One of the major focuses of this COP is climate finance. Basically, how are we, as an international community, going to pay for all the mitigation and adaptation actions that are required in order to keep global temperature rise below 2°C and to decrease negative repercussions of climate impacts that are already occurring. In addition, discussion on finance covers the topic of Loss and Damage (L&D). L&D is basically the results of climate change impacts that were not prevented, and they can take the form of economic losses or non-economic losses. This area is of particular interest to the Small Island States group, the Least Developed Countries group, and other developing country groups because they would like developed countries to pay for the impacts that climate change has had and will continue to have on their countries due to developed countries being the major historic perpetrators of such changes.
Finance is a key component of COP23 because the parties are still trying to figure out how finance will operate under the Paris Agreement. Basically, the creation of the Paris Agreement gives a new opportunity for countries to set up finance systems, and each country wants to ensure that the system will work for them. The Adaptation Fund, which was established under the Kyoto Protocol, is one place where countries are debating if this Fund should continue to play a role under the Paris Agreement, or if it should not.
Today, I attended a morning full of negotiating sessions on the Adaptation Fund, and one notion is very clear. Developing countries feel very strongly that the Adaptation Fund should continue to play a key role in the UNFCCC under the Paris Agreement. As emphasized by the Philippines, on behalf of the 77+ China, they believe that the Fund has been extremely successful in funding "concrete adaptation" to date, and that it has provided access to funding to developing countries is a way that no other fund has achieved. Developed country support for the Fund is not always so clear. But, it should be noted that yesterday during the opening session of the COP, Germany pledged 50 million Euros to the Adaptation Fund on top of their current contribution. The goal was clearly to send a signal of confidence in the Fund and to set an example for other countries to do the same over the next two weeks.
Will this German leadership lead to a confirmation that the Adaptation Fund will continue its work under the Paris Agreement? Right now, it is too soon to tell, but I will be attending further negotiating session on this topic and be able to report back as decisions are produced.
Anna is a master's student pursuing a dual degree in Climate and Quaternary Studies with the Climate Change Institute and in Global Policy with the School for Policy and International Affairs. Her research interests include climate change adaptation governance and interactions of international climate governance and ocean governance regimes.