COP27: Accomplishments and shortcomings for Bangladesh
The 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) was driven by three thematic targets this year. First, to identify the countries which lead greenhouse emissions reductions. Secondly, to specify the countries to pay for ending the reliance on fossil fuels and transition to cleaner energy. And finally, to address the question of whether the countries most exposed to the changing climate are owed some form of compensation or reparations. Besides, the Conference was also set to explore issues relating to biodiversity and decarbonisation. The prime focus of the Conference, however, was to address the ways of financing climate change mitigation under article 4 of the Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty of the UN on climate change, and to acquire adaptation policies under article 7 of the Agreement.
Bangladesh, being the seventh most climate-vulnerable country, put special significance on the Conference as it requires funds for climate mitigation and urgent climate actions to sustain its economic growth.
Major takeaways for Bangladesh
Local Adaptation Champions Award
Bangladesh alongside four other countries received the Award where each winner will receive €15,000 in funds. The award was given for the Rangamati Hill District Council initiative. The initiative collaborated with five villages in Juraichari Upazila where the residents were faced with adverse climatic disasters, i.e., droughts, landslides and flash floods. UNDP Bangladesh and Danida supported the community to set up solar power-based safe water supply facilities during the crisis.
Global Shield's financial support
Bangladesh has been named among the first recipients of the support. The Global Shield addresses current weaknesses in the financial protection structure in climate-vulnerable economies with contributions of around 170 million euros from Germany and more than 40 million euros from other countries.
Loss and damage
Keeping global warming at the centre, the Conference was dominated by the arguments of reimbursing the nations which suffered the most climatic damage as the developing countries made strong and repeated appeals for the deal. Experts assert the discussion of loss and damage as the bright spot of COP27 where Bangladesh is one of the countries to reiterate the discussion. However, confusion yet surrounds the details of the agreement as it requires total funding of approximately $2.5 trillion by 2030.
Shortcomings of COP27
Failure in strengthening emission commitments
The COP27 agreement failed in the reduction of net carbon emission and fossil fuel reduction- a key objective to achieve the aspirational goal of limiting the Global temperature increase to 1.5 Degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels before the year 2030 under article 2.1(a) of the Paris Agreement.
Failure to tackle food insecurity
Food systems came up as an agenda unlike the previous COPs but there was significant political resistance to fully adopting a systems approach. Developing food systems and changing agricultural productivity is particularly important for developing countries like Bangladesh as a part of the Adaptation policy. Unfortunately, there was absence in the text of any reference to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's estimate that food systems emit about one-third of the greenhouse gases. Moreover, COP27 focused on the supply-side solutions to tackle food systems avoiding the politically more challenging demand-side issues of ensuring food systems towards sustainability, equitability and resilience.
Inadequate climate finance for developing countries
The developed countries failed to keep the promise to mobilise $100 Billion a year by 2020. The establishment of a loss and damage fund was a huge success but some of the largest emitters including China and India have refused to contribute to the fund. India blocked the inclusion of the term "current high emitters" in the text arguing that historical high emitters are expected to contribute to the funds. China has also pointed out to per capita emissions and restated its status as a developing country to avoid contribution to the fund.
Adaptation was given less priority
Adaptation is the single most important policy for developing countries like Bangladesh with rising sea levels, extreme weather events, changing agricultural productivity and food system challenges. However, at COP27, parties decided to define a framework to measure the goal's achievements and prepare a two-year progress report. The previous call from Glasgow to double adaptation finance was repeated. But the overall progress was muted in the implementation stage.
The writers are students of law, BRAC University and University of Dhaka, respectively.