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Malaysia goes big for COP28

Publish date: Thu, 30 Nov 2023, 09:26 PM

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 30): Malaysia sent its highest-profile and biggest contingent to the United Nations 28th Conference of Parties (COP28) on Thursday in at least the last two years. It is the first COP delegation led by Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change (NRECC) Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad. 

Last year in COP27, over 100 delegates were registered under the then Ministry of Environment and Water, with the delegation led by its secretary general.

COP28, which commenced Thursday and ending on December 12, is held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Like last year, Malaysia - NRECC and the Malaysian Green Technology and Climate Change Corporation - set up a pavilion in the exhibition zone to showcase Malaysia’s climate initiatives, with a theme “Going beyond: Green growth, resilient community and sustainable planet”.

Partners for the Malaysia pavilion include Tenaga Nasional Bhd, UEM Group Bhd, Permodalan Nasional Bhd, Citaglobal Bhd, Malayan Banking Bhd, CIMB Bank Bhd, BCG and Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd.

Speakers include Petroliam Nasional Bhd president and group CEO of Tan Sri Tengku Muhammad Taufik, Bank Negara Malaysia governor Datuk Shaik Abdul Rasheed Ghaffour and Bursa Malaysia Bhd CEO Datuk Muhamad Umar Swift.

Nik Nazmi, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, and the Regent of Pahang will be attending the World Climate Summit and first part of the High-Level Segment of COP28. These sessions are meant for country leaders to highlight their priorities and commitments.

Meanwhile, a team of delegates from various ministries and agencies will be participating in the climate change negotiation process.

“The delegation will focus on several key issues, namely on the global stocktake, compliance carbon market, just transition, transparency of reporting, mitigation, global goal on adaptation and climate finance,” said Nik Nazmi in a written statement. 

Apart from that, around 250 stakeholders from state governments, local universities, research institutions, private companies and non-governmental organisations will be participating in the programmes in Pavilion Malaysia.

Key issues for COP28

COP28 will be the first time the Global Stocktake (GST) is undertaken to assess whether governments party to the Paris Agreement have met their climate targets, and if more action needs to be taken to halt climate change.

A synthesis report on the GST by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat in September already stressed that much more ambition in action and support was needed to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 43% by 2030 and 60% by 2035, compared to 2019 levels. These reduction in emissions are needed to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

Other issues that will be under the spotlight include the operationalisation of a Loss and Damage (L&D) Fund for developing countries suffering from the impacts of climate change, adoption of a global goal on adaptation and the continued push for developed countries to provide more climate finance. 

Additionally, there is likely to be a focus on what approach to take with fossil fuels, as the COP28 host is UAE, a major oil producer. Already, there have been heated discussions on the need to “phase-down” fossil fuels in previous COPs.

The GST process will serve as a catalyst for international cooperation and enhanced implementation of climate change mitigation and adaptation action, said Nik Nazmi.

“The focus of the climate finance negotiation process will be on setting up a new direction for climate finance under the Ad-hoc Work Program on the New Collective Quantified Goal on Climate Finance… At the same time, discussions at the negotiating table will also focus on the financial arrangement and operationalisation of the fund established to address L&D,” he said. 

He added that Malaysia will uphold its views that implementation of climate action by parties should be guided by the principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR). 

CBDR refers to countries with higher economic development that have contributed to environmental degradation earlier on and therefore should have greater responsibility to mitigate climate change.

Additionally, the L&D fund should not become a tool of political influence, Nik Nazmi said. “We want the actualisation of the L&D fund to be overseen by an independent body, operating under international law and include implementation of The Santiago Network, which facilitates technical assistance to address L&D, especially in vulnerable developing countries.”

Ideally, global South nations should have the autonomy to access vital funds swiftly and without uncertainties associated with the World Bank, he said. “This is to ensure that the fund is managed transparently and equitably, without allowing a few countries to exert undue influence and evade their financial responsibilities for climate action.”

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