The 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP28) marks another crucial milestone in the ongoing global climate efforts, demanding a reassessment of the international agendas. As the world strives to halve emissions by 2030, COP28 becomes a focal point for rejuvenation with the introduction of the first Global Stocktake. In line with the ASEAN Joint Statement for COP28, ASEAN Member States (AMS) actively participate, reinforcing their commitment to the COP28 objectives. While AMS commitments have been previously discussed, the alignment between the joint statement and the commitments made at COP 28 becomes a crucial analysis point. This reflection reveals a complex relationship between the regional objectives in the ASEAN joint statement and the broader commitments at COP 28. The assessment becomes an important step to recognize the potential areas of alignment, signifying a collective effort towards shared sustainability goals. Any disparities identified may highlight the unique challenges and priorities within the ASEAN region that require distinct consideration in the global climate dialogue. This analytical approach ensures a comprehensive understanding of the extent to which the ASEAN region aligns with the commitments established at COP 28 in the pursuit of climate resilience and sustainability.
Overview of ASEAN’s Joint Statement
The ASEAN Joint Statement for COP28 provides a comprehensive overview of the commitments and goals of the region in addressing climate change. This joint statement highlights the significance of finance, technology development, and capacity building as crucial enablers to address energy security, affordability, and sustainability within the region. This acknowledgment is particularly relevant to each country’s diverse economic landscapes and capacities. Recognizing the vulnerability of the countries in the region to climate change impacts, the joint statement addresses adaptation measures and strengthens the 2030 targets in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for robust climate action within the ASEAN. The joint statement also prioritizes long-term low GHG emission development strategies and supports low-emission technologies, reflecting a collective push for sustainability. Furthermore, AMS emphasize the importance of the developed country in fulfilling financial commitments, including providing USD 100 billion annually to developing country Parties, highlighting a shared responsibility in addressing climate financing gaps and supporting global climate efforts in a timely, sustainable, and inclusive manner. The joint statement advocates increased women’s participation in climate change management efforts to promote inclusivity. Additionally, it acknowledges the role of children and youth as catalysts for change, urging their active involvement in the design and implementation of climate policy and action.
Analysis of COP 28 Commitments
COP28 highlights two crucial agreements, notably the commitment to transition away from all fossil fuels in the energy system and the operationalization of Loss and Damage. Although these commitments initially gained momentum in COP27, their reiterated emphasis in COP28 underscores the urgency and collective efforts within the international community to face the challenges of climate change. This also signals a collective determination to accelerate action and implement transformative measures to secure a sustainable and resilient future. The UAE consensus of COP28 outlines five key outcomes representing a robust agenda that will be taken forward throughout the COP28 Presidency. Additionally, the UAE consensus of COP28 charts a robust presidential action agenda to catalyze transformative change in global climate efforts. To further explore the implications of these commitments, a comprehensive analysis of the relevancies between the UAE Consensus of COP28 and the ASEAN Joint Statement for COP28 is presented in the following table.
Table 1. The relevancies between the UAE Consensus of COP28 and the ASEAN Joint Statement for COP28
Source: Authors Analysis
This analysis suggests a significant alignment between the ASEAN Joint Statement for COP28 and COP28 declarations. However, further exploration of the relevancies between COP28 declarations and pledges and the ASEAN Joint Statement for COP28 is warranted to examine potential gaps comprehensively.
Firstly, the Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge shows the alignment between the ASEAN Joint Statement and COP28 commitments. The commitment to triple the world’s installed renewable energy capacity aligns with ASEAN’s goal of achieving a 23% share of renewable energy by 2025.
Despite not being explicitly mentioned in the joint statement, The COP28 Declaration of Intent on low-carbon hydrogen and hydrogen derivatives aligns with the broader theme of renewable energy in ASEAN. However, the absence of explicit mentions in the joint statement regarding low-carbon hydrogen and private sector involvement highlights a potential oversight in recognizing emerging technologies and collaborative initiatives crucial for cleaner energy sources. This underscores the importance of ASEAN acknowledging and integrating innovative approaches to leverage public-private partnerships. Encouraging active participation in the hydrogen economy becomes essential for ASEAN to stay at the forefront of technological advancements, ensuring a just and inclusive energy transition.
Similarly, the Global Cooling Pledge indirectly aligns with ASEAN’s focus on low greenhouse gas (GHG) emission strategies, highlighting the interconnection between sustainable cooling and emission reduction. This pledge addresses ASEAN’s vulnerability to extreme weather conditions. Integrating cooling-related considerations into the climate discourse allows ASEAN to prioritize resilience measures and adopt sustainable cooling solutions proactively.
The alignment between the UAE Leaders’ Declaration on a Global Climate Finance Framework and the joint statement’s emphasis on funding for loss and damage is a crucial recognition of ASEAN’s concerns regarding the adverse effects of climate change on the region. It provides an opportunity for ASEAN to engage actively in global climate finance mechanisms, enabling advocacy for effective financial support tailored to AMS’s needs and vulnerabilities.
Furthermore, the COP28 Declarations on Climate, Relief, Recovery, Peace, Climate and Health, and Sustainable Agriculture are related to the joint statement’s commitment to nature, people’s lives, and livelihoods. These declarations emphasize adaptation, resilience, and inclusive strategies, resonating with the joint statement’s call to address food vulnerability, climate and health, and global biodiversity. This commitment offers a holistic approach to mitigating climate change impacts and enhancing regional resilience and well-being.
The COP28 Gender-Responsive Just Transitions and Climate Action Partnership introduces gender equality into climate action. While the joint statement recognizes the role of women, the COP28 pledge underscores the need for a more focused and collaborative effort. This alignment ensures inclusivity for climate action, yet the absence of AMS in the pledge signals a potential gap. ASEAN could further promote gender-responsive policies, fostering the active participation of women in climate-related initiatives for a more equitable and sustainable future. This emphasizes the importance of integrating gender perspectives in ASEAN’s climate commitments to ensure a comprehensive and inclusive approach.
The alignment between the ASEAN Joint Statement and COP28 commitments is significant, showcasing shared goals in renewable energy, climate finance, and inclusive climate action. However, the gaps in addressing emerging technologies, private sector involvement, and specific references to cooling-related issues and hydrogen demonstrate potential areas for improvement. ASEAN’s interests are well-represented in adaptation and resilience declarations, yet the absence of explicit mentions of specific key topics raises concerns about the comprehensive coverage of regional priorities. The opportunities lie in strengthening ASEAN’s voice in fostering technology innovation and enhancing collaboration with subnational entities for more effective climate action. As ASEAN moves forward, a more detailed representation of its unique challenges and priorities in global climate dialogues will ensure a more impactful and comprehensive regional approach to sustainable development.
Picture credit: Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/unfccc/53365691971/)
Nuriza Zharifah is a Research Intern at the ASEAN Climate Change and Energy Project (ACCEPT) and Aldilla Noor Rakhiemah is a Senior Research Analyst at ACCEPT. The views, opinions, and information expressed in this article were compiled from sources believed to be reliable for information and sharing purposes only, and are solely those of the writer/s. They do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE) or the ASEAN Member States. Any use of this article’s content should be by ACE’s permission.