TWN Info Service on Climate Change (Nov20/02)
25 November 2020
Third World Network

Developing countries call for fulfillment of climate finance commitments

Penang, 25 Nov (TWN) — Developing countries called on developed countries to fulfill their climate finance commitments at the opening of the Climate Dialogues held on 23 Nov, under the auspices of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Normally, during this time of the year, an annual meeting of the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP) is held. This time, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the convening of the COP has not been possible. In its place, a series of virtual events called the Climate Dialogues (CD) are taking place from 23 Nov to 4 Dec. The nature of events planned include mandated events for 2020, events by constituted bodies, informal consultations by the COP Presiding Officers with Parties and technical workshops.

At the opening session of the CD, groups of Parties in pre-recorded video messages conveyed their views.

Speaking for the G77 and China, Guyana impressed upon the importance of addressing climate change, especially in a COVID-19 world, and said that backsliding on commitments was not an option. Guyana said developed countries must continue taking the leading role in mitigation efforts, and provide adequate financial, technological and capacity building support to developing countries according to their historical responsibility and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) between developed and developing countries. That for many developing countries access to finance continued to be a major stumbling block, was highlighted and developed countries were called on to fulfill their finance commitment.

In relation to the CD, Guyana said that the Group expects the virtual meetings to allow to exchange views and discuss some possible matters with a view to bringing Parties closer to a decision in 2021 and that the CD must be comprehensive, balanced and meaningful.

“On the way forward, the USD 100 billion goal and the new long-term finance goal must be guaranteed to advance climate ambition as well in the light of the global recession brought about by the Corona virus pandemic,” Guyana said adding that 2020 represents the year in which the attainment of the finance target “was representative of not just ambition but also of building trust.”

(In 2016, at the COP 16 in Cancun, Mexico, developed countries committed to a goal of mobilizing jointly USD 100 billion per year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries. At COP 21 in Paris in 2015, Parties agreed that developed countries will “…continue their existing collective mobilization goal [of the USD 100 billion] through 2025” and to also “…set a new collective quantified goal from a floor of USD 100 billion per year, taking into account the needs and priorities of developing countries”).

The G77 underscored the need for “urgent initiation of an inclusive Party-driven process within the UNFCCC to set a new collective goal prior to 2025 and give developing countries the assurance in terms of enhanced and ambitious climate action”.

A UNFCCC process that assesses the attainment of USD 100 billon commitment by 2020 must be an agenda item of COP 26 and based on a synthesis report compiled by the Secretariat, Guyana said. “Within this context, having a UNFCCC agreed climate finance definition and accounting modality is a crucial element for transparency, credibility, assessment and evaluation of climate finance,” it said further, adding the need for “balance between mitigation and adaptation”, and expressed concerns that the Group did not see ambition and urgency in the scaling up finance for adaptation by developed countries.

Gabon for the Africa Group expressed urgent need to support developing countries and added that the CD events should facilitate climate action and continue to discuss the remaining rules of the Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP). Gabon highlighted the importance of equity and CBDR, in the light of different national circumstances, in the implementation of the Paris Agreement (PA) and expressed that most CD events were focused on reporting rather than the core priority of implementation. The African Group also registered their concerns on the consideration of pre-2020 ambition on the mitigation and finance gap, and called on the Secretariat to use events such as the CD to close the ambition gap. It welcomed that no formal negotiations would be held under the CD.

China spoke for BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India, China) and said their countries are bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic, which had brought unprecedented challenges to their economies. Reiterating the group’s commitment to “multilateralism and international cooperation to address climate change and to advance sustainable development”, China called for the full and sustained implementation of the Convention, its Kyoto Protocol (KP) and its PA, in particular on the basis of the principles of equity, CBDR and respective capacities, in the light of different national circumstances, to pave the way for progress. The group also emphasized that it was essential to advance the process in an open, transparent, comprehensive, and balanced Party-driven and consensus-based manner, in particular to ensure the full and effective participation of developing countries. China also stressed that the virtual format was not appropriate for decision-making and “shall not serve as inputs to Subsidiary Bodies sessions and COPs”. It also called for balance across items to ensure comparable level of preparedness and maturity among the different items upon the resumption of physical meetings.

Speaking for the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), Nicaragua hoped that developed countries would fully implement the PA, without conditions or delays. ALBA spoke about several extreme events in the region, and called on the developed countries to fulfill their pre-2020 commitments and enhance their level of ambition in the post-2020 mitigation actions. Referring to the negative impact of the application of illegal unilateral coercive measures, Nicaragua said such measures damage the capacity of countries to take action against climate change. “The application of these measures in times of pandemic, in addition to the losses and damages caused by climate change, raises their illegality to the level of a crime against humanity,” said Nicaragua.

Panama spoke for the Independent Alliance of the Latin America and the Caribbean (AILAC) and underscored the need to reach net 0 by 2050 and ambitious climate action by Parties. Panama also said the climate finance agenda was fundamental for developing countries and expressed concern in relation to no official information available on the achievement of USD 100 billion goal, and 80 per cent of climate finance taking the shape of loans rather than grants, which is “only increasing the debt burden in the South”. Panama called on developed countries to comply with their financial obligations. Panama also called for making the Santiago Network on Loss and Damage fully operative; work on Article 6 to aim for carbon neutrality and to make Parties reports’ more transparent and clearer for analysis.

Speaking for the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), Belize stressed the importance of climate ambition and called on all major emitters to deliver on 1.5°C-consistent nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the PA and to achieve net-zero by 2025. AOSIS called on developed countries to step up support for implementation of NDCs with targeted support for Small Island Developing States, adding that action and support for loss and damage must be anchored as a deliverable for COP 26 and called on Parties to finalise the Paris rulebook. Belize also proposed that the Secretariat be empowered to undertake technical work such as finalizing tables related to the enhanced transparency framework under the PA.

Speaking for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Bhutan underscored the need for ambition and added that there should be no postponement in the submission of enhanced NDCs in 2020, nor the fulfilment of USD 100 billion.

Switzerland spoke for the Environment Integrity Group (EIG) and said it would use the CD to listen to Parties and build a common understanding, adding that 2020 was the year to submit enhanced NDCs and long-term greenhouse gas emission development strategies. It encouraged countries to also submit adaptation communication. The EIG hoped to start deliberations on the finance goal and in doing so, to strive to make all financial flows consistent with pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate resilient development. Expressing confidence in the virtual format bringing Parties together, Switzerland called on the Presiding Officers to capture discussions in a written form.

The European Union (EU) said it looked forward to the successful adoption of the rules of transparency framework and Article 6 of the PA at COP 26. (Article 6 refers to cooperative approaches between countries, both market and non-market approaches). It expressed its eagerness to participate in the CD events. The EU said that the Structured Expert Dialogue (under the Periodic Review of the implementation of the Convention) would provide an opportunity to better understand the long-term global goal and collective progress on mitigation efforts. The EU encouraged Parties to submit enhanced NDCs and long-term strategies and said the EU leaders would discuss the issue on 10-11 Dec.

Australia spoke for Umbrella Group that are Parties to the PA (which excludes the United States) and said it is critical to complete negotiations on the transparency framework and Article 6. It referred to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) report on climate finance provided and mobilized by developed countries between 2013 and 2018, which it said showed that donors were on the pathway to reach USD 100 billion per annum goal in 2020.

Other speakers at the opening included Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General to United Nations; Carolina Schmidt, COP25 President from Chile; Alok Sharma, incoming COP26 President from the United Kingdom; Tosi Mpanu Mpanu, Chair of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) from the Democratic Republic of Congo; Marianne Karlsen, Chair of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) from Norway and Patricia Espinosa, the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC.

Mohammed called for increased ambition and increased action on adaptation, mitigation and finance to ensure a low-carbon and climate resilient world. She said she has seen encouraging signs of commitments towards net-zero and for the pledges to be reflected in domestic plans and NDCs.

Schmidt stressed the need to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 and said that a sustainable economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic would be part of the solution to the climate crisis.

Sharma highlighted the importance of ambition and action on climate change, adding the need to make progress on vital negotiating issues. He also spoke about the forthcoming Climate Ambition Summit to be held on 12 Dec, co-hosted by UK COP Presidency, the UN and France, in partnership with Chile and Italy.

“The Summit will provide a platform for leaders to come forth with announcements under the three pillars of the PA – mitigation, adaptation and support. We are calling for new, more ambitious NDCs, long-term strategies setting out a pathway to net-zero emissions, climate finance commitments to support the most vulnerable and crucially ambitious adaptation plans and underlying policies,” said Sharma.

The Chairs of the Subsidiary Bodies outlined the purpose and the kind of events in the CD.

Espinosa stressed the need to build common understanding on the road to COP 26 and advance work as much as possible in a COVID-19 world.