Global South unity can achieve climate justice - Hindustan Times
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Global South unity can achieve climate justice

BySameh Shoukry
Feb 14, 2023 12:00 PM IST

COP27 was a starting point for these crucial institutions to revise their priorities, and align and scale up funding. We will continue to urge MDBs to increase the deployment of climate finance three-fold until 2025

Almost 70 years ago at the peak of the Cold War, which split the world between two belligerent camps, Egypt and India came together to launch the Non-Aligned Movement with a view to bridging the divide and promoting peace and cooperation. Today, our two countries are working together again to address yet another existential threat: The climate crisis.

At COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, the commitment demonstrated by all participants was a powerful reminder of what we can achieve when people representing diverse voices have a seat at the table and seek to turn ambition into action. (AFP) PREMIUM
At COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, the commitment demonstrated by all participants was a powerful reminder of what we can achieve when people representing diverse voices have a seat at the table and seek to turn ambition into action. (AFP)

At COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, the commitment demonstrated by all participants was a powerful reminder of what we can achieve when people representing diverse voices have a seat at the table and seek to turn ambition into action. Against a backdrop of ongoing interrelated energy, food, and financial crises, the grouping succeeded in delivering a meaningful mitigation programme and further reiterated the international community’s commitment to the targets elaborated at COP26.

Developing countries confirmed their commitment to ambitious and just climate action. India, for example, released its Long-Term Low Emission Development Strategy, articulating a framework of how the country proposes to meet its goals of achieving climate neutrality by 2070. Likewise, Egypt updated its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to include more ambitious targets. Despite the positive outcomes of COP27, the global climate regime still suffers from an absence of climate justice and equity — a pragmatic prerequisite. This regime is fragile, and the only way to ensure buy-in, and consequently, good faith contributions, is through demonstrating and nurturing equity.

To achieve this, both sides of the equation, action and support, must receive equal attention. Calls for increased ambition in reducing emissions by all countries must be matched by developed countries’ provision of financial and other support to developing countries. Regrettably, developed countries have not delivered on the minimum requirement of $100 billion in climate finance annually. The lack of climate finance will continue to be the biggest challenge facing our efforts. Those who contributed the least to the current crisis will find it difficult to continue to fund their actions out of already stretched national budgets.

Both India and Egypt know about the devastation that the climate crisis can cause. India has experienced droughts, floods, heatwaves, and unpredictable monsoons, while Egypt faces challenges due to rising sea levels, desertification, and land degradation. For this reason, the Egyptian presidency of COP27 worked with all parties to adopt – in a historic first – new funding arrangements for Loss and Damage, assisting developing countries particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of the climate crisis.

This breakthrough progress made international headlines, rightly so, for it represents a step towards restoring climate justice. It gave hope to the millions suffering on the frontlines of the climate crisis, rebuilt trust in the process of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and proved that multilateralism can deliver an equitable outcome for those who need it most.

But this is not enough. The need to transform the financial system, primarily Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) and International Financial Institutions, is intrinsically linked to delivering greater results. COP27 was a starting point for these crucial institutions to revise their priorities, and align and scale up funding. We will continue to urge MDBs to increase the deployment of climate finance three-fold until 2025. This includes a full suite of instruments from grants to guarantees and non-debt instruments, without exacerbating debt burdens.

Simply demanding more ambition in emissions reduction, calling for updating of the NDCs, and insisting on the phasing out or down of fossil fuels won’t lead to the desired results, unless there is adequate financial support, to enable a just transition. Without addressing climate finance issues, our efforts on mitigation and adaptation will keep falling short. Despite the many challenges we face, the Paris temperature goal must not be allowed to fade. At COP27, we upheld the decisions adopted at COP26, while sending a clear message to all parties that current global challenges should not be a pretext for backsliding on commitments. The desire to adhere to this was reflected unambiguously in the Sharm El Sheikh Implementation Plan.

Our success in this fight will require every nation to rise to the occasion, acknowledge the science, and adhere to the principles governing our collective efforts.

COP27 may be over but the work goes on. The decisions have been unanimously adopted, promises have been made, and pledges have been announced. This year, India as president of G20, can ensure that we not only stay the course for implementation, but continue to raise our climate ambition ahead of COP28 in the United Arab Emirates.

Sameh Shoukry is Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Arab Republic of Egypt and COP27 President.

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