Risk of a lost week at COP27, but opportunity remains

Posted on November, 11 2022

If leaders truly believe that now is the time to take action on climate change, then we have a chance this week, and every effort must be made to do it.
  • WWF assesses first week of COP27 and warns that on critical issues of finance, closing the emissions gap, food systems, and loss and damage, we are not seeing the progress needed 
  • Signs of opportunity leave hope for a second week that delivers goals of the summit
  • WWF warns that success at COP27 is vital for creating momentum ahead of the global biodiversity summit COP15 in December.
Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt (11 November 2022) – As the end of the first week of COP27 approaches, WWF warns that so far we are not seeing the clear and decisive shift from abstract promises to real-world action that is needed. With deadlines fast approaching on a range of vital issues, negotiators risk a lost first week in Sharm El-Sheikh if Parties fail to agree on concrete and urgent actions.
Getting Loss and Damage on the agenda was an early success for COP27, but whether a financing plan can be agreed is still uncertain. Following speeches from world leaders and the initial stages of negotiations, WWF sees some positive signs that progress may be made, but time is running out to turn these ‘glimmers of possibility’ into substantial outcomes that help shift the dial on tackling the climate and biodiversity crisis.  
WWF warns global leaders that right now, the climate crisis is moving faster than our response to it, and that people and places all over the globe are reeling from the catastrophic consequences of inaction.
Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, WWF Global Climate and Energy Lead, and COP20 President, said: “If leaders truly believe that now is the time to take action on climate change, then we have a chance this week, and every effort must be made to do it.

“We risk seeing a lost week for loss and damage, unless more steps are taken to secure a financing mechanism. With disasters leaving vulnerable countries and communities urgently in need of support, it is essential that the international community comes together to help them to adapt, build resilience and address the unjust costs of the climate crisis.

“There is still time for parties to grasp the glimmers of hope we have seen this week, and secure agreements that move us closer to a clean, sustainable and resilient world. We have heard leaders recognise the scale of the challenge, but now they must meet that challenge with the ambition and action required to stop the climate crisis spiralling further out of control.”

Mark Lutes, WWF UNFCCC Negotiations Lead, said: “Despite many parties rightly recognising the scale of the finance gap, so far we have seen many governments not prepared to meet their existing commitments, with limited new pledges, and little reason for confidence that financing will be scaled up sufficiently or will reach those most in need. Delivery on this will be critical for achieving the emissions reduction and resilience building around the world we need to see. We can’t afford to leave this COP with climate finance still in limbo. Every lost year puts more vulnerable people at risk.”

WWF also raises concerns about slow progress in agreeing a decision on the future of the Koronivia Joint Work Programme on Agriculture. Joao Campari, WWF Global Food Lead, warned: “Further delays could lead to a low-ambition decision, or worse, the decision being delayed until COP28. This would be a major blow to delivering food systems transformation that helps limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. We must urgently align climate, food and nature goals.”

Despite these concerns, WWF believes there have been some positive developments, with welcome funding for forests, promising ministerial meetings, and positive recommendations from the High Level Expert Group on net zero, the Sharm El Shiekh Adaptation Action Agenda and proposals from some delegations and groupings that could potentially move forward the agendas on a number of fronts. 

Considering the immediate legacy of COP27, Fernanda Carvalho, WWF Global Policy Manager for Climate and Energy, said: “Success at COP27 is vital for creating momentum ahead of the December COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal, where we have a chance to reset humanity’s broken relationship with nature. The climate crisis is driving nature loss, and the destruction of natural ecosystems is in turn fuelling the climate crisis. Leaders should recognise this interconnection by ensuring nature is given a more substantive role in negotiations.” 

The climate crisis will affect different people and places unevenly, and so is likely to lead to inequalities within and across nations, and create injustice. All climate action must ensure it also helps improve rights and social equity, according to WWF. 

Robin Harvey, Media Relations Manager, WWF International rharvey@wwfint.org   
WWF International newsdesk: news@wwfint.org
The sun sets over COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt
© Tony Rakotondramanana / WWF