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COP 25 climate action summit Madrid Spain AFD Biodiversity Conference
The 25th Conference of the Parties (COP 25) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will not be held in Chile after all, but in Madrid, Spain, from December 2 to 13. The big issues though, remain the same. Damien Navizet, Head of the Climate Change Division at Agence Française de Développement, explains them.
Damien Navizet
© Alain Goulard / AFD

What Will the COP 25 in Madrid Cover?

Several things set this COP apart. One objective is to raise awareness of the need to protect oceans, and recognize the part they play in regulating climate change

The conference also seeks to establish a close link between biodiversity and climate change. The year 2020 will bring a wealth of events on biodiversity, with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Congress in June, the United Nations Summit in September and the Biodiversity COP in China in October.

This week’s COP 25 in Madrid is expected to bring to a close negotiations on Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. Article 6 sets out the cooperation framework whereby states agree to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the consequences of climate change. 

Participating countries will have to clarify, for instance, the conditions under which carbon credits are created and exchanged. Signatory countries will then be able to concentrate on implementing their climate change plans.

Questions such as collective management of the impact of climate change in developing countries will also be part of the discussions. Financing too, will feature in the debates following the successful replenishment of the €10 billion Green Climate Fund in October.

See also: One Planet Summit: Track Our Progress Towards Our Commitments

This COP Is Also Taking Place Before a Pivotal Year in Which States Will Have to Revise Their Climate Change Plans Upward

Yes, most of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) from the year of COP 21 in Paris should be renewed in 2020. I say “should” because states are free to decide whether to update them every 5 years. In 2020, we will probably begin to see if the countries’ collective determination to fight climate change has become more ambitious.

This subject is crucial because the current NDCs are not enough to keep global warming below the agreed target of 2°C by the end of the century. This is a scientifically proven fact. At this rate, global warming is expected to reach 3.5°C by 2100. That’s a huge difference!

National climate change plans are linked to targets set for 2050, and to countries’ progress in developing low carbon alternatives to meet them. Only a minority of states have even taken up this exercise so far. Most of them are expected do so in 2020.

France set its national low carbon strategy in 2014 and reviewed it in 2018 for a goal of zero net emissions by 2050.  

At AFD, we also need to help developing countries define their own long-term approaches.

See also: Climate Change: Assessing our Ability to Adapt

What Will AFD’s Role Be at the COP?

We will be at the pavilion of the International Development Finance Club (IDFC), which is chaired by AFD. This will be an opportunity to showcase the growing role that development banks can play in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and fighting climate change – including in developing countries. 

AFD will highlight its own actions in the areas of climate change and biodiversity, including its work with vulnerable countries to implement long-term climate strategies, such as the 2050 Facility.  Its operational and adaptation tools like the Adapt’Action Facility will be presented at several events. 

In some ways, AFD can be proud of its record in climate change matters. It already dedicates 50% of its financing to projects that facilitate climate action. It has also committed to making all of its activities compatible with the Paris Agreement.  We recently calculated that projects financed in 2018 will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10.5 million metric tons of CO2 a year. We have solid experience in this area and we are consolidating our tools to keep them in line with our evolving portfolio.

However, we have also identified areas for improvement in our work on environmental matters. For example, we need to better reconcile the different ecological challenges in each project, such as climate change, biodiversity, oceans and pollution. 

We are hard at work!