COP 28 November-December 2023 in Dubai WAIFC Involvement
COP stands for the UN’s Conference of the Parties, the member states which have ratified United Nations climate agreements over the decades, and all the social groupings within them whose voices matter. This global movement is transformational for society and the financial services that support them, so these questions and the answers required go far more deeply and broadly than intergovernmental action, as fits the scope of the tasks ahead.
As is the rule for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the host of the previous year (Egypt) is co-president for the following twelve months together with the country that will be the next host.
Climate change finance is a permanent agenda item for WAIFC, and as of 2022 so is the greening of supply-chain finance. Given the role financial centers play in accelerating the transition from carbon-based energy, participation in the preparations for the COP 28 meeting is a practical pathway for members to demonstrate their social and business leadership.
How Does the COP Process Work?
For the past several years, WAIFC has been collaborating with UN parties on environmental issues, the lead tie being FC4S. That will continue. Many of its members have also been involved in various ways. This opinion expresses a complementary point: the global work done over the past two-three years has opened up more possibilities for public engagement by financial center promotion agencies. The COP process involves all kinds of actors.
The meetings in Dubai towards the end of this year will have multiple workstreams running at the same time:
- the 28th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (and so the name “COP 28”);
- the fifth meeting of the COP serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (and so the name “CMA 5”); and
- follow-up continues for the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, “CMP 18”
The UAE President-Designate for COP 28 has been named, Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, the Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, who also serves as the UAE’s Special Envoy for Climate Change. A successful COP means that it “will drive global transformation towards a low-emission and climate-resilient world, fosters ambitious climate action and facilitates implementation, including the related support.”
The agenda for COP 28 will include the first stocktaking of the implementation of the Paris Agreement, now nearly eight years old. Each such review is meant to be a two-year process that will happen every five years. The aim is to take a studied pause to assess the world’s collective progress towards achieving its climate goals – and to highlight where it falls short. This first global review takes place at the mid-point in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Why should WAIFC and its Members Remain Involved?
Financial centers’ provision of financing and insurance and deployment of long-term investment capital in various forms are at the indispensable center of this transformation. Estimates of the cost of transition range up to $ 100 trillion over the rest of the 2020s.
The stakes for getting yet more involved truly are far higher than an enormous business opportunity. WAIFC members have many years before them to demonstrate steady public leadership in their jurisdictions by helping to orchestrate financial flows and change the conversation. The world is critically behind the schedule scientists have set.
Another possibility would be for WAIFC to consider becoming a strategic partner of the COP process in its own name if that were to be judged effective.
What can WAIFC Members do?
The UN secretariat dedicated to climate change organizes and supports two-four negotiating sessions each year, the largest being the COP. This is the largest annual UN conference of any kind, and it has in recent years drawn some 25,000 delegates as it moves around the world.
WAIFC members can ask their governments how to get involved in the subsidiary bodies, meetings, and workshops organized each year under the UN auspices. The UN Climate secretariat also supports the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action, which might be the best way for many to get involved. Successful climate action requires strong support from regions, cities, businesses, investors, and all parts of civil society. Non-governmental stakeholders work with governments and the UN system to implement the Paris Agreement.
At the top level of the Marrakech Partnership are the two high-level “champions” supporting the co-presidency for COP 28, for Egypt Mr. Mahmoud Mohieldin; and for the UAE, Ms. Razin Al Mubarak. Through their embassies in Egypt and the UAE, WAIFC members may wish to get in touch.
The role of these two champions is to engage with interested governments, and most especially non-governmental actors. We are all stakeholders. These champions are meant to connect initiatives and coalitions with national action plans to assure that the agreed plans and tracking remain transparent country by country. This adds credibility to climate action. Input from the champions to the secretariat helps the secretariat organize technical expert meetings and fine-tune the planning for these annual high-level meetings.
The secretariat also co-organizes regional Climate Weeks. These events aim to drive forward the Paris Agreement implementation and to create new climate action partnerships. WAIFC might find this way of being involved effective.
WAIFC members can also participate in keeping financial services actors in their cities informed on the ongoing negotiating process around the world, and above all on climate action itself. The secretariat supports a variety of communication tools, the usual social media, for the public to draw on. The UN Climate Change website has some 1.8 million visitors each year.
The WAIFC group effect
There is much to be done, and resources are scarce. DIFC have shared some initial plans for collaboration and access for members in a plan pre-COP 28 and its surrounding events. We are engaging all members around the WAIFC plans for COP 28 holistically during the London AGM, and post approvals we will share this for circulation for members.