Least Developed Countries Group sets out priorities for COP23

The chair of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Group has issued the group's key priorities at a high-level preparatory meeting for the next UN climate talks.

News, 25 October 2017
UN climate change conference (COP23)
A series of pages related to IIED's activities at the 2017 UNFCCC climate change summit in Bonn
Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama speaks at the podium at the start of the pre-COP23 ministerial meeting. He called for a coalition of partners to reach 1.5 degrees (Photo: Achala Abeysinghe/IIED)

Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, speaking at the start of the pre-COP23 ministerial meeting, called for a coalition of partners to reach 1.5 degrees (Photo: Achala Abeysinghe/IIED)

The 23rd Conference of Parties (COP23) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will take place in Bonn, Germany, from 6-17 November 2017. 

Ahead of the global summit, ministers and their senior advisors met for the 2017 Ministerial Dialogue, known as pre-COP, in Fiji on 17-18 October 2017. 

The two-day pre-COP meeting is an important opportunity for ministers and senior advisors to come together and prepare for the global negotiations. Past pre-COP meetings have been highly influential in paving the way for agreement at the subsequent COP. 

LDC chair Gebru Jember Endalew outlined the LDC Group's priorities, as agreed by LDC ministers at a recent meeting in Addis Ababa. This was attended by some 20 LDC ministers, and resulted in the Addis Ababa LDC Ministerial Communiqué on Climate Change that, in preparation for COP23, saw the ministers:

  • Welcome recent announcements by many countries of their renewed political commitment to the Paris Agreement, despite the challenging political context
  • Re-emphasise the need for higher climate ambition by all countries in a manner that is consistent with their responsibility for climate change and capacity to respond, in order to close the emissions gap to avoid further devastating impacts 
  • Call on all Parties to communicate new and updated National Determined Contributions before 2020, with a view to increasing their contributions and addressing the current ambition gap
  • Affirm the LDC Group's commitment to lead on ambitious climate action, including through the development of long-term climate strategies
  • Reiterate the importance of adaptation and loss and damage to the global response to climate change, and
  • Urge all developed countries to support LDCs in implementing their national climate policies and strategies by fulfilling their commitments relating to financial, technological and capacity building support.

Endalew said the Addis Ababa meeting had been very successful. LDC ministers had demonstrated how LDCs were continuing to take the lead on ambitious climate action, pursuing sustainable, low-carbon and climate-resilient pathways to protect people and the planet.

Endalew said ministers discussed all of the issues of principle importance to the forthcoming negotiations, and expressed their countries' dedication to ambitious climate action: "It is clear that LDCs face unique and unprecedented challenges in working to lift our people out of poverty while achieving sustainable development.

"Ministers have identified the need for global solidarity and the support of the international community to help LDCs achieve our ambitious climate plans. Ministers have also highlighted that the global response to climate change must be fair and equitable, with countries acting in a manner that is consistent with their responsibility for climate change and capacity to respond."

Endalew added: "Under the Paris Agreement the world has laid out a vision for achieving a greener, healthier and brighter future for all – the LDCs hope that the upcoming negotiations will generate finance and other support to ensure all countries of the world can make this vision a reality."

LDC ministers meeting in Ethiopia to discuss the UN climate talks (Photo: Achala Abeysinghe/IIED)

During the Addis Ababa meeting, the LDC ministers also visited two projects highlighting Ethiopia's commitments to low-carbon development: a light rail system and a 'waste to energy' project, the first project of its kind in Africa.

The LDC Group represents the 47 poorest nations that are especially vulnerable to climate change but have the least capacity to respond despite having done the least to cause the problem.

IIED supports the LDC Group at the UNFCCC negotiations by providing legal, technical and strategic advice. IIED principal researcher Achala Abeysinghe acts as legal and strategic advisor to the chair of the LDC Group. She attended the Addis Abbaba ministerial meeting and the Fiji pre-COP gathering, along with senior researcher Subhi Barakat.