Money, finance, moolah, whatever you want to call it, it is truly what the negotiations at COP seem to be all about. Progress is slow when it comes to two main issues we are tracking here at COP25, Article 6 and climate finance. Despite the lack of urgency at the center of the action, we saw significant progress on the margins, for the all too often marginalized communities.
Article 6 is a high priority issue at COP25. Little headway has occurred on Articles 6.2, 6.4, and 6.8, because countries continue to disagree on one main governance issue. The debate continues over whether the Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), which advises COP on science and technology matters, should become the main implementor of WIM, or whether there should be a new independent system to facilitate action and support and provide technical guidance to the countries that need it.
Climate finance negotiations are of interest to many observer and party delegations. The Global Environmental Facility (GEF) was established in 1992 to handle the worlds’ most pressing environmental issues. Since its inception, the GEF has given over $19 billion in grants and co-financed more than $100 billion in support of thousands of projects across the globe aimed at addressing issues with biodiversity, climate change and sustainable forest management. Negotiations at COP25 are tense and stymied because of disagreement over whether performance reports need additional review or are sufficient enough for forward movement.
Established almost three decades after the GEF, the Green Climate Fund operates as a financial mechanism to assist developing countries with adaptation and mitigation practices to combat climate change. The GCF negotiations have been tense because there are questions as to whether it is being managed properly. The room got quite tense when one particular party explained that it had submitted project proposals for access to GCF funding, but had not received any word yet on approval or rejection, and questioned whether the lack of response was an indicator of discrimination.
When looking at COP25 negotiations, and the main issues, it may seem that the sense of urgency with which COP25 began has quickly fizzled. However, look to the margins and you will find parties coming together to make a better, more inclusive world. With significant momentum heading into COP25 after the 2019 summer Bonn Climate Change Conference, the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform (LCIPP) Facilitative Working Group agreed during COP25 negotiations to an initial two-year work plan for 2020-2021 to implement three main functions, which are knowledge, capacity, and climate change policies and actions. It is clear from the pace at which the LCIPP is moving that international climate negotiations do not always move slow.
If we can learn anything from this year’s COP, it is to track the silent underdog negotiations. That is where we can find hope for a better future, because in this climate emergency, we need to focus on doing the next right thing, one step at a time. Center stage could learn a thing or two from the margins, where progress can, and must be made, by showing up and moving forward.