IGES Activity on COP28

IGES

COP28
UAE
IGES Activity on UNFCCC COP28

Hosted in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the 28th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP28) will begin on 30 November 2023. Before, during and after COP28, this Special Webpage will deliver the latest information on climate change negotiations and relevant events, as well as IGES expert perspectives.

News

 

Priority Issues

CLIMATE SECURITY

Implications of COP28 Results for Climate Security

Significant developments in the field of climate security were marked by the dedication to the Health/Relief, Recovery & Peace Day at COP28. However, these are the initiatives outside the negotiation. Then, regarding the negotiation outcome labelled the UAE Consensus, what implication does it hold for climate security? Here are three points from the UAE Consensus that seem particularly relevant to climate security:

Agreement on the operationalisation of the new funding arrangements, including the Loss and Damage Fund
Loss and Damage refer to the adverse effects of climate change despite efforts in climate change mitigation and adaptation, and arguably its content significantly overlaps with initiatives of climate security. For example, in the GST decision, such approaches as disaster risk reduction, humanitarian assistance, recovery, displacement, planned relocation, and migration were cited as responses to Loss and Damage (-/CMA.5, paras. 125, 131). Climate security highlights the direct and indirect impacts of climate change across various societal facets, potentially leading to instability, division, and conflicts. The progress in concrete responses through the anticipated Loss and Damage Fund is crucial in shaping climate security policies.

What the Loss and Damage Fund agreed upon on the first day of COP28 is based on discussions held over the past year in the transitional committee following the agreement to establish the fund and funding facilities at COP27. Immediate pledges to the fund swiftly followed, totalling more than $700 million. The management of the fund and its associated facilities, alongside the ongoing discussions within the Warsaw International Mechanism and the Santiago Network—key drivers of technical discourse on Loss and Damage under the UNFCCC—warrant considerable attention from the standpoint of climate security.

Call to transition away from fossil fuels: Global Stocktake (GST) Document (‐/CMA.5, paras. 28(d)) 
In response to the GST decision, the acceleration in the transition away from fossil fuels is anticipated. Countries will renew their NDCs by 2025, building on this language included in the GST decision. Considering energy security perspectives, such as securing critical materials necessary for the widespread adoption of renewable energy, is crucial in this energy transition. Striking a balance between advancing decarbonisation efforts and ensuring energy security will require cautious yet bold decision-making in the future policy formations of each nation.

Agreement on the framework for operationalising the Global Goal on Adaptation(GGA) 
Significant decisions have also been made in the context of climate change adaptation. The agreement on the GGA framework is expected to provide distinct guidelines for each country's adaptation efforts. Notably, sector-specific goals related to adaptation in water, food, health, ecosystems, infrastructure/housing, poverty reduction, and cultural heritage are included in the framework (-/CMA.5, para. 9). This emphasises the integration of adaptation across diverse sectors, fostering comprehensive climate risk responses and suggesting a direction for policy formulation towards ensuring climate security. International discussions on the direction of climate risk responses, including acknowledging cross-border and cascading risks in the GST decision (-/CMA.5, para. 52), are steadily progressing. Policy formation in the field of climate security must be linked to these discussions.

Matters relating to the global stocktake under the Paris Agreement
Glasgow–Sharm el-Sheikh work programme on the global goal on adaptation referred to in decision 7/CMA.3

 
CLIMATE SECURITY

Progress on Climate Security at COP28 - A Declaration that Leads to Action

For the first time in COP, Climate security was named one of the agenda items at COP28. Notably, COP28 was the first time COP dedicated a day to Health, Relief, Recovery, and Peace, marking heightened global attention to climate security. I would like to spotlight two events closely associated with climate security during COP28.

A high-level event, "Climate Security Moment: Assuming Joint Leadership," hosted by the Munich Security Conference on December 1st, emphasised the critical need for global cooperation in tackling climate-related risks. The event featured high-level speakers, including the Prime Ministers of Estonia and Iceland, the NATO Secretary-General, and the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate. The conversation transcended the oversimplified view of climate change as solely a matter of rising sea levels or extreme weather, delving deeper to critically and strategically assess the emerging security threats and risks posed by climate change on a global scale.

On December 3rd, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) orchestrated a thematic event, “Launch of the Climate, Relief, Recovery, and Peace Declaration”. Esteemed attendees, including the Deputy Prime Minister of Somalia, Ministers from Norway and the Marshall Islands, alongside leaders from the Green Climate Fund and WFP, engaged in discussions regarding the significance of the "Climate, Relief, Recovery, and Peace Declaration." Released on the same day, this declaration garnered endorsement from over 70 countries, including Japan, and more than 40 international organisations. Its primary objective is to offer a comprehensive set of solutions to augment adaptation funds for regions confronted with conflict and susceptibility to the impacts of climate change.

The global drive for climate security is steadily gaining traction. Addressing the security risks posed by climate change demands proactive leadership from every nation, translating dialogue into actionable initiatives. Collaborative efforts among countries can directly contribute to resilient societies in the face of climate challenges and play a crucial role in humanitarian aid and peacebuilding efforts.

“Climate, Relief, Recovery and Peace Declaration” https://www.cop28.com/en/cop28-declaration-on-climate-relief-recovery-and-peace

 
ENHANCED TRANSPARENCY FRAMEWORK

Importance of Enhancing Transparency in National Climate Reporting and Support for Developing Countries

Under Article 13 of the Paris Agreement (PA), the enhanced transparency framework (ETF) was established, requiring all Parties to regularly report their climate actions and support toward achieving their emission reduction targets. The foundation for the ETF was developed long before the PA, as it builds on and enhances the existing measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) arrangements under the UNFCCC Convention and the Kyoto Protocol. In the ETF, countries need to submit biennial transparency reports (BTRs) and the first BTRs are due to be submitted at the latest by 31 December 2024. Therefore, this year is an important year for preparing BTRs and transitioning to the ETF.

The ETF is crucial for tracking the progress of achieving and implementing Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and for holding countries accountable for what they have pledged on their NDCs. BTRs are key national-level climate reports submitted under the PA for reporting how countries are implementing climate actions toward their pledged emission reduction targets. BTRs have several reporting elements such as inventory, mitigation actions, NDC tracking, adaptation actions, and financial, technology transfer and capacity-building support provided and received. In the BTRs, both developed and developing countries will comply with one common guideline, “Modalities, procedures and guidelines for the transparency framework for action and support referred to in Article 13 of the PA” (MPGs).

These enhanced reporting requirements (MPGs) for BTRs are challenging for many developing countries1. Although the ETF includes specific flexibilities for the developing country Parties that need flexibility in the light of their capacities, those countries still need transparency capacity-building and support for preparing their BTRs2. Therefore, enhancing their capacity (e.g., technical and institutional) is essential for successfully operationalising the ETF. In IGES, we implement a Mutual Learning Program for enhanced transparency (MLP)3 to support the preparation of BTRs in developing countries.

At COP28, we will join the forces under the ETF with other organisations to co-organise a side event on the MLP and facilitate roundtable discussions on ETF support.

Please join us on-site or tune in online to learn more about this important component for PA implementation:

1 “Practical Solutions for Addressing Challenges in National Reporting for the Enhanced Transparency Framework: Cases from Developing Countries in the Asia–Pacific Region”.
2 “National GHG inventory capacity in developing countries – a global assessment of progress”
3Please see the Enhanced Transparency webpage for more information.

 
NATURE-BASED SOLUTIONS

A Growing Appreciation for the Role of Nature in Climate Efforts: Paving the Way for Eliminating Deforestation by 2030 and Making Progress on the Paris Agreement

We have observed a growing appreciation for the role of nature, especially forests, in efforts to combat climate change and efforts to enhance synergies with biodiversity protection. In 2021, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) co-hosted a workshop to discuss the synergies and trade-offs between biodiversity protection and climate change mitigation and adaptation, a crucial step towards future integrated approaches for these agendas. In November 2021, during the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP26, the Glasgow Leaders' Declaration on Forests and Land Use was launched to address the climate crisis through nature, aiming to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030. Last year, the UNFCCC COP27 Decision on the Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan highlighted that nature conservation and restoration are essential to achieving the Paris Agreement's goal to limit warming. On the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) side, the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework adopted in 2022 aims to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030. This global agreement for biodiversity supports the achievement of the Paris Agreement and creates opportunities for links between the two agendas.

Along with the emphasis on "nature", the concept of nature-based solutions (NbS) has drawn attention, regarded as enabling us to address climate and biodiversity simultaneously. As reflected in its definition by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)1, "actions to protect, sustainably manage and restore natural or modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits," NbS is an umbrella idea that covers a range of ecosystem-based approaches. For instance, NbS may involve reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+). The potential of NbS is underscored by the adoption of the concept at high political events, such as the Group of Seven (G7), Group of Twenty (G20), and the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), followed by dialogues and initiatives, such as ENACT (Enhancing Nature-based Solutions for an Accelerated Climate Transformation) established at UNFCCC COP27 last year and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)'s international consultation in 2023.

Despite such growing focus on nature, forests—the most prominent space of synergies between climate action and biodiversity protection—remain under persistent threat. The recent assessment report published by the Forest Declaration Assessment (2023)2, in which IGES participated, concludes that we are behind in reaching the target of eliminating deforestation by 2030, with gross deforestation in 2022 being 6.6 million hectares globally, which is 21% higher than the needed trajectory for ending deforestation by 2030. The assessment report also highlights that unsustainable production and consumption patterns in the agriculture, forestry, and mining sectors encourage further deforestation and forest degradation. At the same time, it points out the inadequate public and private funding to protect forests. The assessment results suggest an urgent need to make further progress on forest goals, including adopting policies; creating enabling regulatory and fiscal environments; strengthening partnerships and coordinating actions across different actors, sectors, and countries; scaling investment; and facilitating accountability in actions.

This UNCCC COP28 will be critical for encouraging countries and other stakeholders to address these forest-related challenges and foster effective integration of climate and biodiversity efforts. In September 2023, the UNFCCC Secretariat released the synthesis report on the technical dialogue of the first global stocktake (GST), which will be the basis for negotiating political messages at COP28. Its key findings reaffirm the importance of all sectors to meet the Paris Agreement goals, including halting and reversing deforestation by 2030 and emphasising the restoration and protection of natural ecosystems. It further calls for demand-side measures in agriculture, a topic which has previously been relatively unaddressed at negotiations in the context of climate change. I hope that COP28 will respond to these findings and build consensus on how to strengthen actions.

1 https://www.iucn.org/our-work/nature-based-solutions
2 Forest Declaration Assessment (2023) 2023 Forest Declaration Assessment: Off track and falling behind available at https://forestdeclaration.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/2023ForestDeclarationAssessment3.pdf

 
GREENHOUSE GAS MONITORING
Programme Manager, Sustainable Consumption and Production , IGES

Despite an increase in the number of countries setting greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets since the Paris Agreement, existing government pledges fall short of preventing global temperatures from surpassing the 1.5°C warming limit. Against this backdrop, mitigating methane emissions is a highly cost-effective strategy to swiftly reduce the rate of global warming. Furthermore, methane reduction offers numerous co-benefits including alleviation of negative impact on human health, food production, and ecosystems, as methane gas can lead to the creation of tropospheric ozone, a hazardous air pollutant. Recognising the significance of methane emissions reduction, more than 100 countries, including Japan, committed to the Global Methane Pledge (GMP) during COP26 in November 2021. The initiative, now including membership from 150 countries, aims to collectively reduce global anthropogenic methane emissions by at least 30% by 2030 compared to 2020 level.

The Global Methane Assessment (2021) underscores that about 60% of global methane emissions originate from human activities, primarily in three sectors: agriculture (40%), fossil fuels (35%) and waste (20%). Recognising that the waste sector ranks as the third largest contributor, IGES has been engaging national and local governments on developing strategies to address this issue.1 Such plans emphasise the importance of effective management of organic waste with a focus on the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) and circular economy, and building capacity for managing final disposal sites to mitigate methane emissions. However, to begin with, a significant challenge remains in ensuring effective and proper monitoring of methane emissions.

In practice, estimating methane emissions following the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s bottom-up method carries a high degree of uncertainty particularly in developing countries due to limited data availability and accuracy, and such activity data are required to create inventories to report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). On the other hand, the top-down approach, using satellite and airborne data with atmospheric modelling, has been considered to be a supplemental or alternative method for the inventories because it can help quantify methane emissions and sinks at a global scale and track changes consistently over time and places, including the ocean and unmanaged land where human access is extremely challenging.

Satellite technologies such as Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)’s GOSAT 1&2 and the European Space Agency-managed Sentinel, along with atmospheric models, are valuable tools for monitoring methane emissions; however, due to the differences in measuring technology and estimating method, large discrepancies have been pointed out between bottom-up inventories and top-down estimates as well as among different models used to interpret the satellite data, which has brought the need for robust and transparent data evaluation and utilisation of estimates. To reduce the discrepancies, scientists across the world have continued analysing the mechanism of methane emissions and sinks and improving models for calculating emissions. As one of their outputs, the Global Methane Budget (GMB) 2007-2017 published in 2020 used both bottom-up and top-down approaches to quantitatively show methane sources and sinks, as well as their measurement uncertainties. The GMB, as well as regular monitoring and quantification of global methane emissions and sinks are key to exploring short-term climate change mitigation policies. IGES is collaborating with JAXA to enhance the utilisation of GOSAT data with more reliable modeling, with the aim of mainstreaming the monitoring methods to contribute to more effective climate negotiations in the future.

For further discussion on how satellite technologies, namely GOSAT, can contribute to the monitoring of methane emissions in the developing country context to achieve the goals of the GMP, please join the ISAP2023 session, “Utilization of Satellite Data for Observing Global and National Methane Emissions” to be held on 15 December 2023.

1 In collaboration with the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), IGES has been actively supporting national and local governments in Asia to reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs), including methane. For example, IGES has formulated a national strategy to reduce SLCPs from the municipal solid waste sector in the Philippines. Action plans on solid waste management to mitigate SLCPs have been developed for cities in Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines. Additionally, IGES is currently in the process of developing a methane reduction roadmap for Cambodia and Micronesia in partnership with their respective national governments.

 
Asia-Pacific Climate Week 2023
 
GLOBAL STOCKTAKE

The Role of Non-State Actors (NSA) in the Global Stocktake (GST): Two Ongoing Objectives in Advocacy

The Synthesis report on GST elements released ahead of COP28 addressed 17 key findings. IGES has been actively engaged in establishing the independent Global Stocktake Southeast Asia Hub (iGST Southeast Asia Regional Hub) as a platform for non-state actors (NSAs) in Southeast Asia to contribute to the GST through regional initiatives. The inclusion of NSA’s roles in the key findings was a significant development for the Hub.

In addition, in a report released in October outlining the sub-missions entitled “Synthesis Report: Views on the elements for the consideration of outputs component of the first global stocktake”, the importance of NSAs in communicating the outcomes of the GST to communities and civil society was highlighted with a nod to IGES.

The Hub’s activities have consistently prioritised advocating the positions of NSAs in relation to the GST. In June of this year, at the 58th Sessions of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies (SB) in Bonn, Germany, the Hub collaborated with multiple organisations. Representatives from the three iGST Hubs in Southeast Asia, West Africa, and Latin America engaged in discussions regarding the importance of and challenges faced by NSAs in the context of the GST.

Advocating for the role of NSAs in the GST process serves two primary objectives. Firstly, it seeks to raise awareness among government actors about the vital role of NSAs in the GST. Hosting side events during SB58 was done with this intention, providing an opportunity to learn about their initiatives. Secondly, it is to enhance understanding among NSAs of the GST and encourage their participation in the process. The activities of the Hub have revealed that there is still insufficient understanding of GST among NSAs dedicated to addressing climate change. As a result, we found that the critical objective of the Hub's initiatives is to convey the significance of NSA involvement in the GST and to encourage further participation of NSAs in this process.

Given the recognition of NSA roles in the key findings of the synthesis report, the iGST Southeast Asia Regional Hub is determined to ramp up its advocacy efforts. Our strategy includes active participation in major international conferences such as the Asia Pacific Climate Week (APCW) and COP28. We will organise events to strengthen our partnerships with relevant stakeholders, allowing us to effectively convey and emphasise the pivotal role of NSAs in the GST process.

Furthermore, we are dedicated to ensuring that the results of the first GST are effectively communicated to our Hub members. IGES remains committed to translating our advocacy into tangible actions.

 
Asia-Pacific Climate Week 2023
Past Event
Side-event at APCW 2023

Shaping ‘Climate Security’ in Asia-Pacific

Climate security is an emerging concept that underlines the critical importance of addressing climate change issues in the context of security. This session rolls out the IGES’s new initiative aiming to explore climate security in the Asia-Pacific...
 
HEALTH

Putting Health at the Centre of Climate Actions at COP28 and Beyond

Introduction
Climate change not only poses a threat to the planet but the health of its people. In fact, health is not only important in its own right but because it can have multiplier effects on other dimensions of sustainable development. The growing realisation of this multidimensional threat has led to the decision to hold the first-ever Health Day at COP28. This much-welcomed decision nonetheless raises the question about what decision-makers should do to position health more centrally in international climate negotiations and related policies. Here, we review the links between climate and health and recommend steps to leverage those connections for a healthier planet and people at COP28 and beyond.

Protecting health and health systems from climate change
Much of the world faces a growing threat from climate-related extreme weather events as well as other climate-related stressors such as droughts and sea-level rise. Both these events and stressors have implications for health. More concretely, they have direct impacts on health (e.g., injury or the loss of life) while also giving rise to indirect effects (e.g., changes in vector-borne disease risk) and diffuse impacts (e.g., security concerns). One of the ironies is that economic development has enabled access to services that improve health and wellbeing, but also come at a cost: namely, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions1 that can exacerbate climate change and threaten health in other ways, especially among the most vulnerable.

The close links between climate and health suggests some actions should focus on building resilience. While all sectors should build this resilience, the health sector in the Global South warrants particular attention. In resource-poor settings in the Asia-Pacific, for example, health care facilities often struggle to provide basic services, including water, sanitation and hygiene services, a situation that is further exacerbated by climate change2. It is therefore imperative that countries and international institutions implement infrastructure projects to enhance and maintain access to basic services in a changing climate. Meanwhile, the health sector can take further steps by strengthening the capacity of the health workforce to treat climate-sensitive health conditions and advocating for the coverage of climate-sensitive diseases such as heatstroke in health insurance schemes. By the same token, such capacity-building initiatives as the Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Information Platform (AP-PLAT)3 can partner with the health community to demonstrate how to mainstream health into national adaptation plans.

Maximising the health co-benefits of climate mitigation
Another set of actions involves the links between health and mitigation. Many interventions that mitigate climate change, such as those involving clean energy and sustainable transport, also improve air quality and health. Research has convincingly demonstrated that these health co-benefits can offset mitigation costs, boost climate ambitions and improve many areas of well-being. There nevertheless remains scope for better recognizing and creating incentives for incorporating health in climate policies. One possible step forward would be for the international community to work together on mainstreaming health benefits into nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and long-term net zero strategies with, for instance, estimates of reductions in fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and disability adjusted life years (DALYs) from pledged actions. A related step would be for health professionals to offer insights to those engaged in efforts to assess sustainable development benefits for a new Article 6.4 on financing mechanisms.

From reactive to proactive
The upcoming COP28 marks a potentially important milestone for health and climate experts to join forces in a way that can yield benefits for both communities. It is imperative that those working on health play a proactive–rather than reactive–at COP28. Through implementing some of our suggestions, the health and other related sectors may be able to position that agenda more centrally at discussions in Dubai and beyond.

1A related point is that the health sector also contributes to these emissions, accounting for 4-5% of emissions. See
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jan.15671#:~:text=On%20their%20part%2C%20healthcare%20systems,and%20to%20act%20as%20a.
2See, for example, https://www.who.int/laos/our-work/protecting-health-amid-a-changing-climate.
3Access AP-PLAT at: https://ap-plat.nies.go.jp/.

 
YOUTH
Policy Researcher, Integrated Sustainability Centre

The activism of young people in sustainability movements, especially climate movements, has received plentiful attention globally in recent years. Youth are increasingly invited to voice their views at events, on the media and other platforms. COP28 is no exception, where the United Arab Emirates Presidency has devised initiatives to enable youth participation, including the International Youth Climate Delegate Program.

With COP28 around the corner, it is important to reflect on youth empowerment at COP28 and other conferences, especially who among the young generation are present and to what extent youth are represented. Too often, a select few youth participants are tasked with speaking for everyone in their generation, even though there is considerable diversity in priorities, perspectives and proposed solutions. And too often, youth are seen as a group without the power to shape their own futures.

But that can change. To ensure that the diverse voices of young people are captured at COP28 and other international governance processes, we must not only create spaces for safe and meaningful engagement among diverse youth, but also design an enabling environment through education and empowerment in order to do so. Like other groups that have traditionally been on the sidelines of decision-making, youth can be empowered by taking ownership of global issues such as climate change, and work with other stakeholders to accelerate much-needed action toward a more sustainable and just world.

For further discussion on the issue of youth engagement in similar international governance spaces, please see Engaging Youth in SDGs Through Representation, Inclusivity, Empowerment.

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