The Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) plus the Vulnerable Twenty Group is an international partnership of countries most threatened by the impacts of a warming planet. The CVF serves as a South-South cooperation platform for participating governments to act together to deal with global climate change. Composed of 58 members from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, and the Pacific, CVF represents around 1.4 billion people worldwide. It was founded in November 2009 by Maldives together with 10 other countries. The Forum is led by a rotating chair for a period of two years, with Ghana currently chairing for the period 2022-2024.
In the early hours of 20 November 2022, country delegates gathered to formally close the last day of the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. As countries delivered their final statements, several delegations from climate vulnerable countries expressed the persistent limitations and difficulties of the COP process that fail to address worsening climate vulnerabilities in the Global South.
The Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan was officially adopted after two weeks of negotiations with the key advancement being the establishment of the Loss and Damage fund to support adaptation efforts of climate vulnerable countries. Yet parties failed to reach an agreement on equitable funding mechanisms. Commitment to phase out unabated fossil fuels fell short, strongly “fueled” by the presence of over 600 fossil fuel lobbyists granted access to COP27, more than the fossil fuel lobbyists in COP26 in Glasgow and twice as many as the delegates from the official UN constituency for Indigenous Peoples, according to Global Witness.
In these “shadows” of COP27, Ecojesuit shares the “lights” from the voices of delegates of climate vulnerable countries – Pakistan, Antigua and Barbuda, Tuvalu, Maldives, and Marshall Islands – that are sources of consolation as they delivered their statements with urgency and integrity.
In light of the floods that ravaged Pakistan in 2022, the delegation emphasized, “we are concerned by the lack of progress and deficit in the formulation of National Adaptation Plans. These are crucial tools for countries struggling to build resilience against climate stress…2030 is the decisive decade for us.”
Antigua and Barbuda
The Antigua and Barbuda delegation reiterated the need to establish clear implementation mechanisms for the Loss and Damage fund. “We call on all parties to work constructively to design and operationalize the fund over the next 12 months. The Loss and Damage fund needs to become the lifeboat that we need it to be. (Otherwise), it is just a lifeboat in a brewing hurricane.”
The delegation from Tuvalu delivered an emotional testimony on the failures of COP27. “It is regrettable that we have not achieved an equal success in our attempt to achieve the 1.5 target…it is regrettable that we have not gotten a strong language in phasing out fossil fuels. We have not sufficiently responded to the call of people affected by climate disasters such as sea level rise. It has made Sharm el-Sheikh a missed opportunity for a truly successful COP. We are on this canoe together as we journey towards achieving 1.5 in COP28.”
The Maldives delegation stated that “we are addressing loss and damage because we have failed on mitigation and adaptation. The tipping point is 1.5, we absolutely have to keep 1.5 alive. We have to phase out fossil fuels, we need to remove fossil fuel subsidies.” The delegation also displayed a Climate Clock that showed the number of years left before the world goes over the 1.5°C tipping point.
The delegation from Marshall Islands expressed the lack of commitment shown in keeping the 1.5°C goal alive. “The IPCC told us that to keep 1.5. in reach, we need to peak global emissions by 2025. This is knocking on our door. I am deeply disappointed that we have failed to reflect this fact. If we are to stay within this limit, we must phase out fossil fuels and we must do so now.”
COP27 voices for COP28
As the world prepares for COP28 in Expo City in Dubai, UAE, Ecojesuit upholds the integrity shown by the country delegates of the Global South. These are the voices that need to be kept in mind, raised, and shared with others in committing to climate action and justice at the local, national, and global levels.
“If there is sincere interest in making COP28 a historic event that honours and ennobles us as human beings, then one can only hope for binding forms of energy transition that meet three conditions: that they be efficient, obligatory, and readily monitored. This, in order to achieve the beginning of a new process marked by three requirements: that it be drastic, intense, and count on the commitment of all.” (Laudate Deum 59)