Editor’s note: Hannah Ryder is the CEO of Development Reimagined, an international development consultancy based in Beijing. The article reflects the author’s opinion, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.
The 27th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) in Egypt is over halfway through, and it is proving difficult. However, even before the tense negotiations, copious side events and challenging press briefings began, sleepless nights had begun. Negotiators were huddling to decide if and how the issue of “loss and damage financing” – the question of reparations for already committed climate change – would be reflected on the two-week-long agenda.
After a “yes” was agreed, COP27 officially opened. Since then we have seen several African leaders as well as China’s special climate envoy Xie Zhenhua share their aspirations from this COP, as well as launch various initiatives. China’s UN Ambassador Dai Bing also set out a number of areas of overlap with African climate negotiation positions. While generally supporting the loss and damage position of African and many other low- and middle-income countries, Xie said it’s not China’s responsibility, but still willing to finance it.
There have been remarks in Western media outlets saying that calls are growing for large developing nations such as China to also be made liable to pay for the costs of climate impacts alongside developed countries, and that China and the African continent do not prioritize each other when it comes to climate change.
But in fact, they do prioritize each other – in both directions, but often in more practical, implementable ways outside negotiations.
In many ways, implementation – the theme of Egypt’s COP – tends to come first in the China-Africa relationship before political expressions.
Let me explain.
While China and African countries officially coordinate negotiating positions through the Group of 77 and China, direct coordination on China-Africa climate action takes place via the triennial Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). Over time, as a recent report my firm Development Reimagined explained, since the first FOCAC in 2000, commitments in this area have ramped up, with the most recent forum in 2021 producing a special joint declaration on climate cooperation.
This article is originally published at cgtn.com