Top Stories From Week 1 at #COP27
Negotiators are uneasy about the challenge ahead and unsure of whether the political will exists to secure breakthroughs as a result of the slow progress made in Week 1 negotiations and the fact that many issues must wait until Week 2 with heavy workloads if political differences are to be resolved. Limiting global warming to 1.5C, tripling adaptation funding, and aligning financial flows with the Paris Agreement (Article 2.1.C) are just a few of the topics that were not on the mandated agenda but were brought up by supporters throughout the week in various negotiating rooms.
A sense of urgency pervaded the Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Change Conference’s opening remarks as numerous speakers emphasised the catastrophic effects of climate change that became apparent this year. During the opening ceremony, speeches underlined the urgent messages from climate science, highlighted the current geopolitical issues and their impacts on the energy and food systems, and emphasised the importance of putting implementation first. Afternoon casual consultations were held under several bodies’ auspices while all bodies started their substantive work. Additionally, a joint opening plenary was held to hear speeches from parties and observers.
The Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Change Conference’s second day saw the arrival of heads of state and government, together with their entourages. Leaders hoped to indicate continued momentum for climate action by being present. Parallel to this, intergovernmental negotiations accelerated. Some agenda topics, such as those concerning cooperation strategies under the Paris Agreement (Article 6.2), attracted large numbers that they filled the room to capacity.
Delegates rushed from room to room on the third busy day of the Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Change Conference, attempting to keep up with back-to-back negotiating sessions on a variety of themes, from financing to adaptation to loss and damage. In the High-Level Segment, world leaders simultaneously called for more aggressive climate action. Some of them even participated in discussions about the financing options for loss and damage.
Finance was the main topic of discussion on day four of the Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Change Conference. Ministers reviewed expectations for the new collective quantified aim on climate financing during a number of side events, and negotiators progressed work on providing direction to climate funds.
Since the majority of heads of state and government had returned home via plane, civil society conducted its own events. At the venue’s entrance, vegan diet activists welcomed attendees, and others bordered the entry to the plenary calling for climate justice.
The fifth day of the Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Change Conference was jam-packed with complex technical discussions. The daylong and late-night meetings of negotiators covered topics such as scaling up mitigation ambition and implementation, cooperative implementation under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, and numerous finance-related challenges.
The Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Change Conference’s first week is about to come to a close. The need to wrap up discussion of the items sent to the closing plenaries of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI), slated for Saturday, November 12, was emphasised by co-facilitators in numerous negotiation rooms.
On a few topics, draught conclusions are prepared for the Subsidiary Bodies (SBs) to review. If necessary, the SBs will then submit the draught decisions to the governing bodies of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol, and the Paris Agreement for adoption at the conclusion of the second conference week. Many agenda items pertaining to reporting and review under the Convention and the Paris Agreement are among the issues that were resolved.
It always seems unusual at the end of the first week at UN climate change conferences. It is just another day for negotiators working on finance and other issues that are governed by the Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Agreement, and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). They spend the day in back-to-back informal consultations, exchanging ideas on their various agenda items, and knowing they have another week to come to a consensus.
But for many others, this day represents a deadline because texts for the final plenaries of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation must be ready. No exception was made at the Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Change Conference, where delegates made desperate attempts to resolve disagreements in a number of conference rooms. Throughout the day, civil society organisations held actions to remind delegates of their obligations, and a climate march passed through the UNFCCC Blue Zone.
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