ECO wants all negotiators to understand that what they are doing here really does matter to the lives and futures of billions of people and ecosystems around the world. In a little over a years time, the world needs to see an ambitious and equitable agreement which does not condemn the poorest and most vulnerable to a future of disasters and permanent state of emergency. Negotiators need to make progress this week on four items related to adaptation and loss and damage in the 2015 agreement.
First, the 2015 agreement must highlight the requirement for all climate action to be guided by certain principles; in particular recognising the needs of vulnerable people, communities and ecosystems as well as rights-based approaches, gender-equity and broad participation. Though the 2010 Cancun Adaptation Framework contains some ‘guiding principles’, these aren’t even referenced in the current draft ADP text. This puts the UNFCCC 2015 agreement at risk of being the least people-centred and rights-based of the three international frameworks currently under discussion. Drafts for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the post-2015 Disaster Risk Reduction Framework contain much stronger wording on people’s needs and human rights.
Second, it is clear that emission reduction efforts must be at the core of INDCs. But some developing country groups have stressed the need for the INDCs to also cover future adaptation measures, seeing this as a way to strengthen adaptation measures in both the international and domestic contexts. ECO believes that including adaptation in INDCs should be seen as an important opportunity for all Parties to strengthen their own awareness of climate risks and adaptation needs, but stresses that important conditions must be put in place. Adaptation measures cannot replace mitigation contributions. The adaptation components of INDCs must be voluntary and countries must be able to choose when they submit these components, and if they should come alongside or separate to their mitigation pledges. Including adaptation in the INDCs should reinforce ongoing adaptation planning efforts that are already underway in the preparation of National Adaptation Plans. ECO suggests that Parties fully consider existing NAP guidance materials readily available.
Third, ECO sees the need for progress on the idea of a global adaptation goal. The Cancun Adaptation Framework represents a good start; however, it fails to link the level of adaptation action required, and the support needed for such action, with proposed levels of mitigation and associated global warming. This is a fundamental problem as temperature increases beyond 1.5°C would, in many countries, require much higher levels of adaptation, and could even exceed thresholds of what can be adapted to. The current 2015 negotiation text contains elements that could address this shortcoming, especially the idea of a global goal on adaptation. This week we need in-depth discussions on what a meaningful adaptation goal would look like, and the identification of key questions which require further work between now and Paris. In line with the expected costs in poor countries, this global goal should include an objective for public adaptation finance from developed countries (and others with similar capability). ECO also calls on Parties to create a review mechanism to assess collective progress towards fulfilment of the adaptation goal and its related objectives.
Finally, loss and damage is fast becoming a reality for millions of poor and vulnerable people worldwide. The establishment last year of an international mechanism on loss and damage was only a first step towards recognising the tragic implications of unabated climate change. ECO thinks that the 2015 agreement should recognise the Warsaw international mechanism and contain concrete provisions to increase its ability to support the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities and ecosystems. The Paris decisions must hold countries accountable for the costs of climate change impacts according to their contribution to the cause of the problem. This is necessary in order to secure additional finance for the necessary measures to address loss and damage.