The conference opened with the announcement that the Loss and Damage fund—which was established to assist developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change—was being operationalised. By the end of the first week of the conference, total pledges by all countries amounted to US$726 million. Despite the forward progress this represents, these pledges fall far short of the sums required.
The theme of adaptation carried over from COP27, with negotiations emphasising the need for support for adaptation strategies. The final text relating to the global goal on adaptation sets out seven specific targets for 2030, including accelerating the use of ecosystem-based adaptation and nature-based solutions. In respect of national adaptation actions, the final decision related to the global goal on adaptation emphasises that action should be guided not only by the best available science but also traditional knowledge, Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge, local knowledge systems, ecosystem-based adaptation, nature-based solutions, locally led and community-based adaptation, disaster risk reduction, and intersectional approaches. Yet, the text also notes with concern that the current provision of climate finance for adaptation remains insufficient to respond to worsening climate change impacts. It reiterates the call for developed countries to at least double their collective provision of climate finance for adaptation from 2019 levels by 2025 to support developing countries in achieving goals related to, among other things, the preservation and regeneration of nature.
The final day of negotiations saw the decision on the first ‘Global Stocktake’ released, branded the “central outcome of COP28 because it contains every element that was under negotiation and can now be used by countries to develop stronger climate action plans” (which are due by 2025). The decision left many countries feeling disappointed that nature did not receive more prominent treatment. It references the urgent need to address the interlinked global crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. Yet, this text can do little more than continue reminding countries of the benefits of conservation and nature-based solutions, leaving specific action items to the purview of each country when preparing its next nationally determined contribution.