COP27: the “COP of the vulnerables” where nations like Australia need to act responsibly and equitably.

From Glen Klatovsky CEO Climate Action Network Australia in Egypt
The key elements from an Australian perspective include:
  • addressing climate-induced Loss and Damage, including establishing a dedicated L&D Finance Facility, something the Australian government currently seems to oppose;
  • significant outcomes are required on adaptation finance and the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA);
  • integrated action on the biodiversity crisis;
  • urgency and enhanced ambition on mitigation;
  • push for stronger Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for 2030;
  • phase-out
  • phase-out of fossil fuels;
  • scaling up finance that is equitable and in line with climate justice.


Multiple crises are unfolding before our eyes: in the Horn of Africa, communities are facing famine-like conditions due to drought, while record-breaking heatwaves are witnessed all across Europe, the US, and China where the central Chinese province of Jiangxi has declared a water supply “red alert” for the first time as well as supercharged hurricanes sweeping through the US, and extreme flooding in Pakistan, Nigeria, Australia and Spain.

More than 3 billion people are already living in contexts highly vulnerable to climate impacts and are suffering from multiple intersecting crises compounded by climate change resulting in violation of their human rights. This happened as one-third of Pakistan was under water from historic floods. We are in an era of Loss & Damage from climate change. COP27 must be the COP to deliver for those vulnerable to the climate crisis. Business as usual will not do, the slow pace of negotiations is not acceptable, not aligned with ambition, and not conducive to the deep system transformations we need to ensure a just, climate- safe world for current and future generations.

The context of human rights challenges of this COP are broad, deeply concerning and intolerable. In addition, the trend towards shrinking civic space, disregard for basic human rights and authoritarianism across the world is growing. From the lens of climate action and climate justice, it is important to emphasise that there can be no climate justice without human rights. Anything said and done to the contrary is just lip service. Therefore the discussions and outcomes of the COP must reflect a strengthening of human rights and take concrete steps to safeguard these rights as also highlighted in the report1 by the Special Rapporteur for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in the Context of Climate Change.

It has never been acceptable that those who are least responsible and the most vulnerable must carry the majority of the burden of this climate crisis and other crises. Equity and Justice must be a cornerstone for the discussions and outcomes. The wealthy must do their fair share. The polluters must pay.

With each passing year of inaction and unkept promises, trust in the Paris Agreement erodes. Rich countries have continually failed to deliver on their finance pledges whilst the invasion of Ukraine has been used as an excuse to backtrack on the mitigation commitment of some countries. At COP27 Parties need to restore trust in the purpose of the Paris Agreement by conducting negotiations in a manner that demonstrates the appropriate sense of urgency and strengthened solidarity around the climate crisis. This would mean delivering across the board on mitigation, adaptation, Loss & Damage, and finance across issue spaces framed by the equity principles of the convention, climate justice and human rights.


●  As the very first and central step COP27 must address climate-induced Loss & Damage, a topic that has been neglected for far too long. This starts by agreeing on a substantive agenda to financially address Loss & Damage as recently requested by over 400 Civil Society Organisations2 (CSOs). From there COP27 must deliver a robust decision to set up a Loss & Damage Finance Facility and request the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) to produce a biennial Loss & Damage Financing Gap report to inform the set up of this facility. COP27 must also meaningfully operationalize the Santiago network for Loss & Damage.

●  In addition COP27 must be a real milestone for adaptation, this would mean substantive outcomes on adaptation finance and the Global Goal on Adaptation. On adaptation finance, we need an agenda item on implementing a 50% share and doubling of adaptation finance as well as a transparent implementation plan showing progress towards the 2025 doubling target in an equitable and accessible manner. Espousing the principles of locally-led adaptation, the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA) should also have a permanent agenda item, and through it, furthering transformative adaptation. The Glasgow Sharm-el-Sheik (GlaSS) programme must deliver a clear workplan on how to fully operationalise the GGA.

● At COP27, Parties also have the opportunity to take forward insights shared over the course of seven insightful Koronivia workshops and provide key guidance to improve the quality, as well as the quantity of climate finance for agriculture and especially adaptation. The next phase of Koronivia agriculture negotiations must provide a basis for deepening discussions and policy recommendations on agroecology, gender responsiveness, food loss and waste, and adaptation finance.

● Furthermore, the scientific consensus is clear: if action to protect biodiversity fails, climate action will fail and vice versa. Integrated action is critical. At COP26, the essential role of biodiversity in achieving 1.5oC was formally recognised but more is urgently needed. The UNFCCC must progress toward ambitious outcomes for biodiversity and climate integration across negotiations and work programmes. COP27 must hold Parties accountable to deliver on existing nature initiatives agreed upon at COP26 and elsewhere in terms of both action and integrity. It should prioritize rapid fossil fuel phase-out alongside protecting, restoring and improving the management of carbon and species-rich ecosystems through a rights-based approach.


● With both 2030 mitigation goals and implementation fundamentally off track, COP27 negotiations must demonstrate an appropriate sense of urgency and enhanced ambition. This would mean delivering a robust COP27 decision text addressing realignment with the goals of the Paris Agreement while reflecting on this challenge in the Global Stocktake (GST) and ongoing UNFCCC processes, such as the Mitigation Work Programme3 (MWP) as recently requested by nearly 200 Civil Society

● all countries to completely phase-out coal- fired power, as well as phase-out oil and gas to levels that ensure the achievement of more than 50% nature-safe renewables in their energy mix by 2030 based on equity and fair shares and the principle of CBDR- RC. Finance must be diverted from polluting industries to major investments in renewable energy and clean energy access in developing countries with a focus on Africa. Initiatives announced on the sidelines of COP27 by countries, multilateral and bilateral financial institutions, and businesses must be in line with advancing the adoption of renewables, ensuring universal energy access, and furthering energy security and sovereignty.


●  Noting that finance is a critical enabler of ambitious climate action, COP27 must reaffirm the need for adequate, scaled-up finance that is equitable (in scale and instruments deployed) and in line with climate justice. Finance to address the climate crisis cannot be debt-inducing. In this regard, COP27 should also further the definition of climate finance.

●  We must also see significant and urgent progress on the delivery of the long- awaited US $ 100 billion in climate finance. This figure, whilst inadequate, unjust and problematic still matters. Developed countries must make good for the lack of delivering the 100 billion on time.

●  COP27 must respond to the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) Synthesis Report and Long-Term Strategies (LTS) Synthesis Report in the decision text and deliver a decision that reminds Parties that successive NDC should represent a progression, should reflect its highest possible ambition, can be updated at any time, and that Parties should verify that current NDCs are equitable and are in line with the IPCC’s latest scientific recommendations.

●  COP27 must define and deliver an ambitious, equitable MWP. The MWP must be complementary to the GST, and must be based on equity and fair shares and the principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR-RC). It must Strengthen and expand on the Leaders’ pledges made at COP26 that are showing progress and call for their inclusion in NDCs and LTS.

●  As has been continually reaffirmed by the latest scientific analysis, it is necessary to ensure adequate and effective capacity-building support for transparency is provided to fully implement the enhanced transparency framework and ensure consistent application. Parties should also agree to allow the voluntary request of technical expert reviews of the information reported on climate change impacts and adaptation.

● The continued deliberations around the New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG) must show progression to improve on the current inadequate and unjust system of climate finance. The NCQG cannot repeat the mistakes of the past and be designed as a needs-based and science-based goal. Parties must furthermore decide to establish an agenda item on Aligning Financial Flows under Article 2.1c of the Paris Agreement.


● COP27 is an important staging-post for the Global Stocktake (GST) on the way to its ultimate political conclusions at COP28. Parties and the COP27 and COP28 Presidencies must work together in Sharm- El Sheikh, via the Joint Contact Group, to deliver a COP27 decision text to address the glaring ambition gap. COP27 should ensure an inclusive, discussion-oriented and equitable GST technical dialogue and deliver a COP27 decision text that establishes a GST work plan for 2023. COP27 must, therefore:

–  Signal that COP28 will need to set out forward pathways closing the gaps in 3 key areas encapsulated in a needs-based approach: Fossil fuels phase-out & energy transition; Ecosystems protection, restoration and management; Finance (mitigation, adaptation and Loss & Damage);

–  Signal a readiness to develop a final decision/declaration in 2023 on how to oblige Parties to consider the following points for the improvement of climate action by 2025;

●  COP27 will also see the adoption of the new Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE). It is essential that all activities under the Action Plan are grounded in human rights and allow meaningful and inclusive participation. Including by providing information in accessible formats, of civil society and Indigenous Peoples’ organizations, and people with disabilities whose contribution is essential to advance the six pillars of ACE at the local, national, regional, and international levels. It must also recognise the critical need to protect environmental defenders.

●  The COP process must provide a space at the decision-making table for the most affected people. As we see the worrying shrinking of civic space in these integral avenues, this and all other COPs must champion and enable meaningful civil society participation. Their existential purpose is to ultimately deliver for the people.

●  As the COP of the vulnerables – COP27 must strive to raise the ambition and accelerate the work on climate justice and gender equality in the implementation of the Paris agreement, across all relevant workstreams. As highlighted by the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and climate change, Parties should establish a process to revise and improve the Gender Action Plan, for agreement at COP28.

– Mandate the High-Level Champions to

● develop a dedicated format for the evaluation of non-state climate action.

● Lastly, COP should not be an enterprise. Looking onwards, the selection process of countries to be entitled to host this important conference, must see the development of mechanisms that ensure people’s rights and well-being from an access rights perspective. The inclusion of a protocol for risk assessments and preventive measures to enable the safe and effective participation of the public in the selection of host countries could ensure that the minimum conditions for effective participation are guaranteed. In line with what COP is trying to achieve and for whom, States wishing to host a COP meeting must demonstrate their commitment to human rights and people’s participation.

The deep systemic transformations needed to address the multiple crises that we are facing can only be achieved through transformational change focused on healing our broken systems and relationships while addressing structural inequalities. In a world of finite resources, we must challenge the models of growth that rest on a capitalist worldview and hold States accountable to respect, promote and consider their respective obligations on human rights, including the rights of children, and intergenerational equity, when taking action to address climate change.

We are the people and we have the power.

Together we are stronger.

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