By Pita Ligaiula at COP28 in Dubai, UAE

Fiji’s Ambassador to Indonesia and lead negotiator on climate change, Amena Yauvoli, has provided a frank assessment of the current state of play at the COP28 negotiations in Dubai, emphasising the importance of effective communication on critical issues.

Ambassador Yauvoli acknowledged the completion of the first week of COP28.

He highlighted both progress and challenges.

“We are moving forward, but some issues remain protracted,” he said in a media briefing in Dubai.

He noted the slow traction on crucial matters due to a willingness among parties to engage.

Addressing the Global Stocktaking (GST), Ambassador Yauvoli emphasised the Pacific’s clear stance on ensuring a course correction to achieve the 1.5-degree Celsius target.

“Course correction is critical for us to achieve 1.5 degrees within reach,” he stressed linking it to commitments such as phasing out fossil fuels.

He expressed concern over opposition from some parties in the COP negotiation in Dubai.

“We believe that science is telling us that post-correction is needed for us to achieve the 1.5 Celsius.”

Ambassador Yauvoli urged Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) to champion engagement with parties pushing hard-line opposition.

He mentioned a High Ambition Coalition meeting where combined efforts were made, with few Pacific representation.

Ambassador Yauvoli urged negotiators to ensure procedural outcomes are translated into tangible commitments in the final text.

Regarding the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA), Yauvoli stressed the need to agree on goals to achieve adaptation targets and highlighted imbalances between mitigation and adaptation funds, contrary to the Paris Agreement’s commitments.

Ambassador Yauvoli stressed the Pacific’s position on the Ocean dialogue, calling for more work to include ocean issues in the COP agenda.

On financing, he said an update of $83 billion in five days, with Loss and Damage at $726 million, emphasising its importance for Pacific and small developing states.

On the operationalisation of Loss and Damage funds, Ambassador Yauvoli highlighted the creation of the Santiago network, providing technical assistance for effective fund utilisation.

He commended efforts to correct the fund’s housing at the global level.

Ambassador Yauvoli expressed uncertainty about the cooling fund’s $35.5 million and raised concerns about potential reneging from the Paris commitment on phasing out coal.

He called for clarification on the definition of climate finance and also highlighted the need for new, predictable, and innovative funding.

Ambassador Yauvoli also emphasised the importance of technical negotiations before involving ministers.

“Sometimes it can be messy when directly sent to ministers,” he said.

He expressed hope that the COP28 presidency would recognise the significance of negotiators’ work in shaping effective solutions.

Ambassador Yauvoli also expressed Fiji’s firm commitment to climate action and emphasised the urgency of addressing critical issues and ensuring meaningful outcomes at COP28.