Protests, Loss and Damage and Data on Vulnerable Countries: Highlights from COP27

COP27 participants listening attentively to the speech of US President Joe Biden AP Photo/Peter Dejong
Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt

Protests, Loss and Damage and Data on Vulnerable Countries: Highlights from COP27

Hot talks about climate change are taking place on the shores of the Red Sea in Egypt from 6-18 November, while the G20 countries that emit 80 percent of the world's greenhouse gasses are expected to meet in Bali to also address this global issue, specifically whether or not they will stay on track to keep the global temperature below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Negotiators at COP27 are expected to reach agreement on some of the thorny issues following statements from heads of state in the first week. For example, developed countries promised to provide US$100 billion per year by 2020 for climate action, but have fallen short of their pledge. Another agenda item that negotiators, observers, activists, and other participants have their eyes on is the financing mechanism for loss and damage.

Here is a summary of the main issues discussed at the COP27 meeting in the first week.

For the first time, the issue of loss and damage will be discussed

The 27th Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC was attended by 45,000 participants, heads of state of more than 110 countries, and more than 5,000 media organizations, and about 2,000 main and branch meetings continued for half a month.

In other words, despite the fact that many terms, programs, and protocols have been created to "breathe" in the "storm" of information surrounding climate change in the last 30 years, the issue of loss and damage has never been formally considered during the COP.

In this meeting, open issues are being discussed specifically, and almost all discussions are about losses and damages. More than 50 climate-vulnerable countries (including Mongolia) have suffered 20 percent of their economic losses or US$525 billion from climate change over the past 20 years.

For example, due to the floods in Pakistan this year, about 1700 people lost their lives and became homeless. Meanwhile, Mongolia has suffered direct economic losses of 1.6 trillion MNT from natural disasters in the last ten years.

A study by UN Environmental Program on adaptation gap in 2021 shows if losses and damages are not resolved, by 2030, vulnerable countries will suffer economic losses of half a trillion US dollars every year.

A high-level "Adaptation Program" was introduced, where by 2030, US$140-300 billion will be allocated annually to adapt and withstand climate change for four billion people who will be vulnerable to climate change, and more than half of it will be required to be included in proper adaptation programs.

Mongolia joins Forest Partnership program with the European Union

The term "Billion Tree Initiative" which is already familiar to our ears was first introduced by the Mongolian government at the 26th Conference of Parties held in Glasgow a year ago. Only 1 percent of the ambitious goal to be implemented in 10 years has been achieved.

This week at COP27, five countries — Mongolia, Congo, Uganda, Zambia and Guyana — participated in the "Forest Partnership" open funding program, and will receive support from EU to protect, restore, and ensure the sustainable use of the forests, improve economical value and income source for local communities, increase investment, and realize the potential of creating more than 80,000 employment opportunities.

Forest Partnerships and the €1 billion European Union contribution to the Global Forests Finance Pledge were first announced at the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow. The partnership will seek to work on several key areas including protection and restoration of the ecosystem and afforestation to support climate change and biodiversity commitments, and the protection of the rights and cultures of indigenous peoples.

Mongolia will hold a conference on desertification in Ulaanbaatar in 2026

The President of Mongolia, Ukhnaa Khurelsukh, spoke at the 27th Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC. He emphasized that Mongolia is working to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 22.7 percent under the business as usual scenario by 2030.

In Mongolia, 77 percent of the total area is affected by desertification, and they are working to reduce it by 10 percent in the next eight years. The government plans to achieve this target by increasing efforts in forest protection.

As Mongolia will be hosting the 17th COP to the United Nations Framework Convention on Desertification (UNFCD) in 2026, President Khurelsukh also shared that Mongolia has already started preparations. Mongolia joined the convention in 1996, and the government enacted the National Program to Combat Desertification in 2010 and the Law on Soil Protection and Prevention of Desertification in 2012. It is worth noting that desertification cause losses of US$42 billion in global income annually.

Climate Change Vulnerable Countries report launched, Mongolia is not exempt from climate change impacts

Mongolia's Climate Change Vulnerability Index is 31.7 percent, which is higher than the average, according to the "Climate Vulnerability Monitor: Burning Planet" study. The study was produced by the Group of Developing Countries Vulnerable to Climate Change (V20) and presented at COP27.

The study highlighted that Mongolia will be among the most affected by climate change. During COP21, Mongolia was already considered one of the countries vulnerable to climate change and global warming has already increased by 1.1 degrees Celsius since then. According to the same study, it is estimated that 3 million people die each year from overheating. In Mongolia, it is believed that about 200 people will die due to overheating every year.

This story was produced as part of the 2022 Climate Change Media Partnership, a journalism fellowship organized by Internews' Earth Journalism Network and the Stanley Center for Peace and Security. It was first published in Mongolian in iToim on 15 November 2022 and has been translated to English and lightly edited for length and clarity.

Banner image: COP27 participants listening attentively to the speech of US President Joe Biden / Credit: AP Photo/Peter Dejong.

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