The Climate Change Conference ended on May 10, with adopted conclusions for pivotal issues by the working groups and agreed to future work leading up to COP 24.

On April 30, the UNFCCC Climate Change Conference kicked off in Bonn, Germany. During the 11-day gathering, members of the UN bodies, civil society and government delegates met to discuss the operational progress of the Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP). PAWP will determine how contracting parties implement the Paris Agreement. Guiding PAWP is the tripartite work group of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI), Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA), with each having specific mandates towards the operational responsibilities of PAWP.

The work groups examined issues in preparation of the December 2018 deadline, the time when the PAWP is due for completion. In particular, Nationally Determined Commitments (NDCs)stood at the fore of discussions. The Paris Agreement requires contracted parties to submit NDC results on a cyclical basis as well as enforcing additional cuts with each successive five-year cycle. The shared conclusion following some meetings noted emerging gaps, needs and constraints of capacity in the NDC guidelines, for which all parties must address urgently. Also are the fore of deliberations were the following topics:

  • Mitigation,
  • Climate finance,
  • The transparency framework,
  • Capacity Building (Durban Forum on Capacity-Building),
  • Loss and Damage and
  • The PAWP mechanism for implementation and compliance

The meeting marked the Talanoa Dialogue as set out by the Fiji/Bonn meeting in November 2017. The Dialogue served as a discussion precursor to the political negotiations on climate change action, to be held in Katowice — the awaited COP 24 Climate Change Conference. Among others, It has for purpose to instigate talks on the long-term mitigation goal (see next paragraph) and assists countries in formulating their NDCs. The Dialogue set the stage for free negotiations, without fear of adversarial attacks based on the principles of mutual trust and loyalty to the planet. Promisingly, parties reoriented dialogue toward the shared vision agreed upon during the drafting of the Paris agreement. Also, members (including non-party stakeholders) came together to discuss the status of long term goal to keep global average temperature below 2C.

The overall consensus of the Bonn conference towards implementation of PAWP was mixed. Parties adopted an important decision pertaining to the UNFCCC Convention: the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture. The programme now includes a roadmap for agriculture issues, events, and recommended inputs. Contracted parties agreed that complex issues need to be resolved urgently if the December completion date is to be achieved. The September meeting in Bangkok will act as a test of parties’ resolve on remaining lingering issues and tidy up negotiating texts in preparation of Katowice. Key outcomes of the deliberations follow:

  • APA Co-Chairs are to assemble “tools” to support countries’ work, including proposals to facilitate the informal notesand provide useful information to parties for the elaboration of negotiating text
  • The Co-Chairs of the APA will prepare a “tool” that will help parties develop an agreed basis for negotiations
  • The upcoming meeting in Bangkok has for aim to fill technical information gaps raised during the Bonn conference: adaptation communications, climate finance issues — namely disagreement over the $100 billion fund by the developed countries slated for 2020 to assist developing countries — and transparency.
  • Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform (LCIP): Many countries and non-party stakeholders said they were disappointed with progress on this issue.
  • Action on Climate Empowerment (ACE): Parties agreed to the creation of a human rights focal point, and a decision was made to continue parties’ and stakeholders’ efforts on issues such as public participation, education, and access to information.