As the Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Conference (COP 27) entered its final stretch, the long list of outstanding issues started to shorten. Some decisions were “cleared” and readied for adoption. But, the most contentious remained, including those already handed to ministers.
Long-awaited updates on high-profile issues, such as loss and damage finance, the mitigation work programme, and the global goal on adaptation, came in a late-evening stocktaking plenary by the COP President. The ministers working on these, and other, issues reported mixed progress. Each identified outstanding issues where they were working to identify options that could, they hoped, be quickly bridged. COP President Shoukry called on parties to engage in a spirit of compromise and be cognizant that “our work here impacts lives.”
An early version of the overarching cover decisions emerged, in the form an unwieldy, 20-page compilation of parties’ views, and was considerably longer than many had expected, based on the previous version, which had been a mere set of bullet points. Such cover decisions attempt to encapsulate progress made and major decisions reached at a COP and indicate a direction of travel by highlighting key political messages. Significant differences were evident in the Head of Delegation consultations on what different countries see as important elements to include and highlight. Convening through the afternoon, countries added more ideas and topics to the list, while also indicating their “red lines.” Many waited with growing impatience for fully-fleshed out draft text, which the Presidency is expected to publish on Friday, 18 November.
The frustration of small island states, least developed countries and Latin American nations was clear in an “emergency press conference” they called. Speakers called for a new fund—or facility—for loss and damage as a “minimum” outcome from this meeting. Anything less, they said, and COP 27 will have failed to deliver climate justice.
More positive energy and passion were apparent at the Peoples’ Plenary, where representatives of Indigenous Peoples, environmental groups, children and youth, women and gender, and persons with disabilities expressed solidarity with one another and support for the Peoples’ Declaration on Climate Justice. Songs and chants recognizing the suffering caused by climate change reverberated throughout the building as the large crowd filed out, chanting, “The people united will never be defeated!”
The closing plenaries got under way to gavel through the decisions that were ready for adoption. These included outcomes on capacity building, report of the Technology Mechanism, Action on Climate Empowerment (ACE), reports of the Paris Agreement and Kyoto Protocol compliance committees, and organizational and financial matters.
Negotiations yielded some progress by clearing decisions for adoption. Consultations on the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) ended successfully, with delegates highlighting the key areas where technical work will help decide the details of how to transition from the CDM to the new market mechanism under the Paris Agreement.
Negotiations remain ongoing on the overarching cover decisions and more, including:
- Global Goal on Adaptation;
- Loss and damage finance;
- Work programme for urgently scaling up mitigation ambition and implementation;
- Article 6 (cooperative implementation);
- Finance, including the new collective quantified goal on climate finance; and
- Response measures.