Looking back: what were the key results of the 46th intersessional UNFCCC conference? And what about forests?

 

by Naomi van den Berg

Now, a week after the finalization of the 46th intersessional climate change conference of the United Nations, plenty of time for reflection has passed. This means it is time for a good recap of the conference.

Such an international, multi-stakeholder platform may seem pretty overwhelming. Lots of different topics and documents were discussed, many of which require a second, third or fourth (or umpteenth time, no one is judging) thorough reading. Granted, with a few ‘wait, what does this acronym stand for again?’ moments before they start to make sense. Therefore, for you, the fellow foresters, I composed a short overview of the key achievements reached at this conference, both at the general level and the more forest-specific level. Hopefully, this will help you get more familiarized with what exactly happens at UNFCCCs and what IFSA’s contribution to this conference has been. Ultimately, basically, why the F in UNFCCC should stand for forest instead of framework.

 

Alright, so the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) embodies the climate talks done at an international (and multi-stakeholder) level. Diplomats flying over from all parts of the world gathered this month in Bonn, Germany, in order to further prepare themselves for the next Conference of Parties (COP), of which the 23rd edition will take place November this year. Indeed, meeting once a year at the COPs alone is not enough to discuss something as complicated and dynamic as climate change. These intersessional meetings – even though they may seem less cool than the COPs – are now vital for the success of the execution and operationalizing the Paris Agreement. A pretty indispensable underdog of a conference if you ask me.

 

So okay, operationalizing… yet another fancy word. What it means is the following: the Paris Agreement needs to be implemented, and for this to happen in clear pathways, we also need a very, very clear set of rules. This set of rules, however, has a deadline: namely COP24 (November 2018). You may think: ‘ah, well, that is pleeeeenty of time! No sweat!’ Well, yes sweat. Because the negotiations leading up to such official, binding documents are slow. Although this progress may be slow, it is definitely steady.

 

A special aspect about this UNFCCC, is that it was the first one that took place in the ‘era’ of Trump’s administration. Peculiar? The USA sent a way smaller group of delegates to Bonn (a mere 7 as opposed to 44 last year). Trump, a climate change skeptic, now leader of a big country that significantly steers climate change’s future course. The same guy promised his voters to pull the USA out of the Paris Agreement[1]. And yes, this fact led to an increased level of uncertainty among those countries whose representatives actually do care about the celebrated and deemed ‘historic’ Paris Agreement. But everyone realizes that this historic value of the Paris Agreement lays in the fact the large actors, the big guys, all ratified it. With the leading greenhouse gas emitter, the USA, pulling out of the contract, the fear of a potential domino effect is not a completely irrational one.

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Trump pulling the plug out of the Paris Agreement?

 

However, besides some worrisome signs, the actual pulling of the plug has not been done yet. And maybe, Trump will take the subtle hint provided by the Pope (May 24th, a few days ago) and actually never live up on his campaign pledge. For now, we remain hopeful, with a slight yet incessant eye on the USA.

 

Okay, so this set of rules, what do they govern? They mainly govern matters of communicating, monitoring and financing climate mitigation (reducing factors leading up to climate change) and adaptation (alleviating response to climate change impacts) efforts. How will countries be held accountable for their promises? How can the most successful transfer and transparency of technology be realized? What about tracking and registering carbon emissions? A start to formulating these rules was made at the COP22 conference, a year after the Paris Agreement was born at the COP21 conference.

 

The official concluding statement released by UNFCCC[2] outlines the many more in-detail stepping stones that were achieved during this intersessional. For example, further boarding up of rules regarding adaptation was accomplished through interactive Technical Expert Meetings on Adaptation (TEMA). And yes, we were able to contribute to these sessions, facilitated by Musonda Mumba –important figure within UNEP – in which we were able to ask questions to the country delegates present, but also to those representing non-governmental organizations (such as the private sector). Our contributions, as stated by Mumba, would be processed in the official documents that serve as the basis of COP23. This may sound pretty far-fetched, but this type of platform did allow us, the foresters, to ask questions about for example (trans-national) forest management. After all, both climate mitigation and adaptation cannot exclude forests.

 

The conference was concluded with a lengthy plenary session, in which each of the agenda items + amendments to the documents, such as SBSTA (Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice), were taken to the floor for each country to give some final comments on. For example, one of the stepping-stones reached in this conference was successful furthering the negotiations regarding the Paris Agreements’ goal to enhance transparency[3].

 

However, some obstacles are often still in the very fundamentals of the commitment associated with the Paris Agreement. For instance, the nature of certain commitments is formulated as “on a voluntary basis”, which of course is very much up to the country’s own interpretation. The legal pretentions are frankly countless to a law layperson like me.

Another light in an otherwise dark and twisty tunnel that is called climate finance, is offered in the form of a 800 million euro donation by the European Union for the sake of “increasing cooperation” to struggling countries in the Pacific region (this region will be in the spotlight the next COP, as it will be organized by Fiji).  This fund is i.a. meant to help climate adaptation and mitigation strategies in this region get off the ground.

 

And now, more specifically of interest to us, the foresters: what about carbon? A big point on the agenda for this intersessional conference in Bonn was Article 6 of the Paris Agreement regarding the formulation of a global carbon stock market. Carbon pricing is a difficult discussion and we expect that this discussion will take some time to be finalized, however, current issues with the concept have been identified and captured in the informal notes. This will form an important basis for the continuation of the discussion during COP23. This discussion has included mentions of capturing carbon and the idea of negative carbon emissions (see my blog post: Carbon, carbon, carbon and a billion trees). And yes, capturing carbon requires some serious (re)considerations of forest restoration and management.

 

Alright, now, let’s come back to IFSA’s part in all of this. In particular during technical expert meetings, IFSA’s voice was heard. These meetings often allowed for a more in depth discussion, as they are ‘technical’ in nature. These meetings often take more than a day and discuss a specific part of the APA (Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement) to ultimately ameliorate it or complement it.  Representing forestry students, we found it important that our voice was heard and actively reciprocated. This way, we put pressure on the international community at the UNFCCC to talk about forests.

 

So yes, forests will be discussed during the next big climate conference: COP23. And I am eager to see how this discussion will translate to a bigger inclusion of forestry in supranational climate adaptation and mitigation policies! I hope by now you are too. Let the F in UNFCCC stand for Forest!

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[1] The US delegate did restate during this intersessional that Trump is not planning on continuing the USA’s contribution to the Green Climate Fund – the previously promised 2 billion dollar will most likely be cut.

Hirji, Z. (2017, May 19). Fight Over Fossil Fuel Influence in Climate Talks Ends With Murky Compromise. Inside Climate News. Retrieved from https://insideclimatenews.org/news/18052017/paris-climate-talks-fossil-fuel-influence-conflict-interest

[2] http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2017/apa/eng/l02.pdf

[3] More specifically: the ‘enhanced transparency framework’, as was formulated in the Paris Agreement. Van Asselt, H., Weikmans, R., Roberts, T., & Abeysinghe, A. (2016). Putting the ‘enhanced transparency framework’ into action: Priorities for a key pillar of the Paris Agreement.

 

The Nubian Vault Association – a way towards an environmentally & socially just society

 

by Celina Schelle

In light of the many meetings and presentations about what needs to be done, side events about ongoing initiatives and success stories were very refreshing and motivating! Yes, we are not only negotiating about an abstract future, there are quite some people engaged in creative problem solving bringing us ahead towards a more environmentally and socially just society.

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During a side event on how Senegal is implementing its NDCs, I was very pleased to find out about the Nubian Vault, an association specialized in low cost eco-housing. Due to deforestation and population growth timber is a scarce resource and there is increasingly little available for construction. Additionally, Senegal wants 30% of its energies to be renewable by 2030. Restoring carbon stock through green housing demonstrates a major way to achieve this. The Nubian Vault houses are based on old traditional construction techniques using simple tools and skills which make it above all very affordable. The life cycle assessment of the buildings construction reveals very low carbon emissions, amongst others, due to their high energy efficiency.

One speaker working for the Association explained that they spent about 17 years on spreading the concept across the countries mainly through awareness raising as well as technical and entrepreneurial vocational training in villages. Even the topic gender has found a place in the project – according to one of the speakers mainly women are participating in these trainings. Until today they have constructed over 2000 houses and are making homes for people in over five countries, besides Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana and Benin. The Senegalese government has also recognized the potential of the Nubian Vault to foster sustainable development and is densifying the market with subsidies. Meanwhile a partnership with the ministry of environment is well established.

While this is a wonderful example of how to reduce emissions, preserve the environment and decrease poverty without financial constraints stagnating progress, there are many other initiatives with great potential which do not yet have a clear picture of how to realize them without financial support. It is not that we do not have enough ideas, there are many creative people out there. Therefore, we need to make sure that subsidies and funds are going into the hands of those who can make a change. We need to stop losing ourselves in environmental politics and allocate resources to the people who are ready to go!

 

 

 

 

Agroforestry – disclosure of potentials and challenges to Finance Nature Conservation and Biodiversity

by Celina Schelle

 

Agroforestry, combining adaptation and mitigation, has been the repeatedly suggested solution to address agriculture and deforestation in the light of climate change and increasing populations. The question of how to finance agroforestry initiatives has been answered by several experts with a discussion on the potential of impact investments.

What does impact investment mean? Impact Investors can range from retail investors and enterprises to banks, while recipients can be microfinance institutions, SMEs and small farmers. They are beyond the return in form of profits concerned about the sustainability aspect of their business as well as their positive contribution to nature conservation. Every business depends on natural resources; therefore, their sustainable use is an investment into the future.

While returns in form of profits may reveal after 3-5 years, impacts on nature conservation and biodiversity are a lot more difficult to monitor and measure. Moreover, they do take a longer time to show results and bear risks of uncertainty about outcomes. During a side event on the potential from reforestation Peter Saile from GIZ pointed out: “There is money out there, but impact investors need to be attracted.”

Efforts into the measurement of the value of nature and ecosystem services as well as the increased sharing of respective data need to be accelerated. Access to such, data is especially lacking in developing countries and once there, results are often insufficiently communicated.

Additionally, the entire chain of benefits does not yet seem to be well understood. During a presentation on Private Capital to finance Forest Conservation and Biodiversity, Speakers from ORO Verde promoted the analysis of risk reduction potentials of environmental and social improvements”, thereby referring to advantages of agroforestry to ensure healthier lives and better nutrition through changes in ecosystem structure. The interlinkages between food security, health and climate change mitigation and adaptation are not well understood by society.

We need to measure the contribution of agroforestry in building resilience and make this knowledge accessible! Only when impact investors can see the full potential of investments and farmers realize the full advantages of agroforestry, a transformation of the agricultural sector can be accelerated!

Carbon, carbon, carbon & billions of trees

by Naomi van den Berg

The UNFCCC showers you with a number of fancy words that get repeated endlessly: mitigation, adaptation, facilitation, framework, negotiations, and – of course – carbon. Carbon, the element of life, has drastically changed its reputation in the past few decades or so, turning out to detrimentally change our climate. But this is no news (except for the skeptics among us – hi Trump!). Now, there are two ways to go about this carbon issue: we either increase our energy efficiency in order to limit our carbon emissions, and/or we capture the carbon from the air, aiming for a so-called ‘negative emission’. A negative emission, counter intuitively perhaps, means climate utopia:  it describes a situation in which more carbon is taken up from the air than is emitted. Fantastic, but how could we ever realize this negative emission?

Well, as you may have guessed, trees contribute to the answer. At the session called ‘Protecting and Restoring the Global Forest Carbon Stock’, a joint-effort between Greenpeace and Rainforest Foundation Norway, a number of experts shared their experience in research and outreach on the matter. All speakers agreed: in order to reach the Paris Agreement goal of staying under 1.5 °C, we need to address the forests. More specifically, we need to address ghosts of forests. As spooky as this may sound, a promising opportunity lies ahead.

The greatest potential of carbon storage lies in degraded/deforested lands (please see the graph below provided by one of the speakers: Lars Laestadius). Often, these have been cleared to make way for pasturelands; those no longer serving an agricultural purpose often remain grassland systems due to the intricate dynamics of alternative ecosystem equilibria (for the hardcore forest fanatics among us, I highly recommend reading Scheffer et al., 2001). Grasses, of course, capture way less carbon than woody plants do.

 

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The good news is that these lands of opportunity occur all over the world, and – according to the speakers – mostly in the African continent. The biggest opportunity lies in the so-called mosaic-type of restoration: a mix of people, crops, animals and forests. However, as the speakers stressed, we need to redefine the type of forest we aim for during restoration: we need to deviate from forests in the classical sense (pristine and ‘untouched’ by humanity), simply because the most effective forest restoration strategies have actually proven to be those that involve the local communities and allow them to take part in sharing the many benefits of the forest.

All speakers agreed: let’s not underestimate the potential of forests: especially the ghosts of forests. And: success in restoration efforts can only be achieved if local benefits are granted.

Protecting and restoring the global forest carbon stock

 

by Steffen Dehn

The IFSA delegation attended a side event that dealt with protecting and restoring the global forest carbon stock. The first panelist dealt with the topic in the European context. The panelist started off with the fact that currently, in the EU there is zero net forest cover loss. He went on highlight the importance of achieving negative emissions in Europe and how forest will play a significant role in achieving this goal. Germany increased its carbon stock by 10% over the period from 2002 to 2012.

While there is a lot of data available which enables Germany to create good projections which allow for better planning, it is still sometimes difficult as crucial information like soil information, dead wood pools and others are not collected. With these projections, it gets easier to understand trad offs of different scenarios like how a focus on carbon sequestration will affect biodiversity. He pointed out that while the EU doesn´t really have much of a plan on how to achieve that, the EU still tries to tell other countries how they should manage their forests and increase carbon stock.

It was mentioned that local people are often seen as a threat for the forest but it is often not taken into account that they could also be driver of sustainability and sustainable forest management. To meet the 2°C goal of the Paris Agreement, deforestation has to be halted and carbon stock has to be increased.

One of the panelist elaborated the main points and goals of good restoration practice which were the following:

  • Increase carbon content
  • Promotes biodiversity
  • Respects local people’s rights
  • Promotes food security

Lars Laestadius from the swedish university of agricultural science had two questions over-arching his presentation which were straight forward:

Restore forest where and how?

To answer the where question, he presented a  map that showed the potential forest extend  if only climate and soils decided in contrast to the actual forest extent. He highlighted the need and opportunity to restore forest as well as constraints due to population and croplands. According to him, there are restoration opportunities all over the world, especially in Africa. The study he presented sees the biggest opportunity (74%) in mosaic restoration which means that the forest landscape will be a mix comprised of people, farmland and other land uses and not only forests.

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Source: http://www.bonnchallenge.org/content/global-opportunity-map

To answer the how question he first raised the point that in the past, there were large scale planting and restoration projects that didn´t go so well. He elaborated several points to show how future project could take into account errors from the past to build better futures.

His points were the following:

  • Focus on landscape -> think and plan in terms of large scale and long time and have a diverse set up within the mosaic.
  • Restore ecological functionality –> preserve and enhance ecosystem services
  • Allow for multiple benefits
  • Recognize that a suite of interventions are possible and needed
  • Involve stakeholders –> not command and control but have a two way dialogue to ensure equity
  • Tailor projects to local conditions
  • Manage adaptively
  • Avoid conversion of natural ecosystems

He strongly emphasized the point that in order for these projects to be successful, benefits and incentives for the local population are needed. These benefits could for example be:

  • Enhance food security
  • Prosperity increase
  • Clarify rights to land trees
  • Long term focus -> design landscapes and build resilience

Technical Expert Meeting on Adaptation – Societal Resilience

by Celina Schelle

Today the first expert meeting on adaptation was taking place. The discussion was split up in two parts with the IFSA delegation being actively engaged in both. Our main aim was to communicate the ideas which we developed in our working group on adaptation. The first round of the expert meeting included three break up sessions where resilience in the context of society, ecosystems and economy have been discussed. The IFSA delegation together with other fellow YOUNGOS raised their voice during the break up group discussion on societal resilience. We promoted the point of view that investing in adaptation is all about securing the future.

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Not only do young people make up the biggest share of the population in many countries, but we also are the leaders of the future. So countries should raise the question of how to include the youth more in the discussion on adaptation. Their potential to be a major driving force in moving forward adaptation initiatives needs to be considered and their voice be heard.

In the following afternoon discussion topics raised during the break up groups were elaborated and further developed. Our request to recognize the role of the youth in the context of adaptation was welcomed and commonly understood. One of the speakers Martin Frick from the FAO further elaborated on the importance of education as a major channel through which young people can be included, but also emphasized the concomitant impact of intergenerational knowledge transfers. Enabling children to teach parents on climate change could reach a very large group. “It is not new that children teach parents, they can grab the topic of climate change very quickly and communicate their insights.”

The importance of education beyond know-how in the context of risk management has been repeatedly illuminated, thereby throwing light on the necessity to decrease vulnerability instead. The notion of risk management as a concept is important, but the exposure and vulnerability of communities also has a social dimension which needs to be incorporated.

Thus, resilience of society means to enable people to react. Despite consensus on the relevance of education and community participation as the enabling mechanisms, ways to achieve this seem to be still subject to controversial discussion.

 

What your dinner has to do with forests

by Naomi van den Berg

The UNFCCC truly covers all possible linkages of a diverse range of phenomena/processes to climate change. And yes, your choice of diet is one of them. Now, we know that the topic of shifting one’s diet not a very popular one. After all, what we eat surely is our own business, right? Well, things are far more complicated than that. And in order to foster a timely response to climate change, we need to realize a large-scale shift in diet.

This was the topic of the session ran by the Global Forest Coalition, called: “What’s at Steak? The true cost of meat.” Besides a clever pun, the title of this session immediately triggered my interests, particularly because it would be in a forest-related context. Before I dive into the key messages of the session, I would like to line out some of the physical laws that form the basics of the connection between your diet and the large-scale, complicated processes of climate change.

Basically, the Laws of Thermodynamics state that a transformation of energy from one form to the other implies energy loss. Photonic energy is captured by our great friends: plants and trees. When their biomass is eaten, this energy is transferred – however – a part of it is lost. Only 10% of the energy manages to transfer each time. You can therefore imagine that eating the herbivores, in turn, is pretty energy-inefficient. The image shows a quick overview of this trophic pyramid.

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Now on to the session. Let me first say this session was highly interactive and extremely productive. Different speakers talked about the different aspects of the connection between forest ecosystems, climate change and diets. The session started off with explaining that a sustainable diet inherently implies a drastic shift in dietary choices for many societies. A current trend that is counteracting this, is the fact that people are increasingly

A) consuming an excess amount of protein; and

B) that more and more of this protein originates from animal sources (this ‘gap’ between animal- and plant based protein consumption is expected to increase another 80% by 2050 based on current trends).Looking back at the trophic pyramid image, this trajectory leads to an exponential loss of energy efficiency.

Alright, so how do forests factor in to the bigger picture? The livestock industry largely uses soy to feed the animals. Once again, I would like to stress that if this soy were to be fed directly to people, energy efficiency would be immensely higher (i.e. 90% of the energy per unit food that would otherwise be lost is maintained). This would thus mean a significant difference in global landuse. In order to grow soy meant to feed the cows, deforestation is – unfortunately – the answer in most cases.

When it comes to current tropical deforestation, we can attribute over 90% to the production of livestock. The meeting mentioned that the WTO is involved in global trade agreements of soy, and that they have clear and transparent reports available about the circulation of soy.

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Another interesting imagery provided by the speakers of the WRI (world resource institute) was the Cattle Nation idea:  if you put all the cows meant for livestock production together in one country, it would be the third largest CO2 emitter in the world. Yes, the cows would follow the USA and China. And it would follow them closely.

Now, we do realize that pushing for vegan or vegetarian agenda may not be an appropriate request for countries who are facing other challenges. However, a drastic change in the proportion of animal protein in the average diet needs to be realized one way or the other in order to foster durability and longevity of our collective food intake.  Cutting down more forest can’t be the solution to feeding more and more mouths.The idea of shifting diets has to do with the SDGs (in particular 2 and 12) and the Paris Agreement. Shifting diets could be a positive way to fulfill both agendas.

Progress in terms of stimulating this shift has been realized both via bottom-up (education on i.e. health risks associated with eating meat) and top-down (meat taxes) pathways and seems to continue the trend of choosing a plant-based diet (or at least, partially) in the Western world. The challenge remains, however, to simulate a diet shift in developing nations. After all, one should have alternatives in food sources in order to be able to choose in the first place. This underlines the importance of SDG 2: eliminating hunger.

Ecosystem-based adaptation: socio-ecological advancement.

by Naomi van den Berg

Ecosystem: a term that never fails to spark my interest, and I was happy to learn there was a session on ecosystem dynamics on my first day at this conference. After having been overwhelmed by many fancy acronyms, I was familiarized with a new one: EbA. EbA stands for ecosystem-based adaptation. What does this entail precisely? And how is EbA integrated into policy?

The session started off with a clear definition of EbA. More specifically, the difference between conservation and EbA was highlighted. Conservation is bio-centric, whereas EbA is human-centric. This human-centric nature of EbA can be explained by the definition of ecosystem services as “ecosystem qualities contributing to human wellbeing”.  This partitioning between purely bio-centric approaches and socio-ecological approaches shows the more integrative nature of EbA.

Success stories of EbA in practice were shared, and frequently the framework of the Nairobi Work Program (formulated in COP11) was referred to, which is basically a program that facilitates and stimulates the exchange and transparency of expertise – especially for developing countries. As we all know, ecosystems as well as human communities are unique, and require case-specific approaches. Therefore, sharing success stories is of vital importance in expanding the world-wide application of EbA.

The success-factor of the applied examples could largely be explained by the synergies EbA allows between adaptation, mitigation and DRR (disaster risk reduction). So, was EbA truly as flawless as it seemed, hearing the different success stories from all over the world? As the session ended, we approached one of the speakers who works for IUCN, Ali Raza Rizvi. He told us the exchange of knowledge should not only be confined to success stories; instead, sharing stories of failure is of equal importance (although, of course, these are a lot less fun to share). Let’s see if we will hear some of these in the upcoming few days of the conference!

 

Delivering on Paris: Combating climate change while protecting rights

by Steffen Dehn

The IFSA delegation attended a side event that specifically dealt with the issue how climate change can be tackled while ensuring the rights of the people with an emphasis on indigenous people.

Although the rights of indigenous people are not mentioned in the articles of the Paris Agreement, the preamble sets the overall stage of how they should be considered in every step that is taken in the context of the Paris Agreement. The speakers pointed out the importance of making countries understand how they can commit themselves to climate action that are in line with human rights.

All panelist underlined that while human rights are recognized more and more in the context of climate action, it is important to push for more specific steps. Many policies and development project deal with or are implemented on the territory but the voice of indigenous people is not valued as much as it should be. The main problem seems to be that many measures that are proposed by the government are implemented without the consent of local communities. This undermines not only their rights but also limits the likeliness of their rights being heard and respected at an international level.

Annabella Rosemberg of International trade Union confederation argued that Bringing rights to the table is not a bargain but will increase parties ambition. Moreover, governments will have more supports on the ground when they are taking into account the legal rights of local communities.

The transition from the current economy to a green economy will not be easy and an effort should be made to include all people. The International trade Union confederation is trying to support workers and communities in their transition towards a green future by supporting the availability of jobs in the green sector so people are not between the chairs and forced to keep their environmental unfriendly job just to survive.

As mentioned, these rights did only make it to the preamble of the PA. Mrs. Rosemberg emphasized that it is therefore crucial to believe, that the preamble is not just a small part that can be neglected. She ended her speech by stressing that the times ahead will not be easy and closed with a strong statement on how important solidarity will be in this transition.

Erika Lennon from CIEL underscored the importance of Public participation. She said it’s not good enough to have participation in a way “oh we met up with but no all documents were available and we started an hour ahead” but highlighted how important Public ownership on climate action. As other speakers she urged all parties to operationalize the preamble and not just have it sitting there.

Further documents in regard to this topic can be accessed on the following website: Deliveringonparis.com

 

 

Surprise on Saturday: UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed visiting the UNFCCC Conference in Bonn

By Max Behringer

Yesterday evening the visit of Amina J. Mohammed UN Deputy Secretary-General was announced. She is the former environmental minister of Nigeria and experienced in her work there the importance of the integration of women, youth, civil society and business in the implementation of climate protection goals.

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Panel with Amina J. Mohammed (second from left)

In her encouraging and inspiring speech, she made a strong link between the Agenda 2030 (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement. “We are meeting in an exciting time, a time of change and action drafting a better future.”  She is convinced that we are capable to address our goals. Large countries are already acting. We can see progresses as the inventions in renewable energies are rising significantly and several countries announced long-term goals to address climate change. This shows the world is in action. Still we need to improve and scale up the NDCs to close the gap. She stressed out that “Each country, each sector has a crucial role to play”. Amina J. Mohammed emphasized that she wants to keep every nation in the process (probably regarding the “orange guy” like Trump is called here by some people…). We must keep the ambitions although right now the geopolitical situation might be challenging. In the end the incoming presidency of Fiji thanked Amina J. Mohammed for the strong signal of support for COP22 and COP23. This is an important signal to push the negotiations forward and to keep the momentum going.