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2022 in climate diplomacy: key tasks and milestones

The year ahead in climate diplomacy - part two

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Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Environment, Egypt and Wael Aboulmagd, Egyptian diplomat at the closing plenary of COP26. COP27, a key climate diplomacy moment, will be held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. Photo by UN Climate Change on Flickr.
Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Environment, Egypt and Wael Aboulmagd, Egyptian diplomat at the closing plenary of COP26. COP27, a key climate diplomacy moment, will be held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. Photo by UN Climate Change on Flickr.

In Part I of this blog, we mapped the opportunity space for climate diplomacy this year.

The spotlight is shining on unlocking real money to deal with climate impacts, implementation beyond target-setting to get emissions reduction onto the 1.5˚C pathway, new forms of financing partnerships for joint climate and development objectives, and hardwiring accountability and delivery into the climate governance system to accelerate delivery in the rest of this critical decade.

But how can the multilateral milestones of 2022 deliver progress on climate diplomacy?

View a PDF of this roadmap here.

                             

To drive action this year, we see three major diplomatic tasks for climate actors:

1. Coordinating a diplomatic rhythm to maintain political attention on mitigation ambition, solidarity and delivery.

The right diplomacy at the right time is key to getting countries to deliver this year. Tightly coordinating tactics –  setting expectations, making offers, and deploying (diplomatic) arguments – and their timing, is essential. This can ensure effective diplomacy to both ‘push’ and ‘pull’ countries to shift up ambition and implementation of emissions reductions in the 2020s. Countries will be prompted to step up on solidarity, including commitments to double adaptation finance.

The task of coordinating this diplomatic rhythm should be high up on the to-do list of actors hosting key platforms this year. This includes the UK and Egyptian COP Presidencies, the German and Indonesian G7/G20 Presidencies, the US (chairing the MEF) as well as moral leaders like the UNSG and key climate vulnerable and Global South political voices.

2. Navigating the complex web of partnerships and initiatives.

The various initiatives aiming to support countries in planning and funding their climate transitions have potential to build country-led financing partnerships. These can ensure the confidence, political and fiscal space for major emitters to commit to more ambitious climate action. But the G7 countries’ three infrastructure investment platforms (the US Build Back Better World, UK Clean Green Initiative, and EU Global Gateway), the Energy Transition Council, the US Net Zero World and China’s green BRI initiatives are currently pitted in competition with each other for geopolitical attention. And there’s a complex web of other initiatives like the NDC Partnership, the Access to Finance Taskforce and those run by the Climate Investment Funds.

Diplomats need to coordinate between their various initiatives to offer targeted support that is aligned with countries’ own development priorities. A diversity of formats – G7, G20, and beyond – is needed to bring the right people around the same table for discussions.

3. Hardwire accountability structures into the architecture of the global climate regime to keep momentum into 2023.

Foundations laid this year are key to setting up an effective global climate regime with integrity for the 2020s. The continuation of the Global Stocktake in 2022 will shine a light on progress (or lack thereof) across the Paris Agreement to date. It brings an opportunity to initiate a high-ambition political outcome next year (but is aimed at informing new Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for 2035 and beyond, rather than enhancing current NDCs).

Other opportunities include the UN Secretary General’s expert group on net zero, the design of the pre-2030 ambition and implementation work programme at the UNFCCC (which could provide scrutiny of sectoral decarbonisation in the 2020s) as well as dialogues on the Global Goal on Adaptation and the post-2025 finance goal.

This year also presents an opportunity to further embed considerations about just transitions into climate dialogues, through spaces such as the IEA and Denmark-hosted Global Commission on People-Centred Clean Energy Transitions.  

This is far from a comprehensive ‘to do’ list, nor an exhaustive calendar. But in thinking through what the year ahead holds, actors can have the agency to begin the hard-yards diplomacy that will ensure 2022 is yet another historic year for climate action.

This article was released as part of E3G’s February 2022 newsletter, Climate diplomacy in 2022: shaping the rhythm of delivery. Subscribe to future E3G newsletters here

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