Sunday, 8 August 2021

It’s time to Shut down the Money Pipeline, Once and for all...RIP HUMANS!

 Opening the meeting on Monday, 31 May, COP 25 President Carolina Schmidt (Chile), urged parties to maximize progress at this session, calling for “new levels of solidarity and commitment.” She highlighted transparency, markets, adaptation, and finance among the issues requiring work. Incoming COP 26 President, Alok Sharma (UK), underscoring that “the world is watching us,” encouraged parties to use this session to produce draft text for finalization and adoption at COP 26.

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa said while this year has witnessed some momentum, the climate emergency is still worsening, current plans are not in line with Paris goals, and negotiations are behind schedule. She called for leadership and trust, and stressed finance as a moral and economic imperative.

The outcomes of the Glasgow negotiations — including public and private sector commitments — will go a long way to determining our ability to combat the climate crisis.

Even as financial institutions (banks, insurance companies, asset managers, and pension funds) make pledges for their own emissions, they keep providing the financial infrastructure to corporations expanding the fossil fuel industry and deforesting the Amazon. It’s too late to plead ignorance of the climate crisis. It’s time to shut down the money pipeline, once and for all.

In the past twelve months, many financial institutions ― from banks to insurance companies; asset managers to pension funds ― have made new climate commitments, such as “net-zero” emissions by 2050. Yet, at the same time they are providing loans, insurance and billions in investment capital, to corporations expanding the fossil fuel industry and deforesting the Amazon and other tropical forests ― companies that are guilty of human rights abuses and violations of Indigenous sovereignty.

Major new fossil fuel projects, such as Line 3, the TransMountain pipeline, the Formosa plastics plant, and major deforestation projects, could not get off the ground without the support of the financial sector and the US government.

So we’re calling on all financial institutions & the US government to end their support for companies engaged in climate destruction and human rights abuses by the start of the Glasgow Climate Talks.

Investing in any GEF focal area provides support for the others, while underinvestment in one focal area puts the others at risk. 

These projects will contribute to efforts to address interlinked challenges laid out by Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chairperson of the GEF, in his opening remarks to the 60th GEF Council meeting: climate change, biodiversity and wildlife habitat loss, land degradation, ocean pollution and depletion, and dangerous chemicals.

During a dialogue with the GEF Council, the themes of collaboration and the need for synergistic action were raised by the five Executive Secretaries from the conventions for which the GEF serves as a financial mechanism. 

Patricia Espinosa, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, highlighted that the GEF’s original mandate to serve the Convention and the Paris Agreement is now more crucial than ever, as we aim for enhanced global climate ambition in both mitigation and adaptation efforts. 

Ibrahim Thiaw, UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Secretary, said land is an integrator for many of the GEF’s focal areas, and suggested making investments in early warning systems. He stated that the synergies agenda should be the “new normal” in GEF-8 replenishment programming. 

Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Executive Secretary, said key aspects of the zero draft of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework are relevant to the GEF, including calls for ensuring the participation of all stakeholders, and outreach and awareness-raising to ensure the uptake of the new biodiversity framework. 

Rolph Payet, Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions, discussed the interlinkages among chemicals management, biodiversity, and climate change.

Monika Stankiewicz, Executive Secretary of the Minamata Convention, highlighted that investing in any GEF focal area provides support for other focal areas, while underinvestment in one focal area puts other focal areas at risk. 

The Executive Secretaries also discussed planning for the next meetings of their respective COPs. The CBD is expected to convene COP 15 in Kunming, China, in October 2021. The UNFCCC is expected to convene COP 26 in Glasgow, UK, in November 2021. The UNCCD postponed its COP 15 from late 2021 to the first half of 2022, and expects to announce the date and venue soon. Both the combined meetings of the COPs to the BRS Conventions and the fourth meeting of the COP to the Minamata Convention will convene virtually in 2021, followed by in-person events in 2022.

The Council’s adoption of a decision regarding a long-term vision on complementarity, coherence, and collaboration between the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the GEF was also highlighted as an important opportunity for collaboration and building synergies.

In addition to the decisions on the Work Program and collaboration with the GCF, the Council agreed to take action on recommendations included in several evaluation reports conducted by the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) of the GEF. The Council was also updated on the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel’s (STAP) recent work, its evaluation of the GEF Work Program and programming proposals for the GEF-8 replenishment, and the STAP’s plans for the coming months.  

The GEF Council meeting took place online from 14-18 June 2021. The next meeting of the Council will take place in December 2021. [ENB summary of 60th meeting of the GEF Council][ENB summary video of 60th meeting of the GEF Council]

This August 2020 update of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework draft has reworded targets and updated language, based on seven months of extensive consultations and input from around the world.

The updated zero draft of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework takes into account the outcomes of the second meeting of the Open-ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity, which took place in February 2020, as well as the submissions received since.This draft will be further updated to take into account the outcomes of the twenty-fourth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice and the third meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation as well as the advice from thematic consultations and issued as Draft One, six weeks prior to the third meeting of the Working Group.

Theory of Change of the Framework

The post-2020 global biodiversity framework builds on the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and sets out an ambitious plan to implement broad-based action to bring about a transformation in society’s relationship with biodiversity and to ensure that, by 2050, the shared vision of living in harmony with nature is fulfilled. The framework aims to galvanize urgent and transformative action by governments and all of society, including indigenous peoples and local communities, civil society and businesses, to achieve the outcomes it sets out in its vision, mission, goals and targets, and thereby contribute to the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity and other biodiversity related multilateral agreements, processes and instruments.

The framework’s theory of change assumes that transformative actions are taken to: 

         (a) put in place tools and solutions for implementation and mainstreaming,

         (b) reduce the threats to biodiversity, and

         (c) ensure that biodiversity is used sustainably in order to meet people’s needs and that these actions are supported by

                  (i) enabling conditions, and

                  (ii) adequate means of implementation, including financial resources, capacity and technology.


Under Article 6.8, a developing country group called for a global lifecycle approach to avoid decommissioned technology being resold to developing countries. A developed country put forward a proposal regarding human rights and Indigenous Peoples’ rights, which would: request the Article 6 Supervisory Body to review existing tools; ask the Supervisory Body to support the response measures forum and any constituted body upon request within its mandate; and have countries report on safeguards in the initial reports.

Many supported a technical paper from the Secretariat that assesses how the various options under discussion may affect environmental integrity and global emissions. The concern cited was that some of the options put forward may weaken climate ambition, but it is not known if that is the case or by how much.

The SBSTA Chair prepared a summary of these discussions.

Subsidiary Body for Implementation

Mandated Event on Long-term Finance: This workshop, which took place on Monday, 7 June, was co-facilitated by Zaheer Fakir (South Africa) and Georg Børsting (Norway). Co-Facilitator Børsting explained this is the second half of the workshop, continued from the November Climate Dialogues, and is intended to deepen understanding of the effectiveness of climate finance and the provision of financial and technical support to developing countries for their adaptation and mitigation actions. Co-Facilitator Fakir summarized the outcomes of the first part, including that net climate finance may be less than half what was reported when adjusting for grant equivalence.

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa expressed her frustration that the USD 100 billion commitment remains unfilled. She noted that the commitment is ten years old and enabled the adoption of the Paris Agreement. Julio Cordano, COP 25 Presidency, underscored the importance of delivering on finance for the credibility of the process.

Participants split into breakout groups to discuss three questions. On lessons learned, groups highlighted the need for a clear definition of climate finance and to distinguish climate finance from official development assistance. They observed little private finance. They noted the increased use of loans, which worsen indebtedness and, therefore, are unattractive to policymakers. The role of multilateral development banks was highlighted, with groups citing “top-down” policy conditions and the importance of enabling environments.

On aligning financial support with the needs of developing countries, groups drew attention to NDCs and national adaptation plans (NAPs) that signal developing country needs. Barriers to accessing funding were raised, such as lengthy and detailed application procedures.

On the LEG’s mandate, several parties highlighted LDCs’ needs related to implementing the Paris Agreement. Several groups and parties supported work on cross-cutting areas such as data and monitoring, gender, youth, social inclusion, and private sector engagement. Some requested further clarification on the envisaged format for this thematic work. Regarding facilitating access to funding, a developing country group highlighted that the LEG could act as an incubator for LDC proposals to the GCF and engage with other entities beyond Financial Mechanism of the Convention. Several developed countries pointed to the LEG’s focus on technical advice, noting other entities would be better suited to support project implementation, and underscoring the role of the Standing Committee on Finance.

Several developed countries supported requesting the LEG to make further progress on enhancing transparency, including through the timely publication of meeting documents. 

Building on the last session of informal consultations, the Co-Facilitators issued a revised informal note.

National Adaptation Plans: Parties met three times on this item, co-facilitated by Jens Fugl (Denmark) and Pepetua Latasi (Vanuatu). On Saturday, 5 June, Co-Facilitator Fugl outlined the dual mandate of this agenda item: to discuss the reports of the Adaptation Committee and the LEG, including in relation to gaps and needs in the formulation and implementation of NAPs; and to discuss actions and steps necessary to assess, before 2025, progress on implementing NAPs, as per Decision 8/CP.24.

Countries recognized the links between NAPs, NDCs, adaptation communications, and the Global Stocktake, with developing countries supporting the LEG report’s recommendation to develop a conceptual map of these linkages. Several developing country groups called for support for NAP implementation, not only for formulation, with several developed countries saying a core principle should be a focus on delivering adaptation benefits. Developing countries raised several needs and gaps, such as delayed disbursement of funding, streamlining and standardizing processes and applications for support, and finding suitable delivery partners. Several developing countries recommended more coordination between the Adaptation Committee and the LEG on gender and finance. Several highlighted the value of lessons learned from mechanisms such as the NAP Expo, which, one developing country group noted, is in the supplementary budget for the UNFCCC.

On Tuesday, 15 June, the Co-Facilitators presented draft elements to be captured in an informal note. Delegates raised additional matters for inclusion, such as specific funding for the implementation of NAPs, integration of gender and social inclusion throughout the NAP process, capacity building for the development of project proposals, and linkages with other national instruments, such as adaptation communications, as well as the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. Several developed country parties noted that some issues captured in the draft elements were beyond the scope of the NAP agenda, proposing to omit these items from the note. These related to, among others: establishing an agenda item on adaptation, under which to discuss adaptation issues integrally, and mandating the preparation of a joint SBI-SBSTA technical paper to discuss the relationship between adaptation and the framework for non-market approaches under Article 6.8. On the next assessment of progress, some suggested that it take place in May-June 2024, and that parties take the procedures used for the previous assessment carried out in 2018 as a starting point.

An informal note was forwarded to the SBI Chair.

Alignment between processes pertaining to the review of the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) and the periodic assessment of the Technology Mechanism: Informal consultations under this item were co-facilitated by Elfriede-Anna More (Austria) and Stella Gama (Malawi). Delegates’ discussions were informed by a note prepared by the Secretariat on possible options, and their implications, for aligning the independent review of the CTCN and the periodic assessment of the Technology Mechanism. 

From the outset and throughout the informal consultations, there was broad support for the option of maintaining stand-alone processes but aligning the periodicity of both processes. This would require the COP, as the governing body of the CTCN, to adopt a decision on extending the CTCN’s review cycle from four to five years. Delegates emphasized that this would ensure efficiency gains in the near term, and several underscored the importance of maintaining the independence of the CTCN review.

Supporting this option in the near term, one party noted the third option identified in the note, namely conducting the CTCN review as a component of the periodic assessment of the Technology Mechanism, should inform discussions on longer-term alignment. Some noted the possibility of addressing this in conjunction with the COP’s review of the CTCN’s functions, noting the CTCN’s current mandate runs until 2026. Several groups stated that efficiency gains from this form of alignment would only materialize in 2031, with the third periodic assessment. Some also said parties to the Convention that are not parties to the Paris Agreement would not retain the same level of governance over the functioning of the CTCN review should it be conducted as a component of the periodic assessment under the CMA. A developing country noted no periodic assessment has been conducted so far and that the first assessment will inform discussions on how to optimize the alignment of both processes in the future. 

Delegates reflected on the implications of extending the CTCN review cycle, notably in relation to the CTCN’s hosting agreement with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). UNEP expressed its willingness to continue hosting the CTCN and noted its view that all options for alignment are feasible, albeit bearing differing levels of complexity.

A developing country group called for further reflection on possible alignment beyond timing, noting commonalities between both processes. Delegates reflected on whether the CTCN review has sufficient scope to effectively feed into the assessment of the Technology Mechanism. Discussions related to, among others, the possibility of providing guidance for the CTCN review so that it provides better input to the periodic review, and coordinating stakeholder interviews. One delegation supported reflecting on substantive alignment to avoid overlaps and enhance complementarity, but cautioned against micromanaging the CTCN review, underscoring its independence. 

A question was raised on whether the periodic assessment will be performed in-house by the Secretariat or contracted out to consultants. Some welcomed efficiency gains should the same consultants perform both the CTCN review and the periodic assessment, while others cautioned on the importance of maintaining the independence of the CTCN review. The Secretariat recalled that no periodic assessment has been conducted so far.

The Secretariat clarified that having future CTCN reviews conducted as a component of the periodic assessment would require decisions by both the COP and the CMA. She highlighted that any decision emerging from discussions under this agenda item would supersede previous decisions, for example related to the periodicity of the CTCN review, clarifying that previous decisions do not need to be “revisited.” 

A revised informal note was forwarded to the SBI Chair.

Review of the Adaptation Fund: Informal consultations under this item aimed for delegates to exchange views on the process to initiate the fourth review of the Adaptation Fund (AF). They were co-facilitated by Claudia Keller (Germany) and David Kaluba (Zambia).

In opening remarks on Thursday, 3 June, SBI Chair Karlsen pointed to an informal note she had prepared on this item, which includes the terms of reference (ToR) for the third AF review and submissions by parties and observers. Discussions focused on the suitability of the ToR from the last review to serve as a basis for the fourth, which found general agreement from the outset. Disagreement related to some possible references to the CMA. Many developing and developed countries noted the review should reflect the fact that the AF now also serves the Paris Agreement. Other developing country groups underscored that the Fund remains under the authority of and accountable to the CMP, with one country underscoring the CMA has no policy oversight and that the review’s purpose is to assess how the AF serves developing countries’ needs, not the Kyoto Protocol or the Paris Agreement. One developing country group noted that while the review is to be launched by the CMP, parties to the CMA that are not parties to the CMP could also be invited to provide submissions.

Two developed countries called for addressing the AF’s governance structure and institutional arrangements in the review.

Developing countries noted that the scale of adaptation finance should be viewed in relation to adaptation needs, with one group calling for ensuring sufficient funding until the Article 6.4 mechanism becomes operational. Several developed countries highlighted that the review is backward-looking and cautioned against overburdening its scope. One developed country noted that the adequacy of finance flows would be better considered by the AC than this review. 

Many delegations called for maintaining the original timeline and concluding the review at COP 26.

On Tuesday, 8 June, delegates exchanged views on an informal note prepared by the Co-Facilitators. Discussions centered on the ToR of the review. Parties considered the ToR from the third review to be a good basis to discuss those for the fourth review.

Recurrent points of divergence resurfaced. Developing countries noted that the AF will only start exclusively serving the Paris Agreement once a share of proceeds from Article 6 becomes available, and underscored that issues related to board composition are to be addressed under the respective agenda item. Many groups and parties highlighted that the AF has been serving the Paris Agreement since 2019 and that the review should provide relevant information to both the CMP and the CMA, and that both should be able to take decisions informed by the review.

A developing country group noted that the review should provide information on the AF’s contribution to the Paris Agreement’s Article 9 (finance) and the global goal on adaptation. Another developing country group noted that neither Article 6 nor the global goal on adaptation are operationalized.

A developed country called for looking into lessons learned from the direct access modality and the innovation facility, and, as a rationale for addressing governance issues and the legal transition from the Kyoto Protocol to the Paris Agreement in the review, noted these have an impact on the Fund’s performance. Another developed country supported the relevance of the governance issue, underscoring the need to avoid discussions on board composition.

There was strong support for concluding the review as soon as possible, although the timeline is contingent upon the formal adoption of the ToR.

A second question is if this COP matters? What if the COP cannot convene in 2021? Does that doom the climate? The ambition of NDCs is outside the control of the multilateral process. The agenda items left under consideration are largely technical. The scale of demand for Article 6 credits is unclear, and a weak rulebook would pose risks to the planet and human rights. Common time frames can speed up ambition, but the constraint will always be parties’ political will as expressed in their NDCs. Developed countries have shown that multilateral pressure to meet their 10-year-old finance promise doesn’t hold sufficient sway.

But to ask this question may be overly cynical. At the SBs, delegates seemed convinced that ambitious decisions on common time frames, transparency, Article 6, and finance, among other issues, would help unlock more ambitious NDCs. The Glasgow COP is an opportunity to hold countries—individually and collectively—to account for their failure to meet their promises. In addition, COPs have become spaces for global actors to pledge action, from cities to corporations and beyond. Perhaps a pared-back COP, focusing on technical issues, is possible.

The final question is what the ultimate package will look like. Unknowable at present, this will no doubt be hammered out in the final hours of COP 26. Delegates will first have to bring all technical issues to maturity. And, very likely, developed countries will have to bring meaningful financial pledges for a political bargain to be struck. For this, it will be essential for the Presidency to deliver on its promise, as stated by UK chief negotiator Archie Young at the closing plenary, to “leave no issue and no country behind.”

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