COP27 Update Diary (Day 1-3)

Dr Deepa Pullanikkatil, NDC Coordinator for Eswatini

DAY 1 – 7th November

The discussions at COP27 began on 7 November 2022 with the first part of the high-level segment of COP 27 where national statements from Heads of State and Government was delivered. Speeches were given by His Excellency Mr. Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, President of Egypt, Mr. Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the UN and His Highness, Shaikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nehayan, President of UAE, climate youth activist Leah Namugerwa from Uganda, President Al Gore from USA, Prime Minister Mia Mottley from Barbados.

The President of Egypt’s speech was emphasising on “implementation” as the main focus for this COP. He said this is a unique historical moment, last chance to meet our responsibilities and wished the delegates the very best at COP 27. Guterres emphasised about sustainable energy in his speech and called on the two giants USA and China to stand up to their responsibilities. “Humanity has a choice, cooperate or perish! It is either a climate solidarity pact or a climate suicide pact!”, he said. He also said that half of climate funding should focus on adaptation and called on financial institutions to change their economic models and do their share to use tools to lever more adaptation funding. “The deadly impacts of climate change is here and now. Loss and damage can no longer be swept under the rug. It is a moral imperative and fundamental question of international solidarity and climate justice.”, he said, calling for a universal early warning coverage within the next five years. “The good news is that we know what to do. We have the financial and technological tools to get the job done. It is time for implementation and international solidarity to contribute to our climate response.”

This COP begins near the end of a year that has seen devastating floods and unprecedented heat waves, severe droughts and formidable storms, all unmistakable signs of the unfolding climate emergency. At the same time, the global crisis is causing millions of people to experience crises of energy, food, water and cost of living. A touching video was played showing the impacts of the climate crisis before the young climate activist from Uganda spoke.

Leah Namugerwa, the 18 year old climate youth activist challenged world leaders in her speech. “Is it justice for world leaders to choose profit over lives? Would you like to be remembered as leaders who did a lot of nothing?” she asked. “I have the goal of planting 1 million trees or more. What is your goal?”, Leah asked. He speech then put the focus on Africa. “Let the African COP listen to the biggest stakeholders from Africa. Let the African COP be an action COP”, she concluded.

Former President Al Gore spoke next. He said the world is not doing enough, although we have started, he said. “God has set before humanity a choice between life and death, between blessings and curse. We can continue the culture of fossil fuels and burning them recklessly in ways that create more death including 8.7 million people every year that die from air pollution, principally caused by burning of fossil fuels.”, he said. Referring to Pakistan floods where one third of land was flooding with 1,700 deaths and heatwave in China, stronger storms and rain “bombs”, a million people displaced in Nigeria and Chad each and Nile delta being salinated and droughts drying up Mississippi river in USA and Rhine in Germany were some of the examples he gave as impacts of climate change. He said that experts predict that 1 billion climate migrants will cross international boundaries affected by climate change, and this would end the possibilities of self governance. He said the impacts in Africa is even worse and the poor suffer the most. “We don’t have to choose curses, we can choose blessings, including the blessings of renewable energy. We are in the early stages of a sustainability revolution, which has the magnitude of the industrial revolution and the speed of digital revolution. If we invest in it (renewable energy) and stop subsidising the culture of death, we can save ourselves”, he concluded.

On behalf of climate scientists, Prof.  Veronica Eyring, Head of the Earth System Model Evaluation and Analysis Department at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) presented the IPCC 6th assessment report and the evidence that currently, the Earth is already about 1.1°C warmer than it was in the late 1800s, and emissions continue to rise. To keep global warming to no more than 1.5°C – as called for in the Paris Agreement – emissions need to be reduced by 45% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050.The session was

A powerful speech by HE Mia Mottley of Barbados was next. “We don’t have the power of choice”. “We have the collective capacity to transform. We know what it is to remove slavery, to put a man on a moon, a rover of Mars and to create a vaccine in 2 years. But the simple political will to deliver on our promises, seems still elusive. How much more must happen?”, she asked. She emphasised about “loss and damage”. She called on international Banks to reform and find innovative ways to expand lending from billions to trillions. She said that she prays that the delegates leave Egypt with the understanding that the things we are facing are all interconnected and that there will be peace. “Time is running out on us. We have the power of choice. Our people on this earth deserve better”, she concluded.

The video of the first day’s proceedings at COP 27 can be viewed here:

Day 2 – 8th November

Africa NDC Investor Awards

The highlight of the day was the Africa NDC Investor Award where the Kingdom of Eswatini won the Best NDC Urban Investment Initiative of the year for the project “SURE: Strengthening Urban Resilience for Eswatini through climate proofing Green, Grey and Blue Infrastructure”. This project was developed by National Disaster Management Agency with partners Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, Construction Industry Council, Municipalities, Eswatini Environment Authority and others. This project was one of four projects included in Eswatini’s Green Climate Fund Country program. The award was received by the Hon. Minister of Ministry of Tourism and Environmental Affairs.

Ms Nardos Bekele Thomas CEO of NEPAD said, “Award ceremonies symbolise moments where we stop and reflect. They are a call to demonstrate more courage and commitment to make good our policies and take action.” Bekele Thomas’s speech touched on de-risking infrastructure projects and addressing climate change. She said that Africa has abundant sunshine and wind to tap into solar and wind energy. She made a call to action to all countries “There is no plan B, there is no planet B, if not now, then when?”.

Raila Odinga, former PM of Kenya said “Africa is the richest on planet earth in terms of natural resources. But it’s the poorest continent. This is a paradox. This is a paradox that we must change. Public private partnerships that are aligned to global opportunities such as those that climate change poses are something we must tap into to close the “capital gap” that Africa has.” It is estimated that Africa needs 3 trillion dollars for Africa to implement her NDCs and climate goals. The Multilateral Development Banks will play a role in creating enabling environment for Africa’s infrastructure development. The opportunity exists in Africa with potential in hydro, geothermal, wind and solar and this transition will be faster, he said. “We must attract investors to partner with Africa. The scarce resources we have needs to be used for the benefit of our people”, said Odinga. He spoke about the Green Morocco Plan, which is a successful example of investments in Africa. The Green Morocco Plan aims to increase agricultural production and farm income, and to ensure the sustainable development of rural territories. He spoke about African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and said there is need to expand trade through trans African highways, open skies, fibre optic connections and other ways. He sees a bright future and called on Africa to create attractive conditions for private sector to invest.

“The natural capital value for Africa is 4.6trillion dollars”, said Hubert Danso, CEO of Africa Investor group. There is tremendous potential for Africa to develop, he emphasised.

Pablo Viera- head of NDC Partnership, said that Africa needs 3 trillion between 2020 to 2030 and that’s $277million a year. Private sector needs to make innovative investments and deal with risks, develop lending mechanisms that meet the demands. NDCs are powerful policy documents to create a transition to a low carbon and resilient economy. Hendrick Malan from Frost & Sullivan presented about his analysis of infrastructure projects and said that Africa can power the whole world with its solar power potential!

Before the award event, the “Just Transition Investor Alliance” was launched. The Just transition investor alliance will work on building a network of corporates that support Africa’s just transition. The website of this alliance was launched:

The representative from AU- NEPAD Estherine Fotabong said, “Trade and investment is a powerful tool to address Africa’s just transition. The Just Transition Investor Alliance platform aims to promote manufacture and finished goods to green economic zones through ACFTA. A panelist at the event said , “Rethink risk- inaction is more expensive than action. We need to rebuild trust. Human mindset and leadership issues need to be addressed”.

A panelist from International Energy Agency (IEA) said that “Just transition” is also about being part of the global energy economy. The key barrier is cost of investment, he said and then went on to provide an example. To set up a solar farm in Africa it costs 7 times more than in developed countries, he said. “Trust, transparency and Efficiency”  and early adoption of international sustainability standards will unlock investment for Africa, was the key takeway message from the discussions.

Another panelist said that the G20 economies are investing $3.2trillion in infrastructure, however these are not NDC related investment. Only 2% of global investment is going to infrastructure investment in Africa, said the panelist.

The NDC investment awards were then announced, and the categories were:

  1. Best Waste NDC Initiative of the year
  2. Best Energy NDC Initiative of the year
  3. Best transport NDC Initiative of the year
  4. Best Forestry NDC Initiative of the year
  5. Best Agriculture NDC Initiative of the year
  6. Best Education NDC Initiative of the year
  7. Best Health NDC Initiative of the year
  8. Best Urban Development NDC Initiative of the year
  9. Best Water project NDC Initiative of the year
  10. Best Tourism NDC Initiative of the year
  11. Green Infrastructure champion
  12. Just Transition champion
  13. Carbon exchange champion
  14. Presidential transport champion
  15. Presidential Water champion
  16. Presidential Agriculture champion

The President of Zambia received the award for Presidential transport champion for their project on e-mobility, which he said was a $200million industry. The President said that Congo and Zambia will work together to extract metals to make electric cars. Further details regarding the awards is available here:

Launch of new funding for LT -LEDS

At the NDC Partnership pavilion, the launch of new funding for Long Term Low Emission Development Strategy (LT-LEDS) was done. Countries can request support on a rolling basis for LT-LEDS from now until 2025. Countries were encouraged to update and enhance NDCs and align to the LT LEDS with 5 year milestones. Catalytic paradigm shifting policies, institutional frameworks and whole of society engagement that go beyond the current NDC ambition will be required, said Pablo Viera, Global Director of NDC Partnership. This support will kick start deep climate resilient building and a just transition to net zero. Application will be open for countries to apply through from 1 December 2022.

At this event, there was experience sharing from countries who have worked on LT LEDS. Uganda developed their NDC and LT LEDS simultaneously and they are both well aligned. Same modelling and same information fed into both NDC and LT LEDS, said the speaker from Uganda and this is helping raising climate ambition in Uganda. Uganda has also got a climate and disaster risk screening tool, climate budget tagging and coding and has done macro economic modelling on climate change and has also enacted their climate change law.

Ethiopia shared experiences and said that they aim to reach net zero by 2050. The discussions ensued and it was clear that technology roadmaps will be needed for NDC and LT LEDS alignment. A take home message was that we should read the synthesis report on LT LEDS that UNFCCC has done, which is available here:

Acceptance Speech at Africa NDC Investor Award – The Right Honourable Prime Minister of Eswatini (Represented by Minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Hon. Moses Vilakati)                   

The Kingdom of Eswatini is delighted to receive the award for the Best Urban Development NDC initiative of the year category, of the African NDC Investment Awards 2022. The winning proposal is “Strengthening Urban Resilience in Eswatini (SURE) through climate proofing Green, Grey and Blue Infrastructure”. This proposal was developed to address the impacts of the devastating flash floods that Eswatini experienced in the recent past, from Cyclone Idai, Cyclone Kenneth, Cyclone Eloise and extremely heavy rainfall experienced in a short span of time. These caused widespread damage to infrastructure in our cities and many businesses, property and lives were negatively affected.

We realised that our urban areas need to be resilient to such extreme weather events. Our development has hitherto considered “green infrastructure”, which is the green spaces and natural vegetation, “grey infrastructure”, which is our buildings and roads and “blue infrastructure” which is our water bodies, streams and rivers that flow through our cities, as separate entities which are managed separately. It is when extreme weather events caused the rivers in our cities to overflow, with few green spaces to buffer the impact, resulting in flash flooding that affected our buildings and created huge economic losses, that we have realised that action is needed to integrate green-grey-blue infrastructure.

Integrating green-grey-blue infrastructure and climate proofing these will provide multiple benefits and the ability to deliver environmental, social and economic benefits simultaneously, thereby being central to climate change adaptation. Green-blue infrastructures in urban spaces offer several co-benefits besides flood risk reduction, such as water savings, energy savings due to less cooling usage, air quality improvement and carbon sequestration. This is one of the rare projects where disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation go hand in hand.

I would like to acknowledge all the development partners that supported this proposal which was led by National Disaster Management Agency with support from UNIDO, UNDP, Commonwealth and NDC Partnership. I also want to recognize our team from Eswatini who are here, some of who were involved in the development of the SURE project,

Finally, I want to express our deepest appreciation to Africa Investor for conferring on us this honour. We need support to implement the SURE project and look forward to the next steps for the project and are humbled by this global recognition. Thank you!

Day 3 – 9th November

Day 3 started with an early morning meeting with the Secretary General of Commonwealth Secretariat. The Hon. Minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs Moses Vilakati led the delegation from Eswatini comprising of Principal Secretary Khangeziwe Mabuza, Chief Economist Sifiso Mamba, Director of Meteorology Duduzile Nhlengethwa-Masina, Climate Finance Advisor Sam Ogallah, Elias from Minister’s office MTEA and myself. Her Excellency Patricia Scotland congratulated Eswatini on winning the Africa NDC Investor Award for the Best Urban Development Initiative. She also offered support to Eswatini through the Commonwealth’s Living Lands Charter and other initiatives where technical assistance for mobilizing resources could be provided.

Then we moved to the NDC Partnership Pavillion at 11am, where a side event was held titled, “Alignment of National Development Plan (NDP) and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC): Experiences from the Kingdom of Eswatini”. This side event had speakers Chief Economist and Director Meteorology, with facilitator being the NDC Coordinator and the closing remarks provided by the Principal Secretary MTEA.

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Eswatini’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) process and the National Development Plan (NDP) development were aligned through join programming and coordination by Ministry of Economic Planning and Development (MEPD) and Ministry of Tourism and Environmental Affairs(MTEA). Using a “whole of Government and whole of society” approach, stakeholders were engaged in both processes with support from NDC Partnership, UNECA and UNDP. In Eswatini’s NDP, NDC measures are includes and in NDC implementation plan, alignment with NDP outcomes are articulated.

The event was livestreamed at