/ 24 October 2022

Creecy at Cop27: Developed countries must honour climate funding promises

Environmental Affairs Minister Barbra Creecy Photo Delwyn Verasamy
Barbara Creecy, Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment. (Photo: Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)

Forestry, Fisheries and Environment Minister Barbara Creecy has called on developed countries to take action and honour the climate funding they promised to developing countries to help them with transitioning from coal to cleaner energy.

Speaking at the national stakeholder consultation on South Africa’s position for the climate change negotiations at COP27 on Monday, Creecy who is part of South Africa’s negotiation team said she would like to see developed nations honouring their R100-billion pledge to developing countries.

“We need to know when the 100-billion target will be met because this is a fundamental issue around trust and rebuilding trust between developed and developing countries and, as I have said before, we need to make sure that the finance is quantifiable and predictable and does not exacerbate existing indebtedness,” she said.

COP27 should be seen as an “implementation COP”, including by ensuring that the gap between climate finance pledges and actual flow was closed. 

“We need to rebuild trust between developed and developing countries by fulfilling commitments [and] we need clear commitments to supporting just transitions in developing countries,” Creecy argued. She warned of a trust deficit on the back of the failure of rich countries to honour their previous $100-billion-a-year climate promise. This pledge was made in 2009 at COP15 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

South Africa, which entered into a Just Energy Transition Partnership, or JETP, with France, Germany, the US, the UK and the European Union at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, in 2021 is expected to unveil its Just Energy Transition Investment Plan, or JET-IP, at COP27. This plan hasn’t been made public yet but it’s with the cabinet and will be unveiled during COP27.

Just transition

Creecy said South Africa would use COP27 as a platform to call for greater support for just transitions in Africa as a whole, “starting with energy transitions”.

South Africa would push for the establishment of a people-centred Just Energy Transition Financing Framework at the climate conference, to be held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, in early November.

“A key outcome for COP27 should be the establishment of a Just Energy Transition Financing Framework that is people-centred,” Creecy told stakeholders.

South Africa would also explore the reform of development banks so countries that faced climate emergencies could access necessary finance, without creating debt. 

She added the country would use COP27 to call for “new, quantifiable and predictable” finance, based on the needs of developing countries, and backed by a collectively negotiated implementation roadmap.

“The framework would further enable ambitious climate action by developing countries while making financial flows consistent with the pathway towards low-emission and climate-resilient development.”

The country would also be seeking a fairer balance between mitigation and adaptation financing and resolution of the thorny issue of finance for loss and damage caused by climate events.

“South Africa was aiming to secure a JET-IP deal that not only mobilised finance, but which unlocked it in a way that supported the objectives of economic inclusion, job creation and environmental sustainability.”

Loss and damage

She added that the country, together with other African countries, would fight for funds for loss and damage at COP27 and saw the conference as a chance to finalise agreements on the governance of loss and damage under the convention.

South Africa had called for increased funding for adaptation under the Global Goal on adaptation. This goal caters for adjustment to current and projected impacts of climate change and includes measures such as flood and drought management; water and energy conservation and resilient infrastructure for changing weather conditions.

Last year, countries signed a Glasgow Climate Pact which requested that countries revisit and strengthen their 2030 emission-reduction plans, called Nationally Determined Contributions, by the end of this year.

As a result of the global energy crunch, many countries have backtracked on using coal. 

Early this month, the cabinet endorsed the JET-IP, which could help unlock $8.5-billion in climate-change financing, primarily in the form of concessional loans, as well as some grants, from the JETP partners.

South Africa expected to use the finance to enable moving investments, primarily in the electricity sector, and provide grant funding to support a “just transition” for workers and communities linked to the coal sector.

“Given the enormity of resources that will be required by developing countries over the next 10 to 15 years, we understand that these resources are not only going to be met through financing,” she said.