COP7 Can and Must Deliver for Africa and Other Developing Nations
By Mr. Derek Sarfo-Yiadom, CVF Capacity-Building Fellow
Climate change is undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges currently facing Ghana, with the impact of a warming planet likely to affect all of the country’s major sectors. Sadly, this is not just an issue impacting our future. At this very moment many industries across the country are already feeling the effects of climate change, a situation that makes progress at COP27 even more vital.
One area of particular concern is agriculture, an industry that is a cornerstone of the country’s economy. It currently contributes 19.7% of Ghana’s entire GDP annually and accounts for over 30% of export earnings — employing more than 75% of the rural workforce in the process. However, climate change has brought about frequent droughts and increased the incidences of bushfires and environmental degradation, threatening the industry. Sadly, this is not an isolated incident and industries such as health, sanitation, infrastructure and many more are also facing severe crises due to the impact of climate change. The time for action is now.
How can delegates make progress on these issues during COP27?
As a continent Africa is the lowest contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions (less than 4%), however according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it is the most adversely impacted region. COP27 must recognize the specific needs and circumstances facing Africa, and deliver solutions accordingly. There are high expectations that the ‘African COP’ will deliver substantive progress and implementable actions on the most important issues for the continent and developing nations worldwide: adaptation, loss and damage and the implementation of support. The clean and green energy transition must take into account that over 600 million people in Africa still have no access to electricity.
Developing countries should have access to new large-scale and predictable funding for climate action, all of which must be affordable and on reasonable terms that do not further exacerbate the debt crisis. Within this there needs to be fundamental transformation and reform of the global financial architecture and the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs). This means that they must become fit for the purpose of addressing the climate crisis in the context of Sustainable Development and Just Transitions, using grant-based and concessional financial instruments to do so. A particularly key aspect of these reforms must be de-risking investment in developing countries by MDBs
Developed countries should also deliver on their finance obligations and expedite the provision of USD 100 billion per annum, including closing the finance gap and raising their ambition going forward. These developed countries should honor the pledges and commitment to the Adaptation Fund made atCOP26 in Glasgow. This on its own however is not enough. They must also focus on finance for adaptation in developing countries, doubling that finance and channelling it through the Adaptation Fund. Also key is the streamlining of access to climate finance, in particular for vulnerable developing nations. If this is to be taken seriously then it must be at the top of the COP agenda alongside wider efforts to improve access to climate finance.
Loss and Damage
We support the call for the speedy implementation of the Santiago Network for Loss and Damage, as well as the establishment of a supervisory body to regulate the financial support for Loss and Damage under the UNFCCC and Paris Agreement. During COP27 wealthy, capable and highly polluting nations should agree to establish a dedicated funding commitment and mechanisms to address Loss & Damage. The G7/V20 Global Shield Against Climate and Disaster Risks should be empowered to scale up funding and financial protection for Loss & Damage for those most vulnerable
With so many nations attending COP27, international dialogue on Loss & Damage must also be expanded. We call on delegates in Sharm-El-Sheikh to mandate the IPCC to produce a Special Report on Loss & Damage. Added to this, COP27 must mandate the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to fully integrate Loss and Damage solutions as a distinct activity area that is eligible for programs and funding.