Slow progress at COP27 underlines need for systemic solutions

(EurActiv, 22 Nov 2022) Smart and innovative solutions must shape our future given the colossal nature and urgency of the issues at stake, writes Eli Hadzhieva.

Eli Hadzhieva is the founder and director of the Brussels-based think tank Dialogue for Europe

Another year, another disappointing COP summit. The European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen expressed her impressions regarding the outcome of this year’s meeting in Egypt, admitting that “We have treated some of the symptoms but not cured the patient from its fever.” Negotiations were dominated by loss and damage funding, a new agenda item pushed by the G77, a group of more than 130 developing countries and China – but little substance was achieved.

Loss and damage refer to the negative impact of climate change that can be neither mitigated nor adapted to. Extreme weather events, such as storms, floods and heatwaves, and slow-onset events, including sea level rise, ocean acidification, loss of biodiversity and diversification, could lead to economic and non-economic consequences for vulnerable countries, particularly small island states and the least developed group of countries.

However, the concept is vague, difficult to quantify and not well defined in climate policy, while the Paris Agreement does not establish it as a legally binding obligation.

The EU was initially opposed to this idea fearing unlimited liability and time constraints, and instead emphasised the existing mechanisms, such as the Warsaw International Mechanism for loss and damage, the Santiago Network, the Glasgow Dialogue or the German-led Global Shield, which aim at facilitating dialogue and providing technical assistance.

External link

EurActiv, 22 Nov 2022: Slow progress at COP27 underlines need for systemic solutions