The last global events have brought an intense interest in the climate crises and their devastating impact on human life. Floods in Pakistan, the heat waves in Africa, and also the location of the conference created the perfect environment for a strong Loss and Damage agenda. As part of the week 1 group, based on what I witnessed in the loss and damage negotiations my expectations were very low. Developing countries asked for financial mechanisms while the developed countries were killing the time with discussions on ToR, how the host country will be selected, and the structure of the mechanism. Outside of these rooms, it was hard for me to match the expectations of the public and the progress made in the negotiation. Here is when COP27 taught me the biggest lesson: the magic happens during the overnight hours of the last day. The parties agreed on creating a Loss and Damage Fund as a support mechanism for natural disasters’ catastrophic impact on developing countries. This is a very important commitment that shows serious engagement from everyone. As this agreement cached me off guard, my interest is significantly high in the upcoming work of the secretariat and stakeholders to make the mechanism totally functional.
Away from progress, the inability to make forward GHG reduction goals is considered one of COP27’s failings. I don’t consider it a failure from what I witnessed in the negotiations around this particular issue. The majority of the parties were generally in agreement with the text recommended by the secretariat until the final six minutes when Richard representing South Africa took the floor. His position is quite powerful because he is the spokesperson for the African group and his recommendations are always taken into account. Richard brought up several very significant issues that prevented agreement at least for this COP. He claimed that developing nations needed more time to comprehend the text and evaluate their capabilities and potential in terms of what they can accomplish. He was dissatisfied with the secretariat for withholding technical and financial reports as well. Although they didn’t reach a consensus, to me, it sent a very clear message to everyone. Every nation needs to be aware of its capabilities and should avoid signing agreements merely for the purpose of garnering media attention. Previous experiences have demonstrated that having ambition fosters a positive attitude and inspires everyone to do better, but we cannot expect an elephant to climb a tree.
In the end, my perspective on governments’ and stakeholders’ responses to climate change has changed as a result of my UNFCCC class and the COP27 conference. From the outside, everything appeared to be very politically motivated, followed by utopian goals without any specified implementation strategies. I build a greater understanding of reality thanks to the in-depth knowledge presented in class on the UNFCCC’s history, significant agreements, attained aims, unaccomplished goals, and the roles of all stakeholders. On the other hand, the vigor and will seen during COP27 made me understand how mistaken I was and how difficult it is to simultaneously get 192 countries to the same table and sign the same agreement. I also gained an understanding of my areas of expertise and where I still need to make improvements. In addition to continuing to learn more and following the implementation schedule, I feel compelled to share this new experience with everyone and inspire in them a stronger belief that this process is the only way to go forward.