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COP28 — resource constraints hinder decisive climate action in the developing world

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Barbara Creecy is the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment.

In the face of limited public financial support from developed countries, developing countries are finding it increasingly difficult to develop in a sustainable and climate-resilient manner.

Developing nations have continually called for more public finance support from developed countries to build climate resilience in their countries. Yet the funding targets pledged by developed countries to enable climate action are still not met.

Many developing countries face resource constraints that hinder their ability to take decisive action to mitigate the causes and the impacts of climate change. However, research indicates that the finance available is mainly from the private sector which heavily indebted developing countries cannot afford.

At the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), taking place in Dubai until 12 December 2023, there will be a renewed call for  a scaled-up, predictable public climate finance, and for developed countries to honour their historic pledges to support the climate transitions of developing countries.

The centrepiece for COP28 will be the first Global Stocktake which will inform the next round of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). We already know from the technical report that the world is not yet on track to maintain average temperature increases to 1.5°C above pre-industrial times. 

We also know that developing countries in Africa already experience the devastating impacts of extreme weather events caused by global warming.

We also know the world is not on track to achieve the UN’s 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. In the face of limited public financial support from developed countries, developing countries are finding it increasingly difficult to develop in a sustainable and climate-resilient manner.

Read more in Daily Maverick: COP28 news hub

As the co-facilitator of the consultations on the outcome of the political phase of the Global Stocktake (GST) together with Demark, South Africa is supporting the Emirati COP presidency to help identify areas of convergence and possible landing zones among parties during COP28. Issues under consideration include why historical goals have not been met, and how the outcomes of the GST will shape future climate action.

South Africa welcomes the historic decision of COP28 to operationalise the new fund on Loss and Damage on the first day of the conference.

Push for adaptation

Developing countries attending COP28 will once again argue for the finalisation of the Global Goal on Adaptation, as well as specific and measurable targets and indicators for adaptation. Studies indicate adaptation costs for Africa will be between $259-billion and $407-billion up to 2030, representing an annual average need of between $26-billion and $41-billion.

Once again, the Africa Group has put forward the proposal to include the special needs and circumstances of the continent on the conference agenda. Acknowledging the special circumstances of the African continent would be an important step in upholding the principle of differentiated responsibility, and would recognise the continent’s vulnerability to climate change and the need for mitigation and adaptation support.

COP27 agreed to establish a new work programme on Just Transition pathways and to define the scope and modalities of this work programme at COP28. The Just Transition should enable ambitious climate action by all countries, while making financial flows consistent with the pathway towards low emissions and climate-resilient development.

Read more in Daily Maverick: From hardier goats to flood resilience — how climate finance helps communities adapt to environmental hardship

Our Cabinet recently approved the Just Energy Transition Implementation Plan. This plan will enable South Africa to gradually meet its carbon emission-reduction commitments at a speed and pace our country can afford.

The implementation plan also aims to unlock economic growth, job creation and shared prosperity in new sectors such as renewable energy generation, new energy vehicles and green hydrogen. The plan has a special focus on skills development; creating new forms of industrial production in Mpumalanga; and strengthening the role of municipalities in facilitating green economic development.

With only a 10th of the finance needed for the implementation of this important plan, the South African delegation led by President Cyril Ramaphosa will also use the opportunity on the sidelines of COP28 to advocate for more grant-based funding to support our Just Transition.

South Africa stands ready to play a constructive role for the success of COP28. DM

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  • Bob Kuhn says:

    I trust the climate loonies will factor in the millions of tons of CO and other “climate gases” erupting from the many active volcanoes around the world, whose contribution to the CO level far outstrips mans contributions?

    PS Plants need CO2 to live and produce our staples as an aside so maybe we should simply be planting more trees to offset the “evils of OIL” (and volcanoes) and furthermore what on earth are we going to make …just as an example, most of our clothing from (those warm, comfy puffer jacket the loonies lie down in on the streets as they mess with everybody else’s business) along with almost every consumer item in daily use? Get real.

  • Con Tester says:

    This report-back is highbrow excuse-mongering of a particularly narrow and insidious kind. Developing or not, through their greed, freeloading, lethargy, myopia, incompetence, and general uselessness, SA has been robbed into penury by your colleagues, madam, and your ongoing silence about this status quo constitutes a deep, systematic moral failure to stand up against these doings, which is nothing short of execrable.

    You are treasonous by omission, if not commission, for as long as you keep pretending that the ANC is not a criminal syndicate.

    And it’s “Denmark,” not “Demark.”

    • Geoff Coles says:

      And she is about the best of the ANC Ministers, possibly trying to justify her presence in Dubai for another week….. but she is suspectable to persuasion from her colleagues regarding Karpower ships

  • Ben Harper says:

    We want mo maaaannneeeeeeeee

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