COP27: The challenges and opportunities for Latin America and the Caribbean
December 5, 2022
Few weeks ago I had the opportunity to participate in the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, COP27. Each COP responds to a cultural, economic, institutional, and geopolitical context. In this case, the objectives of limiting the temperature increase and reaching carbon neutrality by 2050, were raised in a world trying to recover from COVID-19 with high inequality, regressive trends in human development, the conflict in Ukraine and the triple climate crisis of biodiversity loss and pollution.
The COP27 agenda in Egypt specifically incorporated issues related to the asymmetry in the origin and evolution of the impacts of climate change, the losses and damages of the most vulnerable countries, in addition to the urgency to provide answers and finance the recovery.
Financing is essential for the investments demanded by the climate agenda. Within the framework of common but differentiated responsibilities, financing is still awaiting the figures committed by highly developed countries. It is necessary to work on concrete tools for sustainable finances to make it possible for countries, social actors, and productive sectors to achieve progressive milestones.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, home to 46.5 percent of the world's forests and responsible for the production of 8.1 percent greenhouse gas emissions, the strengthening and deepening of financing continues to be a pending issue, despite the growing ambition of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC). As such, innovative instruments such as the debt swap for climate action, green bonds, and other sustainable finance alternative tools are key. Furthermore, regional unity and collaboration to address the climate crisis and promote comprehensive and sustainable development within a just transition framework, is essential (CELAC Declaration, 2022).
Other challenges for a region that is a “biodiversity superpower” but where violence against environmental defenders is a reality, are institutional strengthening and coordination, as well as stakeholder involvement and participation. Consequently, the Escazú Agreement on access to information, citizen participation and access to justice in environmental issues, is especially relevant.
Relevant examples of progress towards climate action in the region include the "National Plan for Adaptation and Mitigation to Climate Change by 2030" by Argentina; the experience of Peru in public-private participatory schemes for the definition of roadmaps towards the energy transition; Paraguay’s Payment for Results and REDD+; as well as the work of youth at the Youth Climate Summit for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Finally, COP27, with its discussions and movements, shows us that the climate crisis requires continued action with a common horizon, as a global, multilateral, inclusive and intergenerational community.