“It always seems impossible until it is done” – Thoughts Ahead of COP27

This week COP returns to Africa and the world’s eyes will once again be on its leaders to see how they plan to tackle climate change. There will understandably be a strong emphasis on the importance of climate adaptation and how climate financing should be distributed, and to whom, in order to compensate for climate loss and damage. With displacement and migration becoming more severe and frequent, we may be witnessing the start of the great climate migration, with climate change potentially forcing 86 million Africans to relocate inside their own nations by 2050. This year we have seen the devastating flooding in Pakistan and Nigeria, as well as the global mean temperature rising to 1.17oC over pre-industrial levels. Global climate action has never been more important.

Climate change is impacting each and every one of us in our daily lives, however, the priority must be focussed on channelling efforts to where the greatest disruption lies. Whilst developing nations have contributed the least greenhouse gas emissions, they bear the brunt of climate change and, in most cases, do not have the funds to recover and rebuild from the climate disasters. The gap between impact and the ability to recover is only set to widen as countries vulnerability worsens.

COP27 gives the opportunity for developing nations to address loss and damage and steer the global climate agenda towards tackling climate adaptation. Adaptation focuses on enhancing resilience and assisting the most vulnerable communities in issues such as agriculture, nutrition, coastal area livelihoods and protection.  It is expected that there will be a focus on Loss and Damage Funding and there is hope that climate adaptation solutions will take centre stage at Sharm El-Sheikh. Indeed, developing nations have petitioned for LDFs to be given greater importance at COP27 and have threatened to boycott the conference if their demands are not met. It is encouraging to finally see the EU and US, support this demand.

Climate change, and its cascading consequences, are deeply complex with no singular solution. What is clear, however, is that a collaborative approach involving, as António Guterres put it “every government, every business, every investor, every institution” is needed to create concrete solutions. This is where Goals House comes in, bringing people from all sectors together to facilitate discussion, create partnership and formulate solutions to the most prominent issues of this century. Goals House will this week play host to many important discussions under the themes of decarbonisation, agriculture, biodiversity, water and energy, all critical to the quest to keep international carbon targets in line with the Paris Agreement.

With many ongoing conflicts around the world and a long global recession on the horizon there remain fears that the climate crisis will get pushed down the political agenda. However, COP27 stands as an important moment to continue the fight against climate change and transition from negotiation to implementation. This is not a moment to give up.  Incredible acts of human ingenuity have succeeded even when it seemed that the task ahead was impossible, even in the last few years science triumphed by finding a vaccine to COVID-19. As we go into COP27, we must keep in mind the words of one of Africa’s greatest leaders, Nelson Mandela, "It always seems impossible until it is done".

Author: Hannah Pawlby, Chief Impact Officer, Freuds Group

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