The U.N. Climate Change Conference came to a close in Marrakech last week after two weeks of negotiations and hundreds of activities and side-events featuring Heads of State and Government, delegations and participants from around the world.
In closing, COP22 President Salaheddine Mezouar said that despite resoundingly delivering on the promise of a COP of “action,” we have just started. “We have a year ahead of us in our Presidency to accelerate and achieve even more bold climate action.”
Over 40 countries vulnerable to climate change have agreed to use only renewable energy by 2050 including Afghanistan, Haïti, Philippines, Bangladesh, Honduras, Rwanda, Barbados, Kenya, Saint Lucia, Bhutan, Kiribati, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Madagascar, South Sudan, Cambodia, Malawi, Sri Lanka, Comoros, Maldives, Sudan, Costa Rica, Marshall Islands, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mongolia, Timor-Leste, Dominican Republic, Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Nepal, Tuvalu, Fiji, Niger, Vanuatu, Ghana, Palau, Vietnam, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, Yemen and Guatemala.
The Marrakech Vision adopted by the Climate Vulnerable Forum breathes new and strong commitment: “We aim to survive and thrive in a world where, as soon as possible and at the latest by 2030 to 2050 the dangers of climate change are kept to an absolute minimum.”
The leaders from developing countries united in the Forum are far from being doomsayers, says Sabine Froning, spokeswomen for energy giant Vattenfall. On the contrary, they see many advantages in climate action. Remarkably and contrary to the fears of many actors in industrialized nations, the Marrakech Vision does not consider sustainability as a barrier to economic development but as a motor for strongest possible growth.
The least developed and low- and middle-income developing countries see climate investment as an opportunity, while striving at eliminating high-carbon investments and harmful subsidies, says Froning. Not least they aim at becoming leaders in renewable energy. Among the goals to be achieved at the latest by 2030 to 2050 they state: “We strive to meet 100 percent domestic renewable energy production as rapidly as possible while working to end energy poverty, protect water and food security.”
In addition to Marrakech Vision and the Marrakech Action Proclamation For Our Climate And Sustainable Development that was arrived at through the involvement of more than 70 heads of state, the conference produced scores of declarations, initiatives, MoUs and agreements.
Some key achievements include:
• the first meeting of Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA1), the agreement by Parties to set a fast track for the completion of the Paris Agreement rulebook by 2018,
• the delivery by the U.K. and Australia of the $100 billion dollar annual climate finance roadmap by 2020,
• the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Capacity-building Initiative for Transparency backed by 11 developed country donors providing $50 million-worth of funding,
• Parties pledged more than $81 million to the Adaptation Fund and $23 million to the Climate Technology Centre and Network,
• the $500 million Marrakech Investment Committee for Adaptation Fund was launched in partnership with The Lightsmith Group, based in the United States, BeyA Capital, based in Africa, and the Global Environment Facility,
• the NDC Partnership on capacity building was launched as well as the Secretariat in Morocco of the International Climate Change Center of Excellence and Think Tanks for Capacity Building (INCCCETT 4CB),
• the Climate Vulnerable Forum declaration calling to limit global temperature rise to as close to 1.5 degrees Celsius as possible,
• the Water for Africa initiative established by the Kingdom of Morocco and supported by the African Development Bank.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged companies to further increase their commitment to climate action. “Now it is time to turn words into deeds, to seize the opportunity before us for. We have no time to lose … that is why Marrakech is critical for strengthening the global climate action agenda, ensuring that we close the gap to meet the below 2 degrees pathway. And that’s where business has an enormous role to play.”
The U.N. Global Compact released the 2016 Status Report on the Business Contribution to Global Climate Action. The report found that there are now 30 business-led initiatives registered on the U.N.-backed NAZCA climate portal, in total including more than 3,300 companies and organizations. Since COP 21, the number of businesses participating in these initiatives has increased by 17 percent and 27 percent of these business participants have their headquarters in developing or transition economies.
The Kingdom of Morocco also announced its Blue Belt Initiative aimed at building the resilience of coastal communities and promoting sustainable fisheries and aquaculture and the launch of the Adaptation for African Agriculture (AAA) initiative aimed at building resilience among small-holder farmers in Africa by promoting sustainable soil, water and risk management through capacity development, policies and funding mechanisms.
More than 110 Parties have now ratified the Paris Agreement providing a key political signal towards global commitment to climate action.
An important international meeting between 37 National Human Rights Institutions also occurred, focusing on the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. An important meeting of labor unions featuring 40 from Africa and the International Trade Union Confederation was also held during COP22.
COP23 will be presided over by Fiji and held in Bonn, Germany in 2017, and COP24 will take place in Poland.