SA welcomes decision to establish climate change fund

The Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy, has welcomed the decision to establish a fund on loss and damage to address the impacts of climate change.

“The key milestone agreed to at COP27 was on financial arrangements to address loss and damage due to climate change. COP27 agreed to set up a fund on loss and damage. It established a Transitional Committee to work on the modalities of this fund, with a view of taking a decision at COP28 in 2023,” Creecy said on Tuesday.

The Minister was addressing a virtual media briefing on the outcomes of the recent United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Sharm el-Sheikh Conference of Parties (COP 27).

“The COP27 outcomes reflect the urgency of the climate crisis, and the need to keep the 1.5-degree (Celsius) temperature target alive during what the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) calls the ‘Critical Decade’, including by providing a clear programme to advance the mitigation agenda from now to 2026.

“This agreement on a four-year work programme consists of at least two global dialogues, and a review at the end of the four years on whether to continue the programme (after 2026),” Creecy said.

The Mitigation Work Programme will cover the IPCC 2006 key emissions sectors and the IPCC WG [Working Group] III report. There will be an annual decision by the Conference of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA) for the four years.

“The agreed text in the all-important Cover Document frames the climate crisis and its solutions in terms of the sustainable development goals and Just Transitions, ‘Leaving no one left behind’, and the need for broader financial sector reform to achieve these.

“The call for multilateral consensus on making financial flows consistent with pathways towards low emissions and climate resilient development could open new investment opportunities in Africa for clean energy investments, critical for addressing energy poverty on the continent,” Creecy said.

She said COP27 emphasised the need for increased momentum to reform the Multilateral Development Banks and International Financial Institutions.

COP27 called on the shareholders of these institutions to take decisive action to scale-up climate finance in 2023 and make their institutional arrangements fit for purpose.

“There was also agreement amongst Parties to accelerate work on reducing vulnerability of societies due to climate change impacts. While we must acknowledge that from our national perspective, we did not see the advancement on actually operationalising the Global Goal on Adaptation we had been hoping for. In particular, South Africa had called for a target to increase the resilience of global population by 50% in 2030.

“We had also called for COP27 to establish a framework for the Global Goal on Adaptation, which contained high level indicators and targets to galvanise collective global action and support.

“Instead, the outcome focused more on workshops to build understanding in critical sectors such as health, poverty and livelihoods; terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems; oceans and coasts; water resource management; food; cities and settlements; cultural heritage and mountain regions, and biodiversity,” the Minister said.

South Africa will engage in these discussions with a view of setting up concrete targets and indicators that can help track progress on reducing vulnerability of the population.

“The Presidency’s package on finance, in the context of the failure of developed countries to meet the USD 100 billion goal by 2020, provides incremental progress on moving forward to the establishment of the new collective goal in 2025, but falls short of action to meet developed countries obligations.

“COP27 has provided the momentum to reform the Multilateral Development Banks and International Financial institutions, and we expected the shareholders of these institutions to take decisive action to scale up climate finance in 2023 and make their institutions fit for purpose,” Creecy said.

COP27 also marked the fifth South African Pavilion (partnership between the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment and National Business Initiative), which showcased the collaboration between government and business in the fight against climate change.

The South Africa Pavilion provided an excellent platform for business and government to showcase South Africa’s efforts towards co-creating and implementing a Just Transition to net zero emissions by 2050. More than 50 events were hosted at the Pavilion during COP27.