Address by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the first Global Stock-Take High Level Segment of the United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP 28), Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 2 December 2023
Developing countries have borne the brunt of the adverse effects of climate change.
Yet, they have still not received anywhere near the required multilateral support to face the climate challenge, especially for building climate resilience.
It is a serious concern that commitments by countries with developed economies have not been met and very little funding has been channelled through the financial mechanism of the UNFCCC, including the Green Climate Fund and the Adaptation Fund.
The Global Stocktake should send a clear signal that historical commitments need to be honoured and the financial mechanism we have collectively designed to address climate change should receive priority support.
Securing ambitious funding for the newly launched Loss and Damage Fund presents a clear opportunity for a course correction.
I congratulate the COP 28 President for the adoption of the decision to operationalise the loss and damage fund and thank those countries that have already made generous donations.
At COP28, we need to recommit to multilateralism.
It is our expectation that the Global Stocktake will signal a firm commitment to a real partnership between the global North and South that delivers concrete outcomes.
The scaling of climate finance remains a critical enabler for developing countries to meet their climate commitments.
While there is much focus on scaling climate funding through mobilising private sector finance, we must also ensure that public sector projects have access to the adequate levels of affordable finance.
Finance flows in support of pathways towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development need to be guided by the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.
We need to avoid an untenable situation where the burden of responsibility for financing climate action is transferred to developing economies, which have contributed the least towards the global carbon stock.
Debt reform needs to be central in the finance discussions.
We need a new partnership to substantively reform the Multilateral Development Banks, so that they can provide a significant and increased share of new investments in climate-resilient and low-emissions growth.
The Global Stocktake presents an opportunity to correct the distorted narrative on technology and intellectual property.
Developing countries need access to clean and green technologies at an affordable price.
There needs to be financial support for technological innovation in developing economies and a willingness by investors to offer off-take agreements that will support local industrial production.
The Global Stocktake further needs to address the concerning trend of unilateral and coercive trade distorting measures taken in the name of implementing the Paris Agreement.
Unilateral carbon border taxes that reverse financial flows from the Global South to the Global North and transfer the burden of climate action to the most vulnerable are unacceptable.
These measures undermine the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and capabilities and will damage developing economies, undermining progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
Finally, we need a new partnership to support the just pathways chosen by sovereign countries towards low emissions and climate resilient development.
Significantly scaled-up grant-based support is needed for just transitions, recognising that there can be no one-size-fits-all formula for the transition away from fossil fuels.
Workers and communities currently dependent on the fossil fuel value chain need viable alternative livelihoods. They cannot live on promises.
We need to provide a sustainable and just transition path for all and ensure that no-one is left behind.
I thank you.
Issued by: The Presidency