What is the priority at COP 27?

November 10, 2022



The Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP 27) is taking place in Sharm El- Sheikh, Egypt, from 6 to 18 November 2022. Countries from around the world have gathered to discuss the state of the global response to the climate challenge and the next steps to address this existential crisis.

COP 27 is intended to be an important milestone for achieving concrete progress and results. The Conference is also expected to provide a strong momentum on the climate agenda.

To avert the worst effects of climate change, we must limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial baseline and achieve global zero emissions by 2050. However, the window to reach the 1.5 degree Celsius target is shrinking and the world must urgently come together as one. Governments, civil society, cities and regions, the private sector and the financial community must take ambitious but achievable climate action now.

The climate emergency remains one of the defining challenges of our time and, unfortunately, Kazakhstan is no exception. According to forecasts, by 2050 the temperature in the country may rise by 2-3° Celsius, and by the end of the 21st century by 3-6° Celsius. More than 50 percent of the current ice mass is expected to be lost by 2100, and climate-related natural disasters, such as mudflows, floods and droughts, are increasing in frequency and magnitude. This trend is expected to continue in the coming decade.

Climate change is also projected to lead to a dramatic reduction in water resources (up to 22 percent) by 2100, leading to water shortages in all eight of the country's basins. Kazakhstan is a major supplier of wheat, but yields are expected to decline by 13-49 percent by 2050.

These figures are a serious threat to the entire economy and security of the country, which will require not only urgent and comprehensive action at the national level, but also active involvement in international climate efforts.

Negotiations on climate change are extremely complex and difficult because their decisions affect, on the one hand, the survival of mankind, and on the other hand, the right to economic development. In order to support the preparation for the COP 27 Kazakh negotiators, in October 2022, UNDP in Kazakhstan organized a series of trainings, the key message of which was the ever increasing need to move quickly with the full implementation of the Paris Agreement at the national level. It is important to remember that the world has less than 86 months to move towards low-carbon and climate-resilient development and achieve net zero carbon emissions by mid-century.

Today, it is a matter of grave concern that, despite the worsening of climate catastrophes and the overwhelming scientific evidence underscoring the need for immediate and ambitious action, the global response to the climate crisis has been delayed at all levels. COP 27 should renew the momentum, build on the progress made at COP 26 and accelerate action and close gaps in climate change mitigation, adaptation, financing, loss and damage.

When it comes to cutting emissions, it is important to keep the 1.5 degree Celsius target within reach, while recognizing that countries' current commitments are far from a reality. Major issuers must significantly increase their mitigation targets under the Paris Agreement, the so-called Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), ahead of the Global Stocktake. We all remember that countries were encouraged to review and revise their NDCs, in line with the agreement reached at COP 26 in Glasgow.

Given the magnitude and severity of climate shocks, adaptation to climate change is coming to the fore. Developed countries should be clear on how they intend to double adaptation funding to US$40 billion a year, in line with the Glasgow Conference of the Parties, and how support will be provided for the implementation of national adaptation plans.

Some impacts are so devastating that they cannot be adapted, such as droughts that render once productive farms barren, or rising sea levels that permanently flood low-lying areas. These consequences are considered to be "losses and damages". Despite ongoing cataclysms in many countries, losses and damages have received little attention in previous meetings of the parties.

Directly addressing losses and damage sand establishing a mechanism to finance them will be a central success indicator for COP 27 in Egypt. Today, there is a need to reliably achieve the goal of $100 billion a year. Concrete actions are needed to remove barriers and improve access to quality climate finance. In that sense, we note the important role of multilateral development banks and international financial institutions in supporting developing countries in accelerating their transition to renewable energy sources and a climate-resilient future.

Undoubtedly, the global nature of the climate crisis requires international cooperation. The upcoming COP 27 conference is another opportunity to show that countries are resolute and ambitious in taking bold action on climate change as a matter of urgency.