The twenty-second session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) to the UNFCCC and the twelfth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, (CMP12), or the Marrakech Climate Change Conference, opened on Monday, November 7, in Marrakech, Morocco. COP22 is also being called the “COP of Action” as it will focus on implementing the climate change agreement concluded in Paris at COP21 in 2015, and reached implementation level on November 4. In her opening remark, Ms. Segolene Royal, the President of COP21 in Paris, underlined that, “the rapid entry into force of the Paris Agreement is unprecedented and sends a powerful signal of world’s commitment to combating climate change.”
Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, President Salahedine Mezouar, who was elected as President of COP22, welcomed all participants to Marrakech for “the two weeks of climate change action” which would include a historic first meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement that will take place on November 15. He called on all participants to commit to concretize the impact of climate change especially in Africa, as well as the least developed and small island developing states. He said: “Paris gave us a global commitment to climate change and COP22 in Marrakech will give us more ambitious climate action. We must all rise to the challenge in support of the most vulnerable countries in the fight against climate change.” He also announced that during COP22, Morocco, along with a number of partners, will launch the National Determined Contributions Partnership to build capacity and direct climate finance flows towards the most vulnerable. He reiterated the importance of accelerating climate finance, innovation, transfer and capacity building to create the low-carbon economy the planet needs to stay below the 2 degree Celsius mark of global warming. Earlier on Sunday (November 6), Mr. Mezouar emphasized the importance of reaching tangible commitments from States and civil society during the 11-day conference particularly in the areas of climate finance and adaptation. He said: “We’re changing the paradigm towards a low-carbon global economy that needs key climate finance flows to the most vulnerable countries.”
On November 8, the second day of the 22nd Conference of Parties (COP22), the Global Action Agenda was officially launched. The Global Action Agenda allows for further actions from the states to give roles to the official non-governmental players (civil society organizations, private companies, cities, regions and investors) and their initiatives. On the same day, a number of African ministers in charge of water resources took part in a side event organized in the Moroccan pavilion during which they stressed the relevance of putting water issues at the top of the COP22 agenda in light of the drastic impact of climate change on water resources. The meeting underscored a need to further consolidate enhancing the issue of water resilience adopted in the Paris agreement.
Ethiopia has been spearheading for the launch of a globally binding agreement to curb the emissions of carbon both at the national level and actively participating in almost all international forums relating to climate change. The country has already announced that it will create a carbon neutral economy and reduce emissions by 64% by 2030. Ethiopia is now the chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum elected for the period 2016-2017 by the leaders of the Forum in December 2015. The Climate Vulnerable Forum, established in 2009, is a coalition of the 43 countries from Africa, Asia and Oceania and Latin America that are the most vulnerable to the negative consequences of climate change. The Climate Vulnerable Forum was largely responsible for getting agreement at Paris to adopt a lower global warming ceiling of 1.5 C. As chair of the Forum, Ethiopia was tasked to lead the Forum’s approach to the summit.
COP22 will cover numerous themes including migration, resilience and health; industry and cost; transport and innovation, territories and oceans, heritage and security, gender and health, and finance and energy. Over 40 Heads of State and 30 Heads of Government are expected to attend the Marrakech Conference. 30,000 members of civil society are expected to participate in the Green Zone and nearly 20,000 more as delegates in the Blue Zone, and with the presence of thousands of experts from all over the world, the event is a prime opportunity to exchange information and best practices to strengthen cooperation on finding ways to produce sustainable, secure and smart energy affordable for all.