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5 Takeaways from the COP28 Climate Summit

Credit: Kiara Worth | UN Climate Change

After two weeks of negotiations, the 28th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP28) closed in Dubai with a landmark deal between negotiators from nearly 200 Parties. For the first time, the deal calls on all nations to transition away from fossil fuels, sending a strong message to finance, businesses, and societies. 


The Living Lakes Network welcomes this historic step forward. Additionally, we view the increased commitments to climate finance and adaptation as a hopeful sign. The parties conveyed a clear message that we must work with nature – our best tool and insurance policy against the intertwined climate and biodiversity crises. These are our 5 key takeaways from the COP28 Climate Summit:

  • Countries signal the beginning of the end for the fossil fuel era – the final agreement at COP28 calls for “transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems, in a just, orderly and equitable manner”, beginning this decade, to reach net zero by 2050. Although the agreement contains some provisions that could delay climate action, such as unproven large-scale carbon capture, the focus on fossil fuels is historic and unprecedented after three decades of climate talks.  “The deal is not perfect, but one thing is clear: the world is no longer denying our harmful addiction to fossil fuels”, said UNEP Secretary-General, Inger Andersen.

  • Nature is the solution – countries agreed to “accelerate the use of ecosystem-based adaptation and nature-based solutions, including through their management, enhancement, restoration and conservation”.  The agreements also highlighted the need to protect all terrestrial, inland water, mountain, marine and coastal ecosystems.

  • Loss and damage – parties operationalised a loss and damage fund to help the most vulnerable countries deal with the consequences of the climate crisis. A total of USD 700 million have been contributed to date – although it is a critical step forward, many more resources are needed for the hardest hit countries and communities in the Global South. 

  • Increased resources for adaptation – countries agreed that adaptation finance from developed to developing countries will have to be significantly scaled up “beyond the mandated doubling for 2025”. Adaptation finance needs of developing countries are estimated at USD 215–387 billion annually up until 2030.

  • A boost for freshwater conservation – rivers, wetlands and lakes are the best line of defense for our societies and economies against the worsening impacts of the climate crisis, as well as major carbon stores.

    One of the most hopeful takeaways from COP28 was the commitment from major countries to conserve and restore freshwater resources – a total of 33 countries signed up to The Freshwater Challenge, which aims to ensure 300,000 kilometers of degraded rivers and 350 million hectares of degraded wetlands are committed to restoration by 2030.

    These commitments should urgently translate into large-scale on-the-ground action, such as the efforts being taken by the Living Lakes partners to conserve and restore 13 critical freshwater ecosystems in the Americas, Africa and Asia, as part of the Living Lakes Biodiversity and Climate Project. 

Picture credit: Kiara Worth | UN Climate Change

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