The COP 26 Outcome: A Retrospective for Developing Countries

After three decades of climate negotiations, the next big climate summit, COP 27, is set to open the curtain in Egypt, with the official tagline “together for implementation.” What remained in Glasgow was reviewed at the Bonn Climate Talks in June 2022. This blog primarily makes an effort to keep track of the Glasgow COP 26 outcome in order to pinpoint the agenda items on important thematic areas that deserve particular attention at the following COP.

Important Agendas of COP 26

  • Climate Mitigation – Keeping the Temperature rise within 1.5 degree Celsius
  • Climate Change Adaptation (Matters related to Adaptation) – Global Goal on Adaptation
  • Climate Finance (Long Term Finance and New Collective quantified goal on climate finance)
  • Completion of the Paris Rule book (Article 6 of the Paris Agreement)
  • Loss and Damage

Progress of Negotiation

Finance: The COP Presidency issued the latest draft on November 12, 2021; however, the final text differed significantly from the draft. For example, the draft text reflects a balance between adaptation and mitigation, which was omitted in the final version. The text also includes a discussion of doubling the adaptation finance. The text further reflects developed countries’ inaction in delivering $100 billion to developing countries. The COP president’s proposal includes the phrase “notes with serious concern the gap in relation to the developed country Parties” fulfilment of the goal of mobilising jointly US$ 100 billion per year by 2020,” which is consistent with the LDC position. Climate finance measurement and tracking mechanisms are being developed as provisional (under parenthesis). At COP 27, a high-level ministerial dialogue on climate finance agreed to mobilise $100 billion. At its fourth, fifth, and sixth sessions, the Ad Hoc Work Programme agreed to establish a new collective quantified goal. US$ 351.6 million pledged to Adaptation Fund, far exceeding the COP 25 pledge of US$ 129 million. LDC Fund has received a pledge of US$ 431 million, which is significantly higher than the COP 25 pledges of US$ 184 million. The Standing Committee on Finance is asked to keep working on definitions of climate finance. Three new collective quantified goals on climate finance were established for post-2025: establish an ad hoc work programme under the CMA from 2022-2024; conduct four technical expert dialogues as part of the ad hoc work programme, and convene a high-level ministerial dialogue beginning in 2022 and ending in 2024.

Figure 1 COP Plenary

Loss and Damage: Negotiation and progress on the loss and damage work programme were slower than expected. The Functions of the Santiago Network on Loss and Damage were agreed upon as one of the key achievements. A technical assistance facility for financial support for Loss and Damage has been agreed upon, and Santiago Network will be supported by the facility to provide financial support for technical assistance. However, the governance issue (reporting under both the CMA and the COP) was postponed until COP 27. (2022).

Adaptation: This year’s adaptation progress was insignificant. The agreement on a two-year work programme (2022-2023) aimed at operationalizing a Global Goal on Adaptation was the only notable progress. Aside from that, it was agreed to hold four workshops each year under the auspices of SBSTA and SBI.

Figure 2 Negotiation in progress

Climate Change Mitigation: The key mitigation achievement was limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The text also acknowledges reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 45 percent by 2030 compared to 2010, with a goal of reaching net-zero by mid-century. The COP decided to create a work programme to urgently increase mitigation ambition and implementation during this critical decade. CMA has requested that the secretariat update the Nationally Determined Contribution synthesis report (NDC). Beginning with the fourth CMA, the CMA has also decided to hold an annual high-level ministerial round table on pre-2030 ambition (2022).

Tangible Benefits for Developing Countries This year, the adaptation fund, which is based on voluntary contributions from developed countries, received US$ 351.6 million, while the LDC Fund received US$ 431 million in pledges from developed countries. As a result of these pledges, developing countries are expected to gain access to increased resources from both the LDC Fund and the Adaptation Fund. In the long run, once developed countries deliver US$ 100 billion, developing countries will receive an increased allocation.

Figure 3 Bangladesh delegation in the COP

Way forward for Egypt

Despite many achievements in Glasgow and Bonn, there was a general lack of progress as countries failed to reach a compromise in some critical areas, including who should pay for the damage caused by climate change and who should cut emissions further in the coming decade. A new finance mechanism for “loss and damage,” in particular, is expected to receive a strong push from developing countries after being left unresolved in Glasgow. Concerning the global goal of adaptation, the Egyptian presidency expects to use its long-aligned position with groups prioritising adaptation to transform the event into not only an “African COP,” but also an “Adaptation COP.” It is also expected that the Egyptian presidency’s vow to at least double the adaptation fund’s funding will adhere. Last but not least, the fact that the forthcoming conference is an African COP makes it the ideal location to address some of the persistent challenges facing developing countries, such as adaptation loss and damage and access to finance.

How our disaster-resilient homes will help people in coastal regions

The UNESCO Centre Dundee has been probing action research on household-level integrated water management to achieve resilience through water-induced disaster management and efficient use of renewable water resources. In this research, theories of social science theories, e.g., co-design and co-development principles (see figure 1), are utilised to design a disaster-resilient home in collaboration with the ‘at-risk’ communities in the coastal region of Bangladesh. The initial floor plan, elevation and 3D rendering are shown below in figure 2. 

Figure 1 Co-design and co-development design workshops
Figure 2: Plan and 3-D views of the demonstration prototype

Its main characteristics are as follows:
Hazard protection: The home has an amphibious foundation that allows it to float above flood water. It can also withstand a category four cyclonic storm and an earthquake with a magnitude of eight on the Richter scale. It grows stronger in a salty environment over time and serves as a makeshift home in the event of displacement during river/coastal erosion.

Food security: The Home produces enough food to support family members to achieve food security. The aquaponics method makes the best use of renewable water to grow fish and vegetables.

Net-Zero Transformation: On the way to achieving the Paris Agreements ‘Net Zero’ agenda, a household’s energy security is ensured through the use of various renewable energy options. In the presence of sunlight, photovoltaic cells are used, and wind turbines are used concurrently depending on the availability of air. Furthermore, biofuels are made from lavatory and kitchen waste.

Nature-Based Solution: This house has been built in accordance with the principles of the ‘Nature-Based Solution,’ using environmentally friendly, cost-effective, readily available, and locally sourced materials. Renewable sources of local materials such as bamboo and soil are extensively used based on the principle of ‘circular economy’.

Capacity Building: Training and employing locals in the construction process has resulted in technology transfer and the creation of new livelihood opportunities in the fields of ecological construction. The materials and special designs used in the construction of houses based on ancient ecology principles, e.g., Vastu principles, have ensured the best use of natural light and air.

Figure 3: Local artisans and craftsmen are working on the demonstration site

Climate Control: Energy modelling results depict that the summer and winter indoor temperatures will naturally range between 18 and 26 degrees Celsius throughout the year. The building materials used in the house provide adaptation co-benefits from greenhouse gas sequestration, which has the potential to absorb approximately 6 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gas over the lifecycle. Researchers believe that after the necessary research and development, the three-bedroom house with a floor area of about 1,600 square feet could be valued just at £2,500 to £ 3,500 for ‘upscaling’ and used to address the risks of climate-vulnerable communities all over the world.

Sustainable Development: The cost of building the same size duplex home in Bangladesh is about ten times higher, and up to fifty times higher in developed countries. Furthermore, its durability is several times that of conventional building materials, and it provides health benefits because no harmful chemicals are used in its construction. Thirteen of the seventeen sustainable development goals can be addressed by various disaster-resistant house features.

The construction of Disaster Resilient Home: Resilience Solutions in Bangladesh started constructing a disaster-resilient home prototype since March 2022 under the planning and supervision of the UNESCO Centre for Water Law Policy and Science.

COP26, adaptation and water governance

As COP27 in Egypt gets ever closer, there is increasing focus on the key issues of loss and damage, adaptation and financing, especially after the recent meeting in Bonn. Financing will be the subject of an upcoming blog on this site, but linking both adaptation and loss and damage to freshwater remains a priority for the Centre. Implementation of the Paris Agreement goals will be the primary focus of COP27 but water is likely to loom large in discussions, given its strategic importance for Egypt.

At the last COP in Glasgow, the Centre tried to draw these issues together, holding an event specifically addressing climate change, adaptation, loss and damage, and water. (“Climate Change and Water: The Missing Agenda at COP26” – details and video of the event are available at The session, held in conjunction with the Scottish Government and UNESCO, was attended by members of the UNESCO Water Family. Although the disciplinary backgrounds of those taking part covered a broad range, the meeting concentrated on ways in which improved governance, rather than scientific advances alone, might help. Governance is a word with multiple meanings depending on context, but we interpreted it to mean the legal, policy and institutional aspects of water. From the COP perspective, water is the key area where the impacts of climate change will be felt, so successful adaptation will depend very much on how effectively water is managed.

Governance approaches to water vary a lot around the world, with solutions often driven by local situations. This is because the impacts of climate change differ depending on location- partly because of climatological reasons, but also in part because the ability of states and communities to respond effectively varies across space and time. This could be because of financial constraints, but it may also be the result of restrictions imposed by state practice elsewhere on international basins. It is difficult for states to be able to compare best practices, so meetings such as this can be useful conduits for communicating across borders and basins. Ensuring governance reflects up-to-date science is critical – the Centre was founded on the principle that the lawyers need to talk to the scientists. The need to better understand and communicate the importance of governance in achieving water security in the context of climate change has been prioritised by UNESCO in its latest water strategy (see the IHP-IX at <>).

In addition to the loss and damage event, the Centre also took part in an event held at the University of Strathclyde with the IWRA, “Water solutions for our changing climate” (again, video of the event can be found at <Water solutions for our changing climate>). The focus of this meeting was on nature-based solutions as a way of adapting to climate change, and comparing practice globally. With the assistance of the Tweed Forum (, a field trip to the Eddleston Water in the Scottish Borders was organised following this event, allowing participants to see examples of nature based solutions in action. Eddleston Water, a 69 sq km sub-catchment of the Tweed, is the subject of the Scottish Government’s long-running research study on the effectiveness of nature-based solutions to reduce the risk of flooding to downstream communities and improve wildlife habitats. Participants on the bus tour were able to see the Natural Flood Management (NFM) measures that have been installed since 2011 . NFM measures which reduce the impact of the increasing frequency and magnitude of floods driven by climate change include the installation of 135 woody-debris dams, planting of over 330,000 native trees, the re-meandering 3.5km of river and the creation of 38 ponds to temporarily store floodwater and improve biodiversity. This has been accompanied by an extensive and very detailed monitoring programme covering hydrological and ecological impacts, spawning a number of novel empirical and model-based research papers (see for example Black et al,; and Hankin et al,

Nature-based climate change adaptation on the Eddleston – a woody-debris dam.

There is a great deal of innovation and good practice in adapting to the effects of climate change, but ensuring that this knowledge is openly available, and that governance frameworks are suitably robust and adaptable, is a much bigger challenge.