By Naomi Kitur

Even though progress has been made especially in negotiations, a lot more work has to be done on the most critical issues, Alok Sharma, the President of Conference of Parties (COP 26) said during a United Nations (UN) press briefing.

“Detailed discussions were held across a whole range of issues; on adaptation, on loss and damage, on finance and on the Enhanced Transparency Framework. Whilst we have made progress on negotiations, we are not there yet on most of the critical issues. There is still a lot more work to be done,’’ said the COP president.

‘’Ministerial co-facilitators, other Ministers and negotiators are rolling up their sleeves and working hard to find solutions to some of the most intractable issues.”

Sharma further added that negotiations on finance really need to accelerate as soon as possible and that there is still a monumental challenge ahead of us and collectively we have no choice but to rise to that challenge. He went on to urge parties to revisit their commitments to achieving the 1.5 degrees target.

‘’The report that came out in August made it clear that whilst the window on keeping 1.5 degrees within reach is closing, it is still possible to get there. Parties should return and look again at the commitments that they have made,’’ he said.

Nigel Topping, COP 26 High Level Champion while giving a report on the progress made said that the UK pledged £27.5m of new funding for the new Urban Climate Action Programme (UCAP) to support cities targeting net zero.

The programme, funded through International Climate Finance, will support cities across Africa, Asia and Latin America to take climate action and create a sustainable future, by helping them implement innovative climate action plans to become carbon neutral by 2050 and prepare low-carbon infrastructure projects to reduce emissions.

He further added that UCAP will help cities to implement projects like low-emission public transport systems, renewable energy generation, sustainable waste management, new climate-smart buildings codes and climate risk planning. By showcasing what is possible, city and regional authorities can demonstrate to other cities and national governments the opportunities available to drive action.

The programme will be delivered in partnership with the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, a global network of cities focused on climate action, and GIZ, the German development agency.

UCAP will build on the flagship Climate Leadership in Cities programme, which successfully supported megacities in Latin America and Asia to develop ambitious climate action plans consistent with the Paris Agreement; including developing pathways to net zero by 2050 and committing to ambitious interim targets by 2030 to keep 1.5 degrees within reach, he explained.