Outcomes of COP28
by Derek Sarfo-Yadiom, CVF Capacity Building Fellow from Ghana
The 28th Session of the Conference of Parties (COP28) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) brought together delegates from 199 countries to Dubai, Expo City, from November 30 to December 12, 2023.
The successful agreement to create the Lost and Damage Fund, a new fund intended to address the escalating loss and damage vulnerable that nations face from climate impacts, marked the beginning of the Conference deliberations. The much anticipated and inaugural Global Stocktake which was established in the Paris Agreement to evaluate the progress of nations every five years and spur more robust climate actions in the next National Determine Contributions (NDCs) in 2025, covered the full scope of climate issues. For the first time since UN climate talks began, the decision to move away from fossil fuels was mentioned in a formal COP outcome, denotating the era of fossil fuels is coming to an end. Limited progress was recorded for other negotiated agenda items such adaptation which lacked detail. The New Collective Quantified Goal on Finance (NCQG) was punted to next COP in Azerbaijan (COP29). Significant advancements were also made outside of the official climate negotiations which include surge of new pledges to lower methane emissions, improving food systems, saving forests, and other issues.
An issue that gained historical momentum in the COP28 meeting is the building, infrastructure, and cities sector. In an effort to increase the role of cities in climate action, especially through NDCs and financing, over 500 mayors, governors, and other subnational leaders gathered at the Local Climate Action Summit. The Government of France, Kingdom of Morocco, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Global Alliance for Building and Construction (GlobalABC) launched the Building Breakthrough event. This resulted in 28 countries including Ghana, United States of America, Canada, China, Germany, Japan and United Kingdom signing on the Buildings Breakthrough Framework. Through international cooperation, these states seek to facilitate worldwide near-zero emission and resilient buildings by 2030. The Coalition for High Ambition Multi-level Partnerships (CHAMP) initiative saw the participation of 71 nations, all committed to include strong urban climate initiatives in their NDCs and to improve collaboration between national and local governments regarding planning, finance, and implementation. The United Nation Habitat (UN-Habitat), COP28 Presidency and UN Climate Change High Level Champions also co-hosted the second Ministerial Meeting on Urbanization and Climate Change.
In the months to come, it is crucial that the promises made such as financial pledges of about $500 million additional climate funding for urban infrastructure will be disbursed. As the involvement of infrastructure and buildings in NDCs is anticipated to increase, there is more attention on city planning and administration and better living conditions of developing cities. Coordination on national and local action on housing, air quality, energy efficiency, water efficiency requires ambitious urban targets which are needed in the upcoming round of NDCs in 2025. Furthermore, it is imperative that the upcoming national efforts include more ambitious urban targets that align with coordinated national and local efforts in advancing solutions to emissions in building, infrastructure, and cities sector.