Halfway through the second week, delegates struggled to make the shift from technical to political. Some were scrambling to agree to drafts to avoid overloading their ministers. Others reluctantly gave up their texts to ministers or the COP Presidency, who now may have to find a way to wrap disparate issues into a workable package.
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At the same time, ministerial involvement was already evident. Consultations on finance for loss and damage were held. Split largely down developed – developing country lines, views remain far apart. The disagreement is rooted in whether to work out a process that could lead to a financial arrangement in 2024, or to establish a financial facility or fund now and work through the details in the next two years. Developed countries support the former and developing countries the latter.
Ministers and heads of delegation also met to discuss gender, and have been tasked with resolving a few “key, contentious” issues on the new collective quantified finance goal. Technical-level discussions on the new finance goal continued in parallel, although under a cloud of uncertainty over which issues the negotiators would focus on, and which additional issues ministers could take up in the remaining days. Ministerial facilitation will also be needed on the second periodic review of the long-term global goal under the Convention, which sent its text to the COP Presidency, including the bracketed, unagreed options set out for contentious issues.
Amid a rather low mood in the multilateral process, incoming Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva provided a bolt of energy outside of it. Large crowds waited outside the room where he delivered the speech, and cheered throughout. Acknowledging that “these are hard times,” he said we “need more confidence and determination, and we need more leadership to avoid further global warming.”
As Lula focused on forests, others took heart in the announcements that the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA) welcomed new members pledging not to exploit further oil and gas reserves. One observer called it “promising momentum against the challenging headwinds” we’ve seen this year, particularly around energy security.
Technical negotiations moved slowly throughout the day. There were bright spots as text was agreed on the Santiago Network for Loss and Damage. This network provides a range of expertise and technical assistance to help developing countries address loss and damage.As the day went on, a few other decisions and conclusions were ready for adoption, when the plenaries convene to hopefully adopt a range of positive outcomes from the meeting.
Discussions on markets and non-market approaches made steady progress, and texts on the Adaptation Fund Board were also agreed.
On most other finance items, however, negotiators continued to struggle to move past long-held positions and bridge their differences. By the evening, talks on long-term finance, the Standing Committee on Finance, and guidance to the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and Green Climate Fund (GCF) seemed either stuck or were moving very slowly.
These discussions matter greatly for implementation. Developing countries need support, and assurances that money will be available when they make plans. The major climate funds benefit from guidance on the parties’ priorities when they raise and disburse funds.
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All ENB photos are free to use with attribution. For the Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Change Conference, please use: Photo by IISD/ENB | Mike Muzurakis