COP27 must address challenges of the developing world

LONDON, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Next month's U.N. climate summit must do more to include the developing world, financial and industry leaders told the Reuters IMPACT conference this week, as global warming reaches a critical juncture for the poorest nations.

The gulf between the Global South and the developed world, in terms of climate effects and mitigation, is coming sharply into focus ahead of the COP27 meeting in Egypt.

"Africa's contribution to all the carbon out there, is about 3% ... but the ten countries most affected by climate change are in Africa," Sudanese-British billionaire businessman Mo Ibrahim said at the conference. "Without power, there is no education, no schools, no jobs, no healthcare; you cannot have human life."

Developing countries are increasing demands for wealthier, carbon-emitting nations to pay for climate-induced disasters like floods and fires.

Egypt, an oil and gas producer considered highly vulnerable to climate change, has positioned itself as a champion for African interests as it prepares to host the COP27 summit in Sharm el-Sheikh.

African ministers who met in Cairo last month called for a sharp expansion of climate financing for their continent while pushing back against an abrupt move away from fossil fuels.

"There's been a broken dialogue at COP," said Julien Perez, Vice President of Strategy and Policy at the Oil & Gas Climate Initiative. "Europe and the U.S. talk to each other, but they leave out the developing world."

"This COP ... needs to persuade the world that we're going in the right direction," said Peter Hill, CEO of last year's COP26 in Glasgow. "And that we're doing it in a way that is collaborative and based on trust and solidarity."

"Loss and damage will be one of the big issues of COP27," said Hill. "You can expect to find the UK at the more progressive end of this issue."

Andrew Steer, the chief executive of Jeff Bezos' environmental fund, told the conference the Amazon billionaire's Bezos Earth Fund was seeking to build a coalition with African and European countries around the U.N. climate summit to add heft to land restoration efforts in Africa.

The fund is championing a cause to begin reversing deforestation and land degradation on 100 million hectares in Africa by 2030, said Steer. The so-called AFR100 initiative is led by some African Union countries.

"African farmers are suffering appallingly from climate change," Steer said. Restoration's goal would be reducing carbon in the atmosphere and "better incomes for farmers, better food security, more resilient soils."

"Rich countries are going to have to play a bigger role on creating resilience on helping poor countries and poor citizens to adapt."

Elizabeth Mrema, executive secretary of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity, said there were still too many outstanding commitments from COP26 in Glasgow last year and gatherings prior to that which had not been followed through.

"There is no use adding new commitments if they’re not there yet," Mrema said. "This is the time to connect the dots ... no action is not an option."

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Writing by Jane Wardell Editing by Mark Potter

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