COP27: A chance to act - we can still make a difference


COP27: A chance to act - We can still make a difference

Published by UNDP on 2 November 2022

The 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP27, comes at the tail end of a record-smashing summer for the northern hemisphere.

Punishing early spring heatwaves in South Asia killed hundreds. Many countries recorded the highest temperatures since records began, more than 120 years ago. Europeans experienced their hottest summer in 500 years, accompanied by wildfires, droughts and death. Major rivers reached record low levels. In August a third of Pakistan flooded, with devastating consequences for its people and economy. China experienced its hottest temperature ever, and several cities in Iraq became the hottest places on earth, with temperatures of more than 50C/122F. Hurricane Ian, which slammed the Caribbean and the United States, offered further proof that no country is immune from the effects of climate change.

These events are not an aberration. The last seven years have been the hottest ever recorded. And they’re just a taste of what to expect if we continue to fail to act on global heating.

There is no time to lose. We are rapidly approaching dangerous tipping points for every aspect of human life, from our health and safety, our natural environment, our economies, to our property and infrastructure.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has said climate action must be our “top global priority”.

Change is possible, hope is imperative

And yet the future is not written. The climate and nature crises are not inevitable. We can still make a difference.

We know what we need to do, and how to make our planet clean, sustainable, and equitable. We have the technology and the evidence to act. What we need more than anything is political will and investment.

COP27, taking place in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, is an opportunity to stop talking and start acting.

Change is happening around us, and the Paris Agreement points the way. 

A photo in this story

A photo in this story

COP27 will be about “planning for implementation” for all the promises and pledges around net-zero commitments, the protection of forests and climate finance made last year during COP26 in Glasgow. Photos: Shutterstock

Last year, COP26 laid the groundwork for further, and more ambitious action. The Glasgow Climate Pact aimed to turn the 2020s into a decade of committed climate action—ramping up efforts to ensure that we are resilient in the face of climate change, while at the same time curbing greenhouse gas emissions. For the first time, nations were called on to phase out coal power and inefficient—and inequitable—fossil fuel subsidies.

Each country’s national pledge – their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) – offers a unique blueprint for immediate climate action. NDCs are politically- backed tools for defining and advancing sustainable development pathways.

In country after country, UNDP has witnessed, alongside our key partners, the transformation that takes place when leadership, political will and investment come together.

UNDP has been supporting governments and citizens on the frontlines of climate action and has seen firsthand the benefits and opportunities of investing in NDCs. UNDP’s Climate Promise supports 84 percent of all developing country NDC submissions.

Our Global Policy Network has a vast portfolio of multilateral, bilateral, and vertical funds. The Nature, Climate and Energy portfolio spans 137 countries and 802 projects, including the UN’s largest portfolio on climate.

UNDP’s Sustainable Energy Hub is helping deliver on these targets while simultaneously accelerating progress towards other SDGs. The Sustainable Finance Hub is supporting governments, the private sector and international financial institutions to ramp up financing for the SDGs.

Country targets

To pay for urgent climate action, UNDP is working with the Indonesian government as it becomes a world leader in “green sukuks”—Islamic bonds which have raised more than US$2.75 billion.

Lebanon has focused on integrating the economic and societal benefits of climate action by aligning its NDCs with national development plans. A Lebanon Green Investment Facility will support projects and financial instruments for the private sector. UNDP is supporting these efforts alongside the World Bank and the Islamic Development Bank.

Peru has estimated that around 40 percent of the US$91 billion funding gap needed to implement its NDC priorities between now and 2030 is best suited for private sector investments. Plans for green finance and for private and finance sector engagement have been prepared, along with a permanent consultative group that includes 20 of the country’s largest business groups. Preparations for green bonds and carbon bonds are well underway.

As Serbia begins the move away from coal as the dominant energy source it’s also ensuring that the transition is equitable. With support from UNDP, the government of Japan and the EU, the government is defining a strategy to ensure that all those dependent on the intensive use of fossil fuels will not be left behind. Business models and green technology investments that help to de-carbonize the economy and industry will be advanced.

UNDP and ILO worked with Zimbabwe on a green jobs assessment. It found climate policies present a huge potential for job creation, especially for women and young people. In conservation agriculture alone, up to 30,000 jobs could be created for every $1million invested.

The right side of history

The decisions we make today will affect not only the almost 8 billion people who live on our planet, but every person in every generation to come.

We do not need to choose between solving the energy crisis, the food security crisis, the biodiversity crisis and the climate crisis.

Every dollar invested in renewable energy creates three times more jobs than in the fossil fuel industry, while energy efficiency investments can create five times as many.

Early adaptation investments offer a 1:3 rate of return over the next decade, and a $1.8 trillion investment in adaptation measures would save $7.1 trillion in avoided costs.

Sustainably managed forests could create $230 billion in business opportunities and 16 million jobs by 2030.

UNDP calls on all governments, private sector, civil society and communities to champion and invest in responding to this global emergency.

We need political will, technical and financial support to drive the much-needed transformation toward net zero and climate resilience. The world has made promises through NDCs – now we must fulfill them.

For the original article and additional visuals, visit