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“This momentum is irreversible” - Countries show unity at UN Climate Summit (COP22 )

COP22 - Marrakech | ©UN/UNRIC C. Petit

21 November 2016 – Following twelve days of negotiations, the UN Climate Conference (COP22) in Marrakech ended on Friday. In the final proclamation, Heads of Governments reiterated their promise to combat climate change “with the highest political commitment”.

Representatives from 196 countries travelled to Morocco in order to follow-up on the historic Paris Climate Agreement, which was adopted in 2015 at COP21. In this binding international agreement, countries promised to keep global temperature rises well below 2 degrees.

After the conference in Paris had established what should be achieved, Government representatives met in Morocco for the first time to discuss how these ambitious goals can be turned into reality. The more technical agenda, surrounding discussions on financing, data collection and measurability, led many to expect a less turbulent conference compared to Paris. However, this assumption proved mostly wrong.

Governments set a deadline of 2018 to complete the rule book for operationalizing the Paris Agreement to ensure confidence, cooperation and its success over the years and decades to come.

Multi-billion and multi-million dollar packages of support for clean technologies; building capacity to report on climate action plans, and initiatives to boost water and food security in developing countries were also among the many new announcements and initiatives launched.

In the aftermath of the US elections, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon – who made the Paris Agreement part of his legacy – said that he counts on the US, “as an essential actor across the international agenda”, in the fight against climate change. “Addressing climate change is critical to protecting our planet, safeguarding the most vulnerable and advancing shared prosperity. Climate action is irreversible and unstoppable”, he added.

Governments made progress across key areas of climate action, including climate finance, adaptation, capacity building, technology and gender-responsiveness. 

Climate finance

  • Countries pledged more than $81 million to the Adaptation Fund, surpassing its target for the year.
  • Countries pledged over $23 million to the Climate Technology Centre and Network, which supports developing countries with climate technology development and transfer. As the implementation arm of the Technology Mechanism, the CTCN is a key institution to enable nations realize their commitments under the Paris Agreement.
  • The Green Climate Fund (GCF) announced the approval of the first two proposals for the formulation of National Adaptation Plans: Liberia for $2.2 million and Nepal for $2.9 million. Another 20 countries are expected to have their proposals approved soon with up to $3 million each.
  • Overall, the GCF is on track to approve $2.5 billion worth of projects

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa commented very positively on the outcome of Marrakech: “During COP 22, the strength, the support for and the robustness of the Paris Agreement was furthered underlined, with nine more ratifications received at the UN in New York and the promise of many more to come. Nations reaffirmed that the agreement is in their national interests and a key catalyst to a better, more prosperous future for their citizens”.

COP 22 saw almost 500 Heads of State or Government and Ministers attend. It also witnessed the first meeting of the Paris Agreement’s top governing body following early entry into force of the Paris Agreement on 4 November.

At the close, Fiji was announced as the incoming President of the 2017 UN climate conference (COP23) which will be hosted by the UNFCCC in Bonn. 

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