India has urged all countries that are fighting climate change to focus on the ‘Global Goal on Adaptation’ or GGA.‘Adaptation’ refers to measures taken for coping up with the deleterious consequences of global warming that have already become unavoidable. 

“As a developing country, we need much more focus on GGA, on loss and damage, and on the mechanisms for loss and damage to be in place,” Leena Nandan, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), said at a ‘High-level Session on COP28 Compass at the World Sustainable Development Summit’, held in New Delhi on Friday. 

Calling for “much more focus on loss and damage” she said, “having taken so long in mainstreaming loss and damage, let’s not waste any more time.” 

“That is where support is required, and that is what equity demands,” she said, adding, “as a developing country, we need much more focus on GGA.” 

Global stocktake and course-correction 

Speaking at the event, Simon Stiell, Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said that India, as the President of G20, should push for “a very strong political signal” to raise expectations of all countries at the forthcoming COP28 climate conference to be held in the UAE later this year. 

Referring to ‘global stocktake’, ‘a review of all countries’ actions envisaged by the Paris Agreement, which will formally conclude at COP28, he noted that the exercise will tell us “where we are and where we are not”. The time now, is therefore, very opportune for a course-correction. 

Climate finance

On the critical issue of climate finance, Stiell highlighted that it continues to be “elephant in every negotiating room.” He pointed out that COP29 will be a finance COP where the delivery of the new, collective quantified goal on finance will be deliberated upon. Steill added that a lot of work still needs to be done on the Loss and Damage Fund agreed upon at COP27. 

On the point of the ‘Loss and Damage Agreement’ that was hammered out at Sharm el- Sheikh, Mr Naseer Ahamed, Minister of Environment, Sri Lanka, highlighted that it also left a lot of questions unanswered. “The question now is how to populate the fund and how to disburse it. As one of the most vulnerable countries in the frontline of climate crisis facing large-scale biodiversity loss, Sri Lanka has recognised the need for a greater collective voice for urgent, speedy and equitable execution of the loss and damage fund,” said Mr Ahamed. 

The Sri Lankan minister mooted the need to form a Climate Justice Forum to amplify the interests of like-minded climate vulnerable developing countries. Considering the magnitude of opportunities lost by not investing in nature, he also suggested “the establishment a first-of-its-kind international development bank” and proposed it be called the Biosphere Reserve Bank. 

Noting that COP28 must make significant progress on the Loss and Damage Fund, Ms Jennifer Morgan, State Secretary and Special Envoy for International Climate Action, Federal Foreign Office, Germany, said the focus will be on structuring the governance of the new fund and attracting innovative ways to finance it. On the $100 billion goal, Ms Morgan added, “It is clear the $100 billion have to be met. We have to perform.” 

Need for framework, transparency

Moderating the discussion, Mr RR Rashmi, Distinguished Fellow, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), highlighted the need to evolve a framework for the upcoming COP28 where the focus is on GGA, climate finance and global stocktake. 

Dr Henning Wuester, Director, Initiative for Climate Action Transparency said that transparency is “actually a leadership issue” and added, “Transparency is critical for the global stocktake. Without good data and sound information the global stocktake cannot really deliver.” 

The Energy Resources Institute (TERI) and the UNFCCC signed a letter of intent to collaborate on initiatives such as the World Sustainable Development Summit.