Press Release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs
At the conclusion of the Flagship Event on the occasion of Guyana’s Chairmanship of the Group of 77 and China
The virtual Flagship Event under the theme “Maintaining a Low Carbon Development Path towards the 2030 Agenda in the Era of COVID-19” was convened on 29 October 2020 by His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, on the occasion of Guyana’s 2020 Chairmanship of the Group of 77 and China.
The Event brought together Ministers and senior policy makers of developing countries to facilitate awareness and partnership building, knowledge sharing and lesson-learning with respect to climate action amidst the COVID-19 crisis, while recovering towards the 2030 Agenda; to reinforce the position of developing countries on key issues on climate change, including climate finance and ecosystem-based approaches, while contributing to maximize Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) co-benefits, and, to highlight the main concerns and actions of the Group.
The discourse was informed by a keynote message by His Excellency Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary General.
This Communique highlights key messages emanating from the Flagship Event. Key Messages:
1. Five years ago, all Parties agreed to keep global warming to well below two degrees and to pursue efforts to work towards 1.5 degrees, reflecting the principle of equity, common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. Noting with concern the serious gaps in pre-2020 ambitions and implementation by developed countries, Developing countries including small islands and low lying coastal developing states are facing increasing challenges imposed by climate change, but are least equipped to respond to these impacts.
2. While countries have pledged to implement policies and measures through their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), Parties have different responsibilities and capabilities. Developed countries are not only obliged to act, but they also have the financial and fiscal capabilities to raise mitigation ambition and emission reduction targets to a level that will enable achievement of the goals under the Paris Agreement, and to provide finance, technology development and transfer, and capacity building support to Developing Countries. Developing countries, including those of the Group of 77 and China, are stymied in realising their ambition to act because they face unsurmountable financing challenges.
3. The COVID-19 pandemic is having increasingly serious impacts on all countries and have exposed underlying vulnerabilities of health and social systems and the fragility of economies, especially among developing countries. All countries have been affected with shrunk economies and diversion of resources to fund health related economic stimulus. It is also recognised that both climate change and COVID-19 can impact progress towards the SDGs. It is therefore critical that there be a commitment to affirmative action on climate change rather than a lowering of ambition.
4. Against this backdrop, financing for mitigation and adaptation to climate change is more critical today than ever before. To date, developed countries have failed to live up to their obligation to provide new, additional, predictable and adequate climate financing to assist Developing Countries in realising their ambition to grow along low carbon pathways and develop resiliency. Developed countries have also not lived up to their obligation to promote, facilitate and finance the transfer of, or access to, environmentally sound technologies and know-how to Developing Countries.
5. The goal of mobilising $100 billion annually by 2020 remains on the distant horizon and there is a lack of transparency in efforts to track it. Tracking methodologies have been determined without the involvement of recipient countries. It is essential that developed countries recognise that it is in all countries’ interest to address this issue, and find solutions with urgency. In doing so, the countries of the Group of 77 and China have to be included in devising the methodology for tracking climate finance. Shortfalls that are identified need to be communicated openly and honestly. This means that by CoP 26 in Glasgow, trust can be built and the finance gap can be reduced significantly. Developing Countries remain committed to investing in renewable energy sources and reducing dependence on fossil fuels, but most countries can only do this if adequate finance and financing mechanisms are available to overcome obstacles that are currently preventing countries from realising their ambition.
6. If the obligations and commitments by developed countries are fully delivered, developing countries have an opportunity to unleash the potential of many nationally-led solutions proposed by the Group of 77 and China, including the energy transition in small states (including SIDS), as well as larger countries’ proposals on incentivising affordable private finance investment in renewable energy. Rainforest countries also remain willing to reduce and avoid deforestation and practice sustainable forest management and conservation with the proper financial incentives. In order for many of the aforementioned opportunities to come to fruition, it is essential that the provisions agreed in the Paris Agreement for Internationally Transferable Mitigation Outcomes (ITMOs) be operationalized by CoP 26.
7. Apart from ensuring the significant public-funded component of climate finance by developed countries, more resources can be leveraged and mobilised from other sources. It is essential that collaboration is boosted through urgent action to update the policies and financial tools of the international system to incentivise private sector participation in ambitious climate action.
8. It should be recognised that a few countries have pioneered workable, home grown models that have incentivised moving to a low carbon growth trajectory while also addressing emission reduction and removals for example through avoided deforestation. Guyana’s efforts in this regard are recognised through its Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) and payment for forest climate services model between Guyana and Norway which has incentivised sustainable forest management and avoided deforestation. This represents the first national scale model of REDD+ and one of the first national level strategies on low carbon development. The success of the LCDS and Guyana-Norway model helped support the development of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, which provided the opportunity for the trading of internationally transferable mitigation outcomes. Work is underway to operationalise this, which could realise wider participation by forest countries in REDD+. Guyana will be realigning its LCDS to take on board payment for ecosystem services while redoubling efforts at building climate resilience and diversifying and growing the economy along a low carbon growth path. A wider range of financing options will be pursued to include bilateral, multilateral and private capital.
9. Given that CoP 26, which was originally scheduled for November 2020, has been postponed a full year, it is essential that comprehensive, balanced, and meaningful dialogue continue. The Group of 77 & China will use the opportunity to work with all Parties to enable the Glasgow CoP to deliver successful and meaningful outcomes.