a combination of plenary and breakout groups. The co-chairs wish to thank all participants for their frank and constructive engagement during each session. They are also very grateful to all colleagues who moderated the break out group discussions and reported back afterwards.
In addition to country representatives, the UNFCCC Executive Secretary, the UN Secretary General’s Special Advisor on Climate Action and Just Transition, the UN High Level Champions, and representatives from UNFCCC observer constituencies participated in the discussions. To promote transparency and inclusivity, ahead of the meeting the co-chairs published an open letter, with the discussion questions for the meeting annexed.
All Ministers recognised the urgency of responding to the findings of the IPCC Working Group II and III Reports this year through immediate action at scale to implement key individual and collective commitments under the UNFCCC, Paris Agreement and previous decisions, declarations and pledges, including most recently at COP26 and its Glasgow Climate Pact. Although participants noted the uniquely challenging global context, many also recognised that these challenges strengthen the need to accelerate practical action and support for the just transition to low GHG emissions and climate-resilient economies now and through this crucial decade. To achieve the goals of the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, many welcomed the meeting’s role in bringing refreshed and refocused attention on the steps needed to keep 1.5C alive, ensure effective adaptation, support the most vulnerable and ensure that finance flows at the necessary scale. Across the four sessions, Ministers highlighted the clear links and synergies between these issues.
Adapting to climate impacts
Recognising the alarming findings of the IPCC Working Group II Report, many Ministers called for a more focused drive to deliver “transformational adaptation”, with sustained attention needed to address gaps across policies, planning, implementation and finance. Ministers pointed to several elements as essential for this, including effective adaptation planning and additional National Adaptation Plans, national leadership and enhanced and adequate climate finance and investment. Ministers emphasised the importance of making progress at COP27 through the Glasgow-Sharm el-Sheikh Work Programme on the Global Goal on Adaptation.
Ministers recognised the need for adaptation action to be better integrated into development planning and programmes in order to deliver a whole-of-society approach and catalyse more public and private investment in adaptation action. Many also highlighted current efforts and aims to mainstream adaptation across sectors, such as agriculture, water, forestry and infrastructure. Many Ministers called for more work to ensure adaptation planning is inclusive including through the involvement of youth and indigenous peoples and gender sensitive approaches, and driven by local needs and priorities and to better identify opportunities for cross-border regional collaboration, including on issues like ecosystems, water resources and mangrove forests.
Ministers underlined the need for a transformative agenda on adaptation at COP27, including to scale up, and improve timely access to, adaptation finance to help developing countries implement national and local adaptation plans. Many stressed the centrality of concessional and grant-based public finance, particularly for the poorest and most vulnerable. There were clear requests for transparency at COP27 on the delivery of the doubling of adaptation finance by 2025 and expressions of support for more balanced adaptation finance. Some also recognised that substantial private investment will be needed to adequately address the finance gap. Several participants highlighted the importance of translating national and local adaptation plans into investable pipelines of programmes and activities, and were hopeful of progress that could be made through enhanced collaboration between countries, Multilateral Development Banks and the private sector, including through improvements in local capacity and technology. The role of the Adaptation Fund and the Green Climate Fund were highlighted as important vehicles to channel adaptation finance. Multilateral Development Banks and the private sector have a role in providing and mobilising support to developing countries’ adaptation efforts, including through improvements in local capacity and technology.
Averting, minimising and addressing loss and damage
Ministers recognised that loss and damage is happening now, and the clear need for practical, shared solutions to scale up action and support. They also welcomed that parties are becoming more open and constructive in approaching this issue. Many highlighted examples of the devastating impacts that climate change is already having on communities on the front line or progressively developing due to slow onset events. There was recognition of the particular predicament of countries that are vulnerable to impacts affecting their whole economy, driving indebtedness and incurring substantial economic and non-economic loss and damage. Several highlighted the need to build back better from losses and damages, in order to ensure communities and infrastructure become greener, more resilient and “future-proof” in the face of recurrent and worsening impacts. The Ministers and high level representatives underlined that further ambition and action on mitigation and adaptation can contribute to less loss and damage and thus the effort and costs associated with averting, minimising and addressing it.
Many stressed the importance of existing practical work being undertaken at national and local levels, including on prevention through early warning systems, such as through the UN Secretary General’s initiative to protect everyone on Earth with such systems within the next five years, comprehensive risk management and reduction, and insurance. Several stressed the need to enhance local capacity to plan and deliver effective action, including through sound needs assessment. To support this, many Ministers called for the Santiago Network to be fully operationalised and funded by COP27.
There were strong calls for delivering on scaling up resources for loss and damage, building on the Glasgow Climate Pact. Delivery mechanisms for enhanced finance were discussed, with some emphasising the need for a new fund and others noting the opportunity to scale up and coordinate action better through existing climate, disaster risk reduction and humanitarian channels. Ministers looked forward to practical ideas for progress being identified through the Glasgow Dialogue next month.
Reducing emissions and keeping 1.5C alive
Ministers underlined their alarm at the findings of the recent IPCC WGIII Report, which highlights the closing window for action to keep 1.5C alive and the need for accelerated action before 2030. Ministers recognised that every fraction of a degree of warming worsens impacts greatly, so the faster emissions are reduced, the greater our capacity to successfully adapt to these impacts and avert, minimise and address loss and damage. Recognising the challenging geopolitical context, there was a clear collective determination to tackle the current energy crisis alongside the climate crisis, and to seize the opportunity for a clean energy transition. Several highlighted the importance of scaling up international cooperation and support to maximise ambition and ensure just transitions and equity, taking into account the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable. Participants highlighted appropriate finance as a main enabler for ambition and further action in developing countries.
Several Ministers made a clear call for a substantive outcome on mitigation at COP27, and there was a lot of attention on the expectation that all Parties revisit the 2030 emission reduction targets in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), and strengthen them as necessary to align with the Paris temperature goal. Some set out the work they are already doing to deliver on this and others made clear their plans to do so this year. Many pointed to the need for developed countries and G20 major emitters to lead the way in these efforts, and to consider equity and common but differentiated responsibilities in accordance with the principles of the UNFCCC and Paris Agreement; many also highlighted the role for all Parties to make an active response and some highlighted their concerns regarding perceived burden shifting from developed to developing countries. There were also clear expectations for Parties to respond to the request to communicate long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies (LT-LEDS) this year, with a number signalling the work that is already going on to develop these, and the importance of engaging the private sector. Several Ministers stressed that success this year would depend in part on seeing progress in NDC and LT-LEDS ambition in the mandated Synthesis Reports, the deadline for which is 23 September.
Many Ministers highlighted the need for headline ambition to be backed up by credible and worked-up plans to reduce emissions across key sectors, including to implement Glasgow commitments on phasing down unabated coal power, phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, and a number highlighted the importance of the Global Methane Pledge. Many outlined what is already being done, such as responding to the positive market signals for renewables, progressing nature-based solutions, reducing deforestation and enhancing REDD+, developing new technologies like green hydrogen and carbon capture, utilisation and storage, and deploying zero emission vehicles. The need to keep track of progress in these areas was highlighted. To assist domestic decision-making, several called for work to set out clear policy options for innovation and decarbonisation in key sectors, identification of impactful interventions and creation of appropriate financing vehicles to mobilise large scale funding. Some saw the high-level ministerial roundtable on pre-2030 ambition at COP27 and the work programme to urgently scale up mitigation ambition and implementation as enablers for this. Some also highlighted the importance of considering social and economic impacts of actions and policies.
Ministers recognised that progress was made on finance at COP26, but were clear on the need for further progress and accountability this year, including for the new collective quantified goal on finance. There was recognition that financial support and climate-aligned investment are fundamental for ambitious climate action, both overall and for specific sectors.
Ministers reiterated the importance of developed countries delivering as soon as possible, and by 2023 at the latest on the $100bn per year goal. Many stressed the need for developed countries to further demonstrate progress on this agenda, including by assessing lessons learned from previous years, barriers to the scale up of flows and how these were being addressed, to ensure transparency and credibility. The commitment by developed countries to double adaptation finance by 2025 and the importance of a credible plan for how this would be achieved were also highlighted by many. In this context, Canada and Germany announced that they will lead a follow-up on the $100bn Delivery Plan this year to promote predictability and transparency. This will focus on progress being made on the ten collective actions in the Plan, including increasing finance for adaptation.
Many stressed the need to improve access to finance for implementation of national and local plans and projects, particularly for adaptation, with calls for a system that is simpler, quicker, fairer, more coordinated and more transparent. Ministers recognised the work needed to address barriers and build capacity, with some highlighting a potential role for initiatives such as the Taskforce on Access to Finance. Some noted that greater alignment of processes among multilateral institutions represented low-hanging fruit in this area.
There was a strong expectation from many that COP27 should aim to accelerate the alignment of financial flows from all sources with the goals of the Paris Agreement, with some calling for a dedicated space to discuss this at COP27. Ministers recognised the need to mainstream climate goals into national policies and financial and economic plans to create the enabling environments, incentives and transparency to achieve this aim. Many highlighted the need to ensure commitments from the private sector are credible and actionable. Alongside this, scaling-up grant finance will remain vital, especially for certain geographies and interventions. In this context, the COP President, the COP President Designate and the High Level Champions were pleased to announce a new Independent High Level Expert Group on scaling up investment and finance to deliver on climate ambition and development goals, to be co-chaired by Dr Vera Songwe and Lord Nicholas Stern. The incoming COP27 Presidency also announced the launch of a series of five regional forums on “Projectalization of Climate Finance”, in cooperation with the High Level Champions and the UN Regional Economic Commissions.