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Director of the United Nations Climate Convention to Al-Ain News: COP28 is a summit to correct the course

Simon Steel: Finance is the lifeblood of all climate action

Simon Steele, Executive Director of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, told Al-Ain News that COP28 is a course-correcting step.

The Executive Director of the Climate Change Convention confirmed to Al-Ain News that the decision issued by the last Conference of the Parties (COP27) in Egypt, late last year, to establish a fund to compensate losses and damages as a result of the repercussions of climate change, is one of the historic decisions in the global climate action process.

Simon Steel also hopes that the next session of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) in the UAE will be a step in the right direction to mobilize efforts towards achieving the ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement, to avoid a rise in global warming by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial rates.

The convening of the (COP28) conference in the UAE comes as the second conference of the parties to be held in an Arab country in a row, after the previous session (COP27) in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. What does that mean?

The convening of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) in the United Arab Emirates is of great importance, given that it is being held in one of the most fossil fuel-producing regions in the world, and this supports climate action if we are to, in the end, reduce The level of global warming not exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial rates, according to the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement. This requires massive transformations in all societies and in all business sectors, and it is important that this region be the center of this desired transformation.

The region of North Africa and West Asia is also considered a typical center for the negative effects that may occur as a result of climatic changes that the residents of the countries of the region may suffer from, as a result of the failure to act to reduce this phenomenon, given that this region is already one of the most registered regions. For the highest temperatures, and the worst droughts on the planet.

What are the most prominent issues and topics that the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change seeks to place at the top of the agenda of the twenty-eighth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) in the UAE?

During the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties in the United Arab Emirates, the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) seeks to focus attention on the issue of global assessment, a process by which all countries review their assessment of progress towards achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement, and from This process would put the different countries before a defining moment to agree on plans with concrete actions that could lead us to achieve the goals we agreed upon, which we must implement by 2030.

Such practical plans could form a roadmap for climate action during the next few period, to achieve the agreed goals, and should include detailed procedures for various sectors and topics, including adaptation to the repercussions of climate change, compensation for losses and damages, in addition to financing, technology, and construction.

capabilities, and perhaps such a roadmap will not be limited to providing plans based on the available options only, but also includes practical measures to finance reform programs, enhance a sense of political accountability and cooperation partnerships in order to enhance climate action, and we hope that the conference (COP-28) will be the starting point Towards correcting the course towards collectively achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement.

The decision to establish the Loss and Damage Fund, mobilize funding to help developing countries, and a global plan to adapt to climate change were among the most prominent results of the Sharm El-Sheikh conference. What are the results that are expected to be built upon in the (COP28) conference in the UAE?

It can be said that the last Conference of the Parties (COP27) drew the world’s attention to the magnitude of the risks resulting from climate change, which have become tangible to all, and also laid out the features of a road map to help the world avoid the worst consequences of climate change. However, there are 5 main results of the Sharm El-Sheikh conference, which can shape priorities for climate action in 2023 and beyond.

The first result is the establishment of the Loss and Damage Fund, according to a historic decision, which culminated in the arduous negotiations at the end of the work of the (COP27) conference, with the aim of providing financing to compensate weak countries affected by floods, droughts and other climatic disasters, for the losses and damages incurred by them.

This decision was welcomed.

Global and broad, given that for the first time the various parties recognized the need for financing to respond to the losses and damages caused by climate change, agreed to establish the fund, and made the necessary financing arrangements.

The Sharm el-Sheikh conference also succeeded in maintaining hope that the Paris Agreement goal of preventing an increase in global warming by more than 1.5 degrees is still within reach, and the states parties reaffirmed their commitment to pursuing this goal, after everyone realized that the world is going through a critical decade in terms of climate action.

After a report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) showed that the world is in dire need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 43% by 2030.

Another outcome of the (COP27) conference was the endorsement of the principles of accountability and holding companies and institutions accountable, when it comes to the commitments they made, in addition to focusing on mobilizing more financial support for developing countries, given that financing is at the heart of all measures to reduce climate change, whether mitigation, Or adaptation, or losses and damages, or technology transfer, and the Sharm el-Sheikh conference succeeded in launching a path to harmonize broader financial flows towards low-emissions sectors and development plans based on climate resilience.

The fifth main outcome of last year’s Conference of the Parties is the adoption of the principle of implementation of the previous pledges, and their conversion into tangible actions.

Perhaps this result was insisted on even before the start of the (COP27) conference. If the Paris conference in 2015 gave us an agreement on goal 1.5 To a degree, the Katowice and Glasgow conferences gave us the plan to achieve this goal, while the Sharm el-Sheikh conference moved us to the implementation stage.

سيمون ستيل في الجلسة الختامية

The last Conference of the Parties in Sharm El-Sheikh resulted in a decision to establish a fund to compensate for losses and damages. However, the implementation mechanisms for establishing the fund were not specifically clear.

What are the next steps that are expected to be discussed before the (COP28) conference to implement the decision?

Indeed, the decision to establish a fund dedicated to assisting developing countries in responding to economic and non-economic losses and damages related to climate change represented a historic step that was agreed upon at the Conference of the Parties last year in Sharm El-Sheikh, and it was agreed to form a transitional committee responsible for developing and activating new financing arrangements.

of the Loss and Damage Compensation Fund, in preparation for presenting these arrangements to the Conference of the Parties this year in Dubai, for consideration, discussion and approval.

سيمون ستيل

Here, I can say that the Transitional Committee recently approved a proposed action plan, which identifies the basic milestones and the substantive and procedural steps that must be taken, provided that this plan, including its recommendations, is submitted to the Presidency of the Conference of the Parties (COP28), and that the recommendations are presented to All parties to express and approve any observations on them, especially the procedures for new financing arrangements and the Fund’s work mechanisms, and there is still an available opportunity to discuss questions related to gaps in financing structures, and the necessary arrangements to bridge these gaps, during the next few months.

With temperatures continuing to rise year after year, do you think the world is on track to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goals of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees?

As I mentioned earlier, the world is going through a very critical decade for climate action, and the recent synthesis report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that we are not on track to meet the Paris Agreement targets of limiting global warming to less than 2°C over the past Pre-industrial revolution, with continued efforts to avoid a temperature rise of more than 1.5 degrees until the end of the current century.

The report remains hopeful to maintain the goals of the Paris Agreement in implementation, and in order to achieve this, we must work hard to reach rapid and deep reductions in global emissions in all sectors of the global economy, so that global emissions levels reach their maximum rate before 2025 at most.

An estimate, and it must be reduced by 43% before 2030, and here I can say once again that this year’s Conference of the Parties (COP28) could be the right time to correct this path.

Transitioning to a low-carbon economy requires massive investments, ranging from at least $4 to $6 trillion annually. How can the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change push in this direction?

Yes, financing is the lifeblood of all climate measures, which cannot be implemented without the availability of financial resources, starting with the development and transfer of technology, switching to renewable energy sources, establishing resilient infrastructure that is able to withstand and adapt, and addressing the devastating effects of climate change.

However, financing mechanisms It needs major structural reforms, so that we can transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy, including broadening green and climate finance, and reforming multilateral development banks to lend on better terms for climate action projects.

We hope to take more serious decisions on facilitating the lending procedures of multilateral development banks (MDBs) before this year’s COP, and we hope to develop a clear road map, so that their financial capabilities and technical expertise can be harnessed in support of climate action, we need A path to move from multi-billion dollar financing plans to more ambitious multi-trillion dollar plans.

How can the UNFCCC Secretariat assist developing countries in achieving the goals of technology transition and climate finance?

Providing adequate support to developing countries through technology and climate financing will not only boost ambition and accelerate climate action, but it is also a matter of solidarity and trust.

Ultimately, governments also need to honor their financial commitments to keep moving forward.

Funding, to help it benefit from the available technological solutions, and the Convention Secretariat helps in this by promoting dialogue, information exchange, capacity building, financing mobilization, and technology transfer.

Over the past years, the Convention Secretariat has provided support to many countries, to help them overcome obstacles, ranging from decision-making, setting priorities, and providing an appropriate environment to promote climate action, in addition to helping them obtain the necessary financing to achieve their climate goals.

(COP27) A new technology work program has been announced, with the aim of unlocking more potential of new and emerging technologies, to accelerate the transition to systems more compatible with practical scenarios to prevent global warming by more than 1.5°C.

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