From November 6 to 18, the global climate negotiations COP27 (27th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties) will be held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. During two weeks, representatives of more than 190 countries of the world will once again try to agree on unresolved or postponed issues related to the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the fight against climate change. This year’s meeting has an African mandate; therefore, much of the discussion is expected to centre around the issues of adaptation to the effects of climate change, impacts on food security and climate finance. In this publication, we try to explain what these negotiations are, why they are important, and what Ukraine should expect from them.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Conference of the Parties is an annual event where UN member states agree on their response to climate change. The context of the negotiations is shaped by the goal of the Paris Agreement, which was adopted in 2015: to keep the global warming within 1.5 degrees by 2100. The result of all negotiations boils down to different ways to answer two questions: 1) What measures should be taken in view of climate change, and who should be taking them? 2) Who should pay for them, to whom, and how much? This year’s COP27 is taking place in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, from November 6 to 18, 2022.
UNFCCC — the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
COP (Conference of the Parties) — the conference of the parties to the UNFCCC; with the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, it is held simultaneously with their respective conferences.
CMA — Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement.
CMP — Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol.
IPCC — Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This is the world’s largest association of scientists engaged in climate change research. It includes representatives of all countries. The group drafts reports which should serve as the basis for political decisions.
GHGs — greenhouse gases.
NDC — nationally determined contribution; voluntary emission reduction targets that countries commit to under the Paris Agreement. Now, there are NDC2 — updated nationally determined contributions.
OECD — Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
IRENA — International Renewable Energy Agency.
GAP — Gender Action Plan, a summary of all actions taken by the UNFCCC for greater gender equality in the process of climate conferences.
IEA — International Energy Agency.
The Glasgow Climate Pact — an agreement resulting from COP26 which, for the first time in the process of climate conferences, provides for a significant reduction in the use of coal.
CAN (Climate Action Network) is a global network of more than 1,300 environmental non-governmental organizations in more than 130 countries working to promote public and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to an environmentally sustainable level.
COP27 takes place in the context of unprecedented global instability, reinforced by increasingly severe natural disasters. The host continent, Africa, stipulates the focus of negotiations on compensation for damage, adaptation of the most vulnerable countries and the search for financing to this end. According to the Egyptian-appointed negotiations president, one of the goals is the transition from agreements to concrete actions. Unlike CPR26, this conference does not aim to make one specific decision, but rather to identify specific plans and actions to implement past decisions. Each day of the conference is dedicated to a specific topic: funding, science, youth and future generations, decarbonization, adaptation and agriculture, gender, water, civil society, energy, biodiversity, climate solutions.
The war in Ukraine will complicate climate diplomacy: China is the 1st and Russia the 4th among the countries with the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions. During the interim negotiations, a number of countries in their opening speeches condemned the Russian invasion and left the room during the speech of the Russian representative in protest.
For Ukraine, these negotiations are an opportunity to improve cooperation and relations with African countries regarding food security, loss and damage, and to engage financial and other support for post-war reconstruction that would bring the goals of the Paris Agreement closer. For the first time, Ukraine will have its own pavilion at the COP. It is set to host over 20 events.
‘The approved texts are a compromise.’ They reflect the interests, the conditions, the contradictions, and the state of political will in the world today. They take important steps, but unfortunately the collective political will was not enough to overcome some deep contradictions.”
UN Secretary General António Guterres
The Glasgow Pact set a target of 45% lower emissions in 2030 than in 2010 and called on countries to file more ambitious targets (NDCs) ahead of COP27. Scientific evidence has long indicated this need, so references to IPCC reports in negotiation decisions, as was the case in the final document following the Glasgow event, will encourage countries to take them into account in domestic policies as well. Countries’ current goals remain insufficient (Fig.1) to achieve the aforementioned goal of reducing emissions.
Challenging, but still achievable, the decision made in Glasgow was to phase out coal-fired electricity and end fossil fuel subsidies, the two key issues that had never been explicitly mentioned in the conference decisions. The draft resolution referred to ‘the phasing out of coal,’ but certain countries insisted on narrowing the wording to ‘reduction.’ This is partially offset by the creation of the Powering Past Coal Alliance (PPCA) in Glasgow, an association of countries that refuse to use coal in electricity generation. Ukraine joined it with a promise to give up coal by 2035. Egypt did not join either this or any other voluntary associations formed at СОР26.
The Paris Rulebook was completed, and the main terms of emissions trading under Article 6 were also fixed. COP27 will continue working on technical details, and the development of new carbon markets should be expected in the coming years.
Developing countries and the public have condemned the lack of progress on accelerated assistance from developed countries to combat losses resulting from climate change. Although the Glasgow Climate Pact recognized the need to compensate for this loss and damage, the conference did not propose any action.
A number of sectoral announcements were made at СОР26.
- Forests 137 countries committed to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030.
- Methane. 103 countries signed up to the Global Methane Pledge, which aims to limit methane emissions by 30 per cent by 2030, compared to 2020 levels. Ukraine also joined this initiative.
- Decarbonization of motor vehicles. More than 30 countries of the world will stop selling vehicles with internal combustion engines by 2040.
- Coal. South Africa will receive $8.5 billion over the next 3 to 5 years to phase out coal. This was discussed in Ukraine as an example that can also be extended to fair transformation programs.
- Private finance. Private financial institutions and central banks announced moves to realign trillions of dollars towards achieving global net-zero emissions. Among them is the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), with over 450 firms across 45 countries that control $130 trillion in assets.
In addition to the conference commitments, СОР27 is meant to assess the progress and first steps under these initiatives. More information about the outcomes of СОР26 can be found from the publication based on last year’s conference.
- At least 3.3 billion people (40% of the world’s population) are ‘highly vulnerable to climate change,’ with the worst impact affecting developing countries.
- The current NDCs are insufficient to keep the global warming within 1.5 degrees by the end of the century. If the targets are not revised, warming will constitute 3.2 degrees by 2100.
The Mitigation of Climate Change report focuses on the required technologies, economic and behavioural changes. The cost of these measures to keep the warming within 2 degrees is less than the damage from exceeding this limit. The reports were drafted with input from Ukrainian scientists Mykola Shlapak and Svitlana Krakovska.
IPCC does not create new scientific knowledge, but rather summarizes the research of tens of thousands of scientists from across the globe instead. But only the IPCC is a scientific body of the UN, which makes it much more difficult for politicians to ignore or deny information from these reports. With each report, more and more known scientific facts about the climate receive recognition within the framework of the UNFCCC, which forces individual countries to listen to these findings. The assessment of countries’ current targets as inconsistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement should stimulate the COP27 to speed up the update and make the targets more ambitious.
IPCC will participate in a number of events at COP27, where assessments of adaptation needs and gender aspects of climate change will be presented at meetings of the negotiating parties. November 10 will be Science Day at COP27, where the implications of the IPCC report’s findings for Africa will be discussed.
At COP26, the Group of 77 (G77 unites developing countries) and China proposed to create the L&D Finance Facility (LDFF). It should compensate for the damage to developing countries. However, COP26 did not reach the desired decision, because developed countries blocked the creation of the mechanism. Instead, the three-year ‘Glasgow Dialogues’ were launched, taking place in the summer between conferences and set to run until June 2024.
At the first session of the dialogues in June 2022, several developed countries pointed out that the decision on financing could not be postponed until 2024. Developed countries (particularly the USA) do not wish to create a new L&D tool, urging to focus on engaging funds for existing tools. In particular, these are the Green Climate Fund (GCF), although it does not provide funds for loss and damage in its current form, the Global Shield, InsuResilience and the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR). At the same time, developing countries believe that these resources are not enough, and the process of receiving aid is complicated. This is supported by the findings of the IPCC report, which says the existing mechanisms are insufficient to fully cover loss and damage.
Developed countries do not fulfil their promises on funding; therefore, in early October 2022, Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) and Vulnerable 20 (V20) launched the social campaign ‘Payment Overdue’ to publicly pressure developed countries into fulfilling their commitments ahead of COP27. The 55 countries most affected by the effects of climate change have lost more than 500 billion US dollars, and their GDP will decrease by 19% by 2050 and by 64% by 2100 (with warming of 2.9 degrees).
Many experts note the importance of the loss and damage subject at COP27. More than 400 non-governmental organizations demand that governments include the discussion of the compensation mechanism for L&D in the COP27 agenda. Negotiations on this point continued in September, and in October, G77 and China made the respective proposal which the parties can approve while approving the agenda.
The presidential vision of Egypt includes ‘finding a balanced solution to the funding problem’ in the context of L&D. That is, many stakeholders expect COP27 to achieve progress in formalizing the funding mechanisms. Previously, the V20 supported the G7 Global Shield initiative to coordinate (between the G7, the V20 and other countries vulnerable to climate change) financing and insurance against natural disaster risks, which is set to be launched during COP27. However, insurance or loans shift the financial burden to vulnerable countries that are already suffering losses. Therefore, they require funding tools in the form of grants.
COP27 is also expected to provide clarity on the Santiago Network (SN), which was established in 2019 to assess needs and facilitate the provision of technical assistance for L&D. The negotiators have to decide on the structure of the network, the mandate of the secretariat, the criteria, and the selection process of the recipients of aid.
Ukraine does not plan to provide or receive assistance for L&D from the consequences of climate change. For us, the topic of financial assessment and compensation of environmental loss and damage is relevant in the context of the war. Our delegation can use the topic of loss and damage to develop diplomacy with African countries and gain international support for the process of collecting financial compensation from Russia. Ukraine also plans to share its damage assessment experience and present the ‘Global Platform for Assessing Environmental Damages Due to War’ at the November 14 event, which is scheduled in the Ukrainian pavilion.
Developed countries bear historical responsibility for climate change and back in 2009 committed to achieving an annual engagement of USD 100 billion by 2020 for measures to reduce emissions and help with adaptation in developing countries. According to the OECD report, in 2020, developed countries engaged USD 83.3 billion of such funding. This is 3.5% more than in 2019, but still 16.7 billion short of the target.
The decisions of COP26 confirmed the commitment of developed countries to fulfil the common goal of 100 billion US dollars and to double adaptation funding for developing countries. The topic of climate finance at COP27 will cover the issue of solving the problem of unacceptable levels of debt in developing countries, reducing the cost of ‘green’ borrowing, making adaptation projects more attractive for investors, and strengthening the role of the private sector and charitable organizations.
The Climate Finance Delivery Plan, published ahead of COP26, presented a financing schedule from 2021 to 2025, according to which the goal of USD 100 billion per year is realistically achievable by 2023. The updated delivery plan is expected ahead of COP27, and hopefully, it will clarify the details on double funding for adaptation. In addition, at the request of the COP26 president, Canada and Germany prepared a report on the assessment of climate finance.
One of the main results of COP26 was the agreement on the preparation of the New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG). The goal itself is set to be determined in 2024 as a result of technical expert dialogues (TED). On November 5, the Fourth TED is set to take place, likely making the role of this issue at COP27 clearer. As with the previous goal of USD 100 billion, the progress on the issue of the new financial goal will affect the overall success of COP27. If countries that rely on international climate finance are dissatisfied with progress, they can block decision-making on other issues.
The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) was an achievement of COP26. Alliance participants pledged to provide USD 130 trillion by 2030 for decarbonization of the global economy. At COP27, GFANZ will assess its own progress over the year and identify priority areas of work for the near future. In September, GFANZ announced the creation of a regional network to support climate finance in Africa. The Ukrainian delegation should pay attention to this association in the context of post-war reconstruction on the basis of decarbonization and sustainable development.
According to the classification of the UNFCCC, Ukraine is included in the list of developed countries; therefore, it cannot claim support for ‘firm measures’ from UN climate funds (GCF, GEF, Adaptation Fund). At each conference, the Ukrainian delegation raises the issue of providing access to these funds. At the same time, no one expects Ukraine to provide climate financing. The Ukrainian delegation constantly emphasizes that the Paris Agreement fundamentally changes the approach of dividing countries within the UNFCCC into developed and developing ones, due to the transition to voluntary determination of GHG reduction opportunities by all countries, not only developed ones. Accordingly, it is considered that in the absence of the clear division that existed in the Kyoto Protocol, Ukraine should also get access to climate finance.
‘The Ukrainian delegation consistently raised the issue of Ukraine’s access to the UN Green Climate Fund. The task for the next COP is to complete this process with partner support,’ said Olha Stefanishyna, Vice PM on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration and head of the Ukrainian delegation at COP26.
The best opportunity for funding climate projects in Ukraine is the sustainable development mechanism under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement and the rules for the global carbon market. But this opportunity will only become functional in several years.
Another area of diplomatic effort at the conference will be explaining the threat of cuts in climate finance due to the costs caused by the protracted war and the economic downturn. The UK is already forced to reduce the funding of developing countries due to the need for security spending.
Current climate goals lead the world to a warming by 2.4–2.8 degrees Centigrade, even if they are fully implemented, and this trajectory can only be changed by 2030. At COP26, countries agreed to raise the ambition of updated nationally determined contributions (NDC2) before or during COP27. As of September, several countries improved their NDCs. Presented in 2022, Egypt’s NDC2 is severely inadequate, opaque and leads to a 4 °C warming. This position of Egypt as the host country will not encourage other countries to be more ambitious.
As of the end of 2021, 128 countries had submitted NDC2. At COP26, the participants discussed the need to ramp up the ambition of those national targets; however, since the previous conference, only 24 countries have fulfilled their promise on improving NDC2, and of them, 21 countries did it in 2022 (Fig. 2). This August, India, the third-largest polluter in the world, approved NDC2 with the goal of achieving zero emissions by 2070 (the promise to achieve climate neutrality by 2070 was made by the Prime Minister of India during COP26). Although this is a significant increase in ambition and an important signal to other countries, this target is not enough to achieve the goal of the Paris Agreement. In the near future, further updates of NDCs are expected from Mexico, Turkey, Vietnam, and Chile. The insufficient speed of more ambitious commitments to reduce emissions and Egypt’s interest in focusing on funding and specific actions reduces the chances for a successful deal to reduce climate goals at COP27. During the war, Ukraine is not planning to update NDC2, but it intends to follow at least the previously set goal of reducing emissions to 35% of the 1990 level by 2030. However, there are occasional statements that during Ukraine’s rebuilding, there may be a partial increase in GHG emissions compared to the current level.
The Glasgow Pact defined a separate work programme to urgently strengthen the goals in the coming decade. In February, the countries discussed the general framework of the programme: objectives, scope, results, mechanisms, and schedule. One option is to define targets in critical sectors by 2030. At COP27, countries will only begin the process of developing the programme, and its progress will be one of the indicators of the conference’s success.
An achievement of COP26 is the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP), which is to support the phasing out of coal in South Africa. Now, some developing countries, especially African countries, are looking for ways to participate in similar initiatives to facilitate the fulfilment of their decarbonization commitments. During COP27, South Africa is set to present an investment plan of fair energy transformation.
The previous conference recorded the intention, but has not established the deadline for full termination of the use of coal. It is unlikely that this will be achieved at COP27, given the energy crisis caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine. By the way, the profits of the oil industry giants more than doubled because of the war. However, they have directed these funds to shareholder payments and the development of new oil fields, instead of supporting decarbonization. The war in Ukraine is an opportunity to accelerate the transition to a world without fossil fuels, in particular without Russian oil and gas, which will deprive the aggressor of resources and leverage. And the complete abandonment of fossil fuels will prevent a repetition of the current scenario in which a number of countries depend on a monopolistic supplier.
COP27 will be the site of the first meeting of the Alliance for Industry Decarbonization, founded by IRENA and Siemens Energy. Membership is available for state-owned and private companies, including Ukrainian ones, which could cooperate with the Alliance within the framework of ‘Green Recovery.’
The war in Ukraine threatens the achievement of climate goals, as the resulting instability and economic downturn affect the willingness of certain countries to make ambitious statements. According to NDC2, Ukraine must reduce GHG emissions by 65% before 2030 compared to the 1990 figure. Despite the war, the Ministry of Environment is finalizing the Action Plan for the implementation of the updated NDC, and on October 13, the SEA Report of the Action Plan draft was published. Work is also ongoing on the development of the Financial Strategy for the implementation of the NDC2.
Admittedly, the current balance of emissions in Ukraine underwent significant changes after February 24, 2022, as a result of the Russian aggression. Due to the destruction of part of the energy infrastructure and metallurgical facilities, their share in the composition of GHG has significantly decreased. However, emissions from the burning of oil products at oil depots as a result of missile attacks, emissions from forest fires that largely occurred on the territory of Ukraine in the summer as a result of hostilities, etc., became an aggravating factor. For COP27, Ukraine is preparing detailed calculations of GHG emissions as a result of Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine.
The purpose of market mechanisms and using market rules is reducing the cost of emissions reduction for people, when emissions are first reduced in the countries and sectors where it would be the cheapest. At the same time, these measures are mostly financed by those countries/sectors in which it is more expensive to reduce emissions. Thanks to market mechanisms, the cost of achieving the NDC can be reduced by 50%.
The first example of market mechanisms in the international negotiation process was the Kyoto Protocol, which was adopted in 1997 and came into force in 2005. It was replaced by Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, which provides:
- Sub-article 6.2. Emissions trading between two countries on contractual terms.
- Sub-article 6.4. Creation of emission reduction credits (A6.4ERs) as a result of joint projects between organizations under the supervision of the UNFCCC body and the procedure for the transfer of such credits. It is most similar to the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol, but aims to prevent the flaws that led to emissions growth instead of reductions.
- Sub-article 6.8. Other non-market ways of transferring emission reduction credits between different entities.
COP26 approved the basic rules for the operation of these mechanisms in the Paris Rulebook: transfer of reduction credits from the CDM, deduction of 5% to the adaptation fund and cancellation of 2% of emission reduction credits, safeguards against double counting. Further work on their detailing will continue at COP27 and will concern:
- taking into account ‘credits for emission avoidance’ (as opposed to actual reduction) within the mechanisms of Article 6;
- platforms and methodologies for reporting and tracking the transfer of emission reduction credits between countries, between organizations and their consideration in achieving the NDC, the level of information availability;
- training programmes for countries that will participate in the activities of subsection 6.4, in particular regarding the establishment of the baseline emission level against which the reduction credits will be determined;
- types of activities that will be considered within sub-article 6.8 and methods of their monitoring and accounting;
- approval of the rules of work of the Supervisory body according to the mechanisms of sub-article 6.4.
For Ukraine, the mechanisms of Article 6 are the only significant opportunity to receive climate financing within the framework of the Paris Agreement. In order for Ukrainian companies to participate in the mechanisms of sub-article 6.4, Ukraine must create a national body. Since the climate policy is under the purview of the Ministry of Environment, makes sense that it would be a division of the Ministry or a subordinate, separate body. In order to participate in mechanisms under 6.2, the format of goals in Ukraine’s NDC must correspond to the goals of potential partner countries. Participation in all mechanisms involves complex reporting and submission of information on the connection of market mechanisms with the NDC. At COP27, Ukraine should search for partners (countries and companies) that are interested in cooperation within the framework of Article 6 and prepare for the launch of carbon markets, especially by developing the capacity of the Ministry of Environment in this area. In the long-term projects that are planned now, it is worth setting the potential for generation of emission reduction credits and the possibility of engaging investment this way.
The Glasgow Pact called on developed countries to at least double funding for adaptation measures by 2025 and launched the two-year Glasgow-Sharm el-Sheikh work program (GLaSS) on the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA). In 2022, three meetings were held within the framework of GLaSS, and the fourth will be held during COP27. The programme should lead to a decision on an adaptation target for COP28.
Many countries are still struggling to understand how to define metrics and monitoring systems for adaptation. During COP27, work on the global goal on adaptation is meant to suggest how to reflect the results of NDC monitoring and national adaptation plans in it.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa has shown that the peoples of Africa spend 2–9% of GDP on adaptation, and in some cases — even up to 22% of GDP. This is 2 to 5 times more than they spend on critical public services, such as health care. This is one of the arguments for maintaining the grant form of adaptation assistance, since the payment of loans or insurance will worsen the financial situation of vulnerable countries. At the interim talks in Bonn, it was confirmed that the adaptation fund would continue to provide support in the form of grants.
The Paris Agreement obliged the parties to develop national adaptation plans and adaptation communications (ADCOM). However, as of October 24, 2022, only 39 plans have been submitted (20% of the signatories of the Paris Agreement). At COP27, the adaptation committee will present the methodology for assessment of adaptation needs. Ukraine has not submitted an adaptation plan, but it has a national document, and a number of cities have developed their own adaptation plans within the framework of the Covenant of Mayors. As an agricultural country and a major food exporter, Ukraine must adapt its food production sector to climate change. And there is room for collaboration with importers of our food to plan joint activities that will ensure supply stability.
Progress in achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement is assessed by the Global Stocktake (GST) mechanism. GST1 debriefing began at COP26 and will continue until 2023. It takes place in the form of Technical Dialogues, the first (TD1.1) having taken place at the interim negotiations in Bonn. Its conclusions confirmed the lack of financial support and the lack of ambition of climate targets, as stated in this year’s reports of the IPCC and many independent organizations. TD1.2 will take place at COP27.
Of all NDCs submitted to the UNFCCC, 86% include an adaptation component, 77% include GHG reduction targets, 96% include sectoral emission reduction targets, and 53% include an estimate of implementation costs. Approximately 50% of developing countries report L&D in their NDCs. Only 15 countries out of 119 signatories to the Global Methane Pledge have included a specific quantitative target in their NDCs.
Due to less access to resources caused by gender inequality, women face greater threats from climate change than men. In February 2022, the IPCC report identified the female gender among the factors of vulnerability to the effects of climate change. The Lima Gender Work Program on Gender (LWPG) was established at COP20 (2014) to promote gender balance and gender mainstreaming. The disproportionate impact of climate change on women was highlighted by the Paris Agreement as well (2015). The first Gender Action Plan (GAP) within climate conferences was coordinated at COP23 (2017). During 2022, the review of the plan is ongoing, set to be completed at COP27.
Women, as before, are not sufficiently represented at UNFCCC meetings. At COP26, about 37% of all delegates were women, and they accounted for only 29% of the total speaking time. Although there were 45% of women on the organizing team of COP26, almost all leading positions were occupied by men.
Non-governmental organizations of the countries of the Global South expect developed countries to increase climate financing and take gender factors into account. Within the conference, two annual reports of the Secretariat of the Framework Convention will be presented on Gender Day, November 14. One of them summarizes information about the gender aspects of national policies, plans, strategies, and actions in the field of climate, while the second concerns the representation of women in the UNFCCC.
On November 10, in the Ukraine pavilion, the Kyiv Bureau of Heinrich Boell Foundation will hold a discussion on gender equality in decarbonization and green recovery. Due to the war, a third of the population of Ukraine was forced to leave, most of them women and children. There is a direct relationship between gender balance and achieving decarbonization goals. Therefore, it is important to include both aspects in planning and financing the recovery of Ukraine.
Another important component of the climate justice discourse is the issue of human rights, which is considered in two contexts. On the one hand, human rights principles must be observed in the decisions of the UNFCCC bodies and in the proposed mechanisms for financing climate measures, in particular with regard to the fact that the groups of people and countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change should receive support.
On the other hand, the question of observing human rights directly during COP27 arises as well. International and Egyptian civil society groups fear that severe restrictions imposed by the Egyptian authorities in recent years will prevent the full and meaningful participation of journalists, activists, human rights defenders, civil society, youth groups and indigenous peoples in COP27. In addition, the Egyptian government could try to use its role as COP27 chair to promote an image of openness and tolerance, even though political oppression under the government of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has caused one of the country’s worst human rights crises in decades.
‘Race to Zero’ and ‘Race to Resilience’ are UNFCCC initiatives to engage cities, businesses, universities, and investors in climate action. To join Race To Zero, one must make a voluntary commitment to achieve zero emissions by 2050. Among the 1136 participating cities, there is one Ukrainian city, Mena. Both initiatives support partnerships and peer exchange. The participation of Ukrainian organizations in these initiatives will facilitate access to various opportunities for international funding.
Local Governments and Municipal Authorities Constituency (LGMA) is a representative association of cities and regions for participation in climate summits, which includes more than 45 local and regional networks of authorities. At COP27, LGMA will present an advocacy programme MultiLevelActionDelivers, which will cover:
- Strengthening cooperation between national governments and local authorities to achieve climate goals.
- Bringing the issues of food security, nature, culture, circular and blue economy, climate migration, a way to increase the temperature to 1.5 °C, etc. — that is, issues that are relevant at the city level — into the negotiation process.
- Support for the first ever meeting of ministers on climate and urbanization, which should be attended by the Ukrainian delegation.
- Promotion of the Initiative for Sustainable Development of Cities — a peer learning programme for Western European cities to share their successes with Eastern Europe and Asia, initiated by the World Bank. Representatives of Ukrainian cities brought to the conference by the Covenant of Mayors should strive to find out more about the opportunities provided by the programme.
In total, more than 70 events on the issues of cities and regions are scheduled in the Multilevel Action Pavilion at COP27. The event series focuses on urban Africa and covers, in particular, building resilience in African cities, the role of youth and research, integrating the food system into urban climate resilience initiatives, using technology to accelerate data-driven climate action in Africa.
The European Committee of the Regions has prepared a number of documents for COP27. In the published draft of the position of the Commission on the Environment, Climate Change and Energy ‘Towards the structural inclusion of cities and regions in the UNFCCC COP27,’ it is particularly emphasized that the goal of global energy security should not be considered as an alternative to the Paris Agreement. The draft calls on the Parties to accelerate the transition to renewable energy and promote energy sufficiency. The Committee welcomes the REPowerEU Plan’s response to global energy market disruptions caused by Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine as a clear signal that climate action can and must accelerate, and calls on the negotiating parties to formally include regional and local commitments in the NDCs. The Committee of the Regions also calls on all organizations that will contribute to the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine to attract investments in reconstruction, taking into account the Paris Agreement and the goals of the European Green Deal.
Before the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion against Ukraine, Ukrainian communities were responsible for almost a half of national emissions. 311 cities have climate targets under the Covenant of Mayors. The above-mentioned initiatives and measures for cities at COP27 should be used to study the experience of cooperation between national and local authorities in order to achieve climate goals.
For the first time, Ukraine will have its own pavilion at the climate conference. The Ministry of Environment promises to launch a separate website with the agenda. Most of the events are centred around the following topics:
- Assessing the damage to the environment and climate due to the war — presentation of the ‘Global Platform for Assessing the Damage to the Climate and the Environment from Military Actions and Developing Unified Approaches.’ Greenhouse gas emissions due to the war amounted to 4 million tons of CO2 (about 1% of annual emissions).
- The consequences of the Russian invasion for climate policy in Ukraine, Europe, the world, for energy security and the fulfilment of the goals under the Paris Agreement.
- Rebuilding Ukraine with climate goals in mind and how this experience can help the world to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.
- Food security in the context of climate change and the announcement of the Green Grain Supply Routes initiative. This topic is of particular interest to African countries, which face threats to food security due to climate change and Russia’s war against Ukraine.
At COP26, Ukraine joined the declaration on preservation and restoration of forests; however, due to Russia’s attack, our forests are suffering damage. The conference can be used to seek help in their recovery.
Since 2014, Russia and Ukraine have been including emissions on the territory of Crimea and the occupied territories in their inventories. At every negotiation, Ukraine demands that Russia be prohibited from doing so. At COP27, it is important for Ukraine to promote the recognition of Russia as the party responsible for all emissions and related damages caused by the war.