[Op-ed] COP27: United, Africa and Europe will make the difference
COP27 was held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
Europe and France are strongly committed to working alongside the most vulnerable countries, which are often the last to be responsible but the first to be affected by the dramatic impacts of climate change, writes Chrysoula Zacharopoulou.
With COP27 drawing to a close, everyone can see that there is no simple and immediate answer to climate challenge.
We are not yet on a global trajectory to limit global warming to 1.5°C.
We still need to meet all the pressing and legitimate demands formulated by the most vulnerable countries.
We have not yet managed to find a perfect consensus between 197 trajectories, interests and distinct worldviews.
But this does not alter our determination to both pursue international climate negotiations, to implement the Paris Agreement, and to act, domestically and internationally, to reduce our emissions.
However, this "African COP" carries a message of hope: together, Africa and Europe are moving forward.
We have shown that when everyone takes responsibility, especially in terms of solidarity, we can build ambitious and concrete partnerships between developing countries, emerging countries and developed countries. And in particular between Africa and Europe.
Our responsibility for climate change does not stop at our national borders, and high-emitting countries have a special role to play. This is particularly true for the G20 countries, which today account for about 80% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
As the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, reminded us at the beginning of this COP, France is fully committed to climate solidarity and climate justice.
Europe and France are strongly committed to working alongside the most vulnerable countries, which are often the last to be responsible but the first to be affected by the dramatic impacts of climate change.
This COP27 has demonstrated this commitment with concrete advances that allow us to move forward together on many issues.
First of all, we are moving forward together on financing adaptation, a central expectation expressed by vulnerable countries, in Africa and elsewhere.
In 2021, France exceeded its target by devoting more than 6 billion euros to the fight against climate change in developing countries. This is far more than our "fair share" of the $100 billion global climate finance target. Almost all European countries are also meeting their commitments. In particular, France devotes 2.2 billion euros per year to adaptation in vulnerable countries.
Behind these figures, there are concrete projects that directly improve the lives of populations. This is the case of the Great Green Wall, an ambitious project designed by African countries and relaunched by the French President during the One Planet Summit in 2021. Thanks to the 19 billion dollars mobilised, the Sahel countries will be able to restore 100 million hectares of land threatened by the advance of the desert, to strengthen food security by supporting sustainable agriculture adapted to the impacts of climate change, and create 10 million green jobs by 2030.
We are also moving forward together on partnerships for a just energy transition. This was a strong commitment made at COP26 in Glasgow, which we put into practice in Sharm-el-Sheikh.
We confirmed our engagement alongside South Africa, which will benefit from 8.5 billion dollars, including 1 billion provided by France, to support its plan to phase out coal and develop renewable energies.
And at the G20, we have just initiated a similar partnership with Indonesia. France is also playing its part, with an initial investment of 500 million euros.
Because climate and biodiversity are two sides of the same coin, we are preparing similar partnerships to protect and sustainably manage the forests of South America, the Congo Basin, and Southeast Asia. This will be the ambition of the One Forest Summit announced at COP27 by President Macron and to be held in 2023.
Finally, during this COP, we made progress on the central issue of loss and damage. The European Union has heard the demands of vulnerable countries, and has put forward an ambitious proposal that led to an unprecedented breakthrough with an agreement on establishing new funding arrangements.
As with all other issues, we are tackling loss and damage by building concrete solutions together, for example in terms of prevention. This is the case of the CREWS initiative, strongly supported by France, for the global deployment of early warning systems for climate disasters
But despite these advances, the discussions at COP27 and the G20 have highlighted yet another major challenge ahead of us: reforming the international finance architecture.
We must respond to huge, additional needs, to finance both development and the preservation of global public goods, including the climate.
After the pandemic, France committed to reallocate 30% of our IMF special drawing rights to support the economic recovery of vulnerable countries. We will continue to mobilise our partners to ensure that everyone takes their fair share of the global effort, particularly G7 and emerging countries.
We must now go one step further and build a financial system capable of meeting the major challenges of the 21st century.
This is why, during the G20 Leaders Summit, President Macron announced that an international conference would be held in June 2023 in Paris to build a new financial pact with the South.
Faced with the immense challenge of climate change, we hear the call of our youth.
It is all together that we are already facing the consequences of climate change. It is together that we will build the solutions.
The Euro-African partnership on climate change is growing stronger every day.
- Chrysoula Zacharopoulou is Minister of State for Development, Francophonie and International Partnerships in France.