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Fast-Track Climate Resilience Building of Small and Vulnerable Nations Ahead of COP28

Climate change finance will continue to be a focal point during the upcoming COP28 negotiations in the UAE. Dr Oldman Koboto, manager and advisor for the Commonwealth Climate Finance Hub, speaks about what’s expected.

Coastal protection at Anse Kerlan Beach in the Seychelles where residents often take the initiative to protect their properties from the impact of climate-change-induced environmental changes. The Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub assists small island states, among others, with climate finance and technical assistance. Credit: Kadir van Lohuizen/NOOR/UNEP

Coastal protection at Anse Kerlan Beach in the Seychelles where residents often take the initiative to protect their properties from the impact of climate-change-induced environmental changes. The Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub assists small island states, among others, with climate finance and technical assistance. Credit: Kadir van Lohuizen/NOOR/UNEP

NAIROBI, Nov 8 2023 (IPS) - As the countdown to COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, continues, IPS caught up with Dr Oldman Koboto, Mauritius-based Manager for the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub (CCFAH).

The hub was established through the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in 2013 to provide technical assistance aimed at enhancing the countries’ access to international climate finance. This is achieved through technical assistance around project proposal development, policy support, human and institutional capacity building, knowledge management, and learning, all of which are anchored on gender and youth mainstreaming.

The hub embeds climate finance experts in individual government ministries to work with and offer technical support. The experts help identify project proposals, provide policy support, and, above all, build the capacity of both technical and institutional capacity in those ministries to develop bankable funding proposals. Since its operationalization in 2016, the hub has supported member countries to access USD 315 million in climate finance. Additionally, projects amounting to over USD 800 million are in the pipeline.

Here are excerpts from the interview.

Dr Oldman Koboto

Dr Oldman Koboto

IPS: What is the nature of climate negotiations thus far?

Koboto: Negotiations are progressing well, in my view, considering the historical background. Negotiations started when climate jurisprudence was still in its infancy. It has since progressed to a point of more certainty around legal systems and transformative approaches to address the climate change convention’s objectives. Negotiations have moved from the actual architect for implementing the convention to innovative approaches toward achieving the 1.5°C Paris Agreement aspiration.

One of the pending issues, especially on finance, is the establishment of the Loss and Damage Fund – to be operationalized through the COP28. The draft outcome document for the Transitional Committee on operationalizing the Loss and Damage Fund showed consensus that could catalyze its operation. That being said, critical gaps still exist.  IPCC cautions that even if we were to implement all the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), we would still not achieve the 1.5°C targets, many of them centered around mitigation actions.

This is an indictment on the international community, through these negotiations, to make progress on adaptation-related issues. And fast-track resilience building and adaptative capacities of small and other vulnerable member states. One of the innovative approaches is leveraging private sector finance for NDCs towards climate mitigation action. But, the design parameters for both adaptation and mitigation projects are such that mitigation actions are attractive to the private sector more than adaptation measures. This creates innovation gaps toward adaptation actions, and yet mitigation initiatives do not build significant resilience. There are, therefore, successes and challenges to these negotiations.

IPS: Have countries voiced concerns regarding these negotiations?

Koboto: Almost all countries raise concerns around the pending areas and celebrate progressive areas. Countries prepare to go into the COPs by developing country positions informed by developments in international negotiations. They then build interventions around points of divergence to be ironed out in upcoming negotiations to inform or shape COP outcomes. This, on its own, is a demonstration of the countries’ concerns around those specific agenda items. It is not about one country speaking about being unhappy, but the process itself, through the established legal frameworks, enables countries to raise their concerns through platforms where such consensus could become part of the formal documentation for the COP process.

IPS: Is Africa better placed for COP28 negotiations, having recently held its inaugural Climate Summit?

Koboto: The inaugural Africa Climate Summit was a step in the right direction. It allowed African countries to paint their own vision and develop a basket of issues to push forward within international negotiations. The Nairobi Summit was consistent with other platforms for engagement on development challenges facing Africa. The message was that Africa is part of the solution and requests to be treated as equals, which is consistent with the messaging at the World Economic Forums and UN General Assembly. The draft outcome of the Loss and Damage Fund Transitional Committee indicates that developed countries’ parties will contribute to the financing of loss and damage and that developing country parties are also encouraged to contribute.

IPS: What sustains the impasse on climate financing between developed and developing countries? What will it take to break the impasse?

Koboto: This is a tough one because it falls at the heart of the principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities of the UNFCCC. Having said that, it is also very difficult to target one country with the capability or capacity to provide support because of foundational principles of state policy, which sets the direction of each country regarding national and international interests. It goes without saying that national interests take precedence over international interests in areas where the two compete.

There is a willingness at the international level for developed countries to help. Meanwhile, the African continent must design innovative financing instruments to facilitate access to climate finance and attract investments to the continent. Such innovative mechanisms can be developed in subsequent African climate summits. The global climate solution lies in Africa, for the continent still has a lot of unexploited potential both in resources and opportunities around geothermal, hydrothermal, and solar energy.

IPS: What are the expectations from small island states and other vulnerable countries on new funding mechanisms and the Loss and Damage Fund going into COP28?

Koboto: The newest funding mechanism is the Loss and Damage Fund. Others are the Global Environment Facility, the Green Climate Fund, and the Adaptation Fund. African countries are unrelenting about the USD100 billion pledge made at COP15. All these funds must trickle down to developing states so that the Loss and Damage Fund becomes just an additional funding to existing funding sources.

African countries are focused on building enough consensus and influencing developed countries to deliver on promises made. Institutions such as the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub, which I lead, stand ready to facilitate African countries’ access to those Funds as soon as there is predictable and adequate funding in those Funds.

CCFAH can provide technical assistance to enhance access to climate investments at a country level and to build capacities to access these funds without the use of third parties. But these countries are unrelenting and are firmly focused on unlocking much-needed climate finance to establish and or accelerate climate action.

IPS UN Bureau Report

 


  
 
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