UN Climate Champions for COP27 and COP28:
Climate action in 2023 must witness serious cooperation to achieve transition towards green economy

The results of the world’s first stocktake of efforts to curtail the climate crisis will represent a call for all to intensify cooperation for the success of climate action

HLCs support the implementation of Sharm El Sheikh Adaptation Agenda to withstand the unavoidable impacts of climate change

Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change High Level Champion for Egypt and UN Special Envoy on Financing 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, and Razan Al Mubarak, UN Climate Change High Level Champion for UAE COP28, confirmed that the first global stocktake of the world’s effort to confront climate change, which will be announced at the Dubai conference, there will show the urgent need to enhance climate action to avoid the worst effects of climate change, and to strengthen cooperation to achieve transition towards green economy.

In a joint article published by The Economist Impact, climate champions explained that no one of the actors, whether governments, private sector, philanthropic associations or civil society, can do the task of achieving climate goals individually, especially that the task includes achieving the economic transformation to stop depleting nature by 2030, reaching net zero emissions by 2050, and achieving resilience in the face of the unavoidable impacts of climate change, which all must be achieved along with achieving sustainability and combating poverty.

Mohieldin and Al Mubarak noted the growing commitment in recent years by business, investors, cities, regions and countries, along with the emergence of alliances that mobilize cooperation for climate goals, saying that this momentum must be turned into tangible results.

At the same time, Mohieldin and Al Mubarak warned that the world is still off track to achieve climate goals, and this will become clearer with the United Nations announcement of the results of the first global stocktake before COP28 in Dubai next December.

The two climate champions stated that there is an urgent need for cooperation in three specific areas, namely finance, achieving adaptation and resilience, and nature, pointing out that the HLCs are mobilizing companies, investors, cities and regions to come up with strict commitments related to these three areas and enhance the cooperative race towards the targeted economic transformation.

Mohieldin and Al Mubarak stressed the need to increase financing and make it available to the most vulnerable communities and countries without increasing their debt burden, noting that although the “Finance for Climate Action” report issued by the UK and Egyptian presidencies of COP26 and COP27 and the HLCs confirmed that developing countries and emerging markets will need about $1 trillion a year in external financing by 2030, developed countries have not yet fulfilled their pledge of only $1 billion a year to finance climate action in developing countries.

Mohieldin and Al Mubarak explained that in order to bridge this gap, Egypt, in cooperation with the United Nations regional commissions and the HLCs Team, held regional roundtables last year that brought together financiers, companies, governments and other actors to showcase more than 400 projects that are investable and implementable at a total cost of $566 billion, adding that work is currently underway to link these projects with commercial banks, multilateral development banks, sovereign wealth funds and various institutions, with the aim of financing a good percentage of these projects before the start of COP28 at the end of the year.

Both climate champions confirmed the extreme importance of achieving adaptation and resilience in the face of the climate change unavoidable impacts, in order to ensure survival and prosperity of societies in the face of floods, droughts, hurricanes and other negative effects of climate change. They pointed out that in the past year alone, severe floods in Pakistan, extreme heat in India, droughts in Europe and China, and locust swarms in Africa caused loss of life, economy paralysis and food shortages.

Mohieldin and Al Mubarak said that adaptation efforts vary depending on the extent of impacts in communities and countries. Adaptation efforts must therefore be carried out by affected communities and countries on the ground, backed by international finance, expertise and resources. In this context, they referred to an alliance of governments, multilateral agencies and investment managers in Africa, which delivers $150 million in support to help small farmers restore degraded agricultural land in Africa.

In this regard, the two climate champions pointed out the Sharm el-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda launched during COP27, which set 30 measurable adaptation goals in five influential areas, which are food and agriculture, water and nature, coasts and oceans, human settlements, and infrastructure, adding that the HLCs is currently working to support the implementation of this agenda.

Mohieldin and Al Mubarak stressed that nature regeneration is at the forefront of efforts to reduce emissions and achieve resilience, as neither of these goals will be achieved without taking advantage of nature’s ability to store carbon, produce food and buffer shorelines from rising sea levels, among other ecosystem services.

According to the climate champions, the world has recently recognized the importance of nature regeneration and set targets to work on it in this regard, as last December countries committed to halt the causes of biodiversity loss by 2030 and protect a third of land and oceans, and in March, countries agreed to protect biodiversity in international waters, pointing out that these agreements, like the Paris climate agreement, are maps to illustrate the paths in which the world must take its first steps to begin the actual move towards achieving climate goals.

Mohieldin and Al Mubarak concluded by saying that although the global assessment of efforts to combat climate change will soon clarify the extent to which the international community is far from achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement, and already suffers from the consequences, the issuance of the assessment will represent a moment to think realistically, and a call for everyone to consider the factors of success of climate action and cooperate in intensifying them urgently.