Tracking Commitments at COP27
What can be said about this year’s commitments?
COP27 was characterized by moderate financial commitments which came far from matching the political commitments and strong rhetoric of the conference. Total pledges from bilateral donors amounted to approximately US$4 billion, much less than the approximately $30 billion pledged at COP26. Accurate comparison remains difficult due to pledge disbursement timeframes varying widely, and some of the funds are only a part of, or a renewal of, pledges made in 2021. At this pace, the $40 billion climate change adaptation goal, and the newly announced need for $2 trillion in climate change finance from 2025 onwards, will likely remain out of reach.
Commitment to climate change adaptation remained high (more than 50% of all financial commitments) and, for the first time, countries agreed to finance loss and damage. About US$250 million worth of pledges on loss and damage were made by 7 countries. No funds have yet been committed to the new Loss and Damage Financing Facility. Most of the pledges for loss and damage funding were allocated either to the new Global Shield Initiative, an insurance program, or to the Santiago Network for Loss and Damage, a coordination mechanism established at COP25. The distribution of funds – such as whether climate disaster funds will be part of adaptation or loss and damage funding - also remains unclear.
Climate change mitigation funds were largely labelled as "clean energy transition" funds and fell short of the funding committed to adaptation. While the move to support more adaptation projects is positive, it must be clear that this is not a decision between mitigation or adaptation, but a necessary increase of both to fully limit the causes of climate change and its impacts.
The issue with tracking
It is still a problem to record all commitments, as there are few publicly accessible official documents. Since many of the commitments are for multiple years, a direct comparison from one year to the next is not always possible. Countries also rarely explicitly state whether the funding is new (additional) or part of previous pledges. Canada, for example, only announced this year that it was renewing its pledges for 2021, while Germany also repeated its 2021 pledge to increase climate finance from € billion to €6 billion per year. The same is true for the lack of information on what kind of money countries are pledging - e.g., loans or grants - and whether it counts as ODA. Better tracking and accountability are needed to ensure that countries are delivering on their promises.
Why track commitments at COP?
COP remains the most important time of year for countries to make financial commitments to climate action. While other high-level political forums (e.g., G7, G20, or national level convenings) are also important for pledges, COP often sets the direction for climate action.
Dislaimer: While the table provides a quite comprehensive list of major commitments tracked by the SEEK Climate team over the course of COP27, the list is not exhaustive. Particular donor commitments may not have been widely available or may have conflicting reported numbers. We provide sources for all listed commitments and continue to review the data to assess its accuracy. Feel free to reach out to the Climate team with any corrections or additional information.