At the close of 2023, world leaders met in Dubai for the COP28 UN Climate Conference to negotiate how to address climate change. As the unfolding effects of the planetary emergency continue to impact us across the globe, the stakes for the Conference couldn’t have been higher. Key issues such the financing and governance of the Loss and Damage Fund and the conclusion of the first global stocktake – a report card which assesses the progress the global community has made on climate action – were at the forefront of discussions.
As the Coalition reflects on COP28, there was a considerable spotlight on nature. This was particularly critical as we found ourselves one year on since the agreement of the historic Global Biodiversity Framework – where nearly 200 countries committed to halt and reverse nature loss by 2030.
A delegation from Capitals Coalition attended the Conference as part of the Nature Positive Initiative, to drive support and advocate for greater alignment between action on nature and climate. More specifically, with last year’s adoption of the Global Biodiversity Framework heralding a new era for action on nature, the consensus was that this COP must deliver with action, not words. How can we move from promises to mobilisation of resources and outcomes?
As part of this conversation, the Coalition convened a diverse group of leading experts, advocates and voices alongside our partners WWF and Business for Nature to discuss how businesses, financial institutions, governments, communities and indigenous peoples, and civil society actors can take action at different scales to contribute to a nature-positive future.
The Coalition also hosted a session which highlighted the sometimes-overlooked role of financial and accounting professionals in delivering action for our natural world. Such stakeholders play a critical role in measuring and valuing business impacts and dependencies on nature, mobilizing resources and developing transparency in decision-making to build a sustainable future.
Nature took centre stage again on December 9, with a designated Nature, Land Use and Oceans Day. The day spotlighted key announcements supporting the protection and restoration of forests, mangroves, land and ocean alongside a new tranche of financial commitments. Alongside this, the COP15 and COP28 Presidencies released a joint statement which underscored the intrinsic link between climate and nature, supported by 18 countries. The statement signalled a commitment to integrate action and work collaboratively towards common objectives of the Paris Agreement and the Global Biodiversity Framework.
As the Conference concluded, some key milestones were achieved. Most critically the inclusion of the Global Biodiversity Framework in the text of the first UNFCCC global stocktake calling for alignment between the Conventions. This formalised the commitment by countries to integrate their biodiversity strategies and climate action plans and represented the first time that the two global Conventions have been officially linked.
Despite some progress and wins for nature, at the close of the Conference many felt the global meet had not gone far enough, falling short of what is needed to truly chart a new path to a nature-positive, net zero and equitable future. This view was particularly poignant from Cedric Schuster, Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States, representing 39 countries at the epicentre of the climate crisis. He reminded us that without strong commitment to decarbonizing our economies, we are signing the ‘death certificate’ for communities on the frontline of the effects of climate change.
Looking ahead towards upcoming global Conferences such as COP16, our mantra should be ‘action not words’ if we are to build towards implementation. Indeed, are we not all islands in a common sea?
Adanna Shallowe is a Senior Manager at the Coalition. Adanna leads on events at the Coalition to mobilise and engage our global community. Get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org.