On 6 November, the global community gathered in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, for the COP27 climate conference. The COP, or ‘Conference of the Parties’, is the key decision-making forum of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change and its impacts.
Why decisions and outcomes from the COPs are important
Climate change is the critical issue of our lifetime and the past 12 months has provided a stark reminder of the human impacts on climate especially in Asia and the Pacific. Historically devastating flooding in Pakistan, extreme drought in the People’s Republic of China, tropical cyclones in the Pacific Islands and typhoons in the Philippines have impacted hundreds of millions of poor, vulnerable people. The reality is these kinds of weather events will increase in intensity and frequency as a consequence of climate change. Therefore, COP outcomes are particularly important for meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UNFCCC to keep global warming below 1.5ºC.
What do we expect from COP27?
“We cannot avoid all the impacts of climate change, they are already happening, so we have to focus on building resilience of the most vulnerable communities,” said ADB Climate Envoy Warren Evans.
COP27 will focus on scaling-up adaptation solutions and mobilizing and strengthening access to financing for adaptation. As Asia and the Pacific’s climate bank, ADB raised its ambition for climate change financing for 2019-2030 from $80 billion to $100 billion, of which $34 billion is marked for adaptation. Some recent examples of that commitment to adaptation include a $1.5 billion loan for Pakistan, under ADB’s Building Resilience with Active Countercyclical Expenditures (BRACE) Program, which includes help to promote climate change adaptation following this year’s devastating flooding, as well as $250 million to strengthen climate and disaster resilience in 22 coastal towns in Bangladesh.
What are the key initiatives ADB will bring to COP27?
ADB will launch several flagship initiatives at COP27, including the Asia Pacific Water Resilience Initiative, which will promote resilient water management in the region, as well as the Blue Pacific Finance Hub, which aims to restore ocean health, build coastal resilience, and develop sustainable blue economies.
ADB will launch the Just Transition Support Platform to help strengthen ADB’s work in the just transition space, which seeks to ensure that the benefits of the shift to low-carbon, resilient economies are shared equally and no individual, community, or region is left behind.
New approaches in the battle against climate change
ADB is also piloting an Innovative Finance Facility for Climate in Asia and Pacific (IF-CAP), which will use guarantees and grant contributions from donor countries and philanthropies to leverage $4 for every $1. IFCAP will be launched next year to help provide much-needed investment for both climate change adaptation and mitigation.
“We need to redesign sectoral interventions. Whether it’s agriculture, water, or urban, we need to have a very strong climate focus, to pay attention to what can we do differently to lower the risks of climate impacts to the actual infrastructure or communities, but also to increase the resilience of that infrastructure and those communities,” said Mr. Evans.
Disasters triggered by natural hazards and escalating climate change impacts seriously threaten economic and social development in Asia and the Pacific.
With Asia and the Pacific responsible for more than half of all global carbon emissions, transitioning to clean energy is key to tackling climate change.
“In doing so, we need to strengthen community-based approaches to climate resilience in parallel while scaling-up and accelerating our work on decarbonization, clean energy security, low-carbon and climate resilient cities, and climate resilient food security. This is a huge challenge, but ADB is absolutely committed to play its leading role across Asia and Pacific and with partners across the world. This has to be a collective effort—none of us can achieve what is necessary on our own.”
COP27 is taking place at a time of unprecedented challenges worldwide. The global community must come together for a renewed global commitment in Egypt to decarbonize at scale and to greatly expand concessional and grant resources to developing countries which are suffering the most.
“It is time to step up and mobilize the kind of resources, with the kind of conditions, that allow countries to really use those resources to adapt to and become more resilient to climate change,” said Mr. Evans.