Council on Foreign Relations – Daily news brief, Nov. 21, 2022

Top of the Agenda

COP27 Ends With Landmark Deal on Loss and Damage

The final deal of this year’s UN climate conference, COP27, included two historic firsts (Bloomberg): an agreement to establish a fund to help poor countries cope with climate damages, and a call for multilateral lenders such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to implement reforms ensuring that more of their funding addresses the climate crisis. The details of the loss and damage fund were left for future talks. Meanwhile, the communiqué left out proposed text on phasing down use of all fossil fuels, mentioning only coal. Negotiators were given an unusually short period of time to review the draft text on several major aspects of the communiqué, the Financial Times reported. After some delegates criticized the lack of transparency in negotiations, UN climate chief Simon Steill said he would review the summit process before next year’s conference to make it “as effective as possible.” 
“The loss and damage deal agreed is a positive step, but it risks becoming a ‘fund for the end of the world’ if countries don’t move faster to slash emissions,” the World Wide Fund for Nature’s Manuel Pulgar Vidal tells the New York Times. “[The loss and damage agreement] tees up a big fight for next year’s Cop28 over who pays into and who benefits from the fund. Rich countries are pushing for China to chip in and finance to be targeted at ‘vulnerable’ countries,” Climate Home News’ Megan Darby, Joe Lo, and Chloé Farand write. This Backgrounder looks at the successes and failures of global climate agreements.
Pacific Rim

Islamist Party Outperforms Expectations in Malaysian Elections
The Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), which has called for the implementation of sharia-based law, won the most seats (Reuters) in Saturday’s parliamentary elections. No coalition obtained a majority, and a deadline to form parliamentary blocs was extended until tomorrow.  

China: Schools in Beijing moved to online teaching (SCMP) amid a wave of COVID-19 cases. Yesterday, China reported its first COVID-19 death since May.
South and Central Asia

Kazakhstan’s Preliminary Election Results Suggest Strong Performance by President 
Preliminary data from Kazakhstan’s election authority showed that incumbent President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev won 81 percent of votes (Astana Times) in yesterday’s snap election. Opposition candidates were reportedly barred from registering (RFE/RL) for the election. 

Bangladesh: Two men in Dhaka escaped from prison (NYT), where they were awaiting the death penalty for killing a Bangladeshi American author and his publisher in 2015.
Middle East and North Africa

Qatar World Cup Kicks Off Amid Scrutiny Over Human Rights
The 2022 FIFA World Cup began yesterday in Qatar, which has faced criticism for its treatment of migrant workers and LGBTQ+ people. European soccer captains backed down from a plan (FT) to wear pro-LGBTQ+ armbands after FIFA threatened to penalize them. Separately, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will attend a match (The Hill) today and meet with Qatari officials.  The World Next Week podcast previews the World Cup

Syria/Turkey: Turkish air strikes on Kurdish areas in northern Syria reportedly killed eleven people (CNN), including a journalist. Ankara has blamed Kurdish separatist groups for a bombing last week in Istanbul.
Sub-Saharan Africa

President of Equatorial Guinea Set to Extend Forty-Three-Year Rule
Preliminary results for yesterday’s elections showed the party of incumbent President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo receiving 99 percent of votes (Reuters). Opposition candidates complained of voting irregularities (AP). This Backgrounder looks at Africa’s “leaders for life.” 

DRC/Rwanda: Rwanda’s military said its forces killed a Congolese soldier (East African) who crossed the border from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and began shooting at Rwandan guard towers. For the Africa in Transition blog, CFR’s Michelle Gavin explains why tensions in eastern Congo are so high.

UN Nuclear Chief Appeals for End to Fighting Around Ukraine Nuclear Plant

At least a dozen explosions have been heard (BBC) near Ukraine’s Russia-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant since Saturday.  

France/Russia: In a televised interview, French President Emmanuel Macron accused Moscow (Bloomberg) of pursuing a “predatory” strategy to fuel anti-French sentiment in Africa.

Brazilian Chosen to Lead Latin America’s Top Development Bank
Economist Ilan Goldfajn won an election (FT) to lead the Inter-American Development Bank with around 80 percent of votes. The former head of the bank was removed for alleged ethics violations. 

Argentina: The government declared three days of national mourning (BBC) after the death of human rights leader Hebe de Bonafini. In 1977, she cofounded the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, which demanded the return of children kidnapped by the country’s military regime.
United StatesGunman Kills Five at Colorado Gay NightclubThe shooter injured at least twenty-five (CNN) other people at the nightclub in Colorado Springs on Saturday before patrons stopped him. Police are investigating whether the attack was a hate crime.
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