The latest round of UN climate change negotiations will get underway on Monday in the German city of Bonn, with governments looking to the next steps needed to accelerate the implementation of the Paris Climate Change Agreement and continue the momentum forged in 2015.
In order to ensure the aims and ambitions of the agreement, global greenhouse gas emissions will need to peak soon followed by quick reductions over the years ahead.
In the second half of the century those emissions need to be so low they can be easily absorbed by the Earth’s natural systems such as forests and soils. Building and supporting more resilient societies and economies will also be key.
Governments are already moving rapidly to bring the agreement into force. The Bonn UN Climate Change Conference (16-26 May) comes just weeks after 176 countries and the EU signed the agreement, with several key economies indicating they are ready to join the agreement this year and 16 States already depositing their instruments of ratification.
The Bonn meeting comes in advance of the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP 22) to be held in Marrakech in November. Here, governments will begin work on the “rule book” of the Paris Agreement covering how the agreement will work in detail once it enters into force.
The Bonn negotiations, which run for two weeks, will see the introduction of a new UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa, a new Moroccan Presidency, as well as the first session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA). The session will be largely procedural, paving the way for COP22 which takes place in Marrakesh this November, but there will also be an opportunity to make substantive progress on some key issues.
Topics for the rule book include issues such as transparency on the reporting of climate action by nations as part of their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
Given that immediate and accelerated climate action is required for governments to reach their climate goals, a key focus in Bonn will be on activities which have a high potential to curb and reduce emissions.
At a “Climate Action Fair”, governments will discuss the social and economic value of carbon, along with how to shift to cleaner public transport and to increase the energy efficiency of vehicles.
The fair will also focus on building resilience to the unavoidable impacts of climate change, with governments discussing best policies in the area of adaptation, exchanging examples of best practices and exploring funding for such activities.
Cities, regions, businesses and investors, whose actions are crucial for supporting governments to meet their climate goals, will also be present in Bonn. Many of their individual and cooperative contributions are being captured on the UN’s NAZCA (Non-State Actor Zone for Climate Action) portal.
The importance of new technologies will also be on show. A German-led Clean Energy Partnership, a consortium of 20 companies, will present hydrogen vehicles that can be test-driven by delegates and media representatives.
Opening press conference
On Monday, 16 May at 12:15 p.m. CEST, the UN’s top climate change official UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres will hold a joint press conference with the President of COP 21 (the official name of the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris last year), French Environment Minister Ségolène Royale. They will be joined by a high-level representative of the Moroccan government, hosts of the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakech in November (COP 22).
Immediately after the press conference, Ms. Figueres and her guests will plant a tree on the premises of the UN, to commemorate the signing of the Paris Agreement and to honor Earth Day, also as part of a global campaign to plant trees as natural absorbers of carbon dioxide and important for realizing many of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Action for Climate Empowerment
On 18 and 19 May, the 4th Dialogue on Action for Climate Empowerment will take place in Bonn. The Dialogue is an annual forum for Parties and stakeholders to share their experiences, exchange ideas, good practices and lessons learned in the area of climate change education and public awareness. See here for details.
Global Youth Video Competition launch
A press conference will be held on 20 May to launch the 2016 Global Youth Video Competition. The objective of the Global Youth Video Competition is to highlight climate action by youth through videos; giving them a platform to identify their successes and inspire other youth and policy-makers.
UNCCC’s Momentum for Change Initiative shining a light on climate action
Events on 25 May will foster dialogue with previous winners of the Momentum for Change Awards, designed to celebrate results-driven and replicable climate solutions.
Side events at the Bonn meeting will be organised under the common theme “Accelerating implementation of the Paris Agreement” and fall into the categories “Enhancing ambition”, “Promoting implementation” and “Providing support to developing countries”.
Along with live webcast, social media community tools such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Flickr enable virtual participation in the Bonn UN Climate Change Conference. Information on live webcasts of each respective day will be posted on the main meetings page. The main Twitter hashtag for the event is #SB44.
Civil society will be on the ground in Bonn to ensure that negotiators take the following steps during this session.
Set a workplan for COP 22 in Marrakesh that focusses on:
- Loss and Damage (for climate impacts that cannot be adapted to)
- The roadmap for delivering $100billion per year in climate finance by 2020
- Managing an early implementation of the Paris Agreement
Create a long-term workplan for the APA that focusses on:
- The ‘global stocktake’ of national plans for climate action (due in 2018)
- How to boost the ambition of national climate action plans (INDCs)
- How to produce national low carbon development plans (due in 2020)
- Developing information requirements and a transparency framework
Civil society will also be working to encourage governments to highlight the need to ensure ‘Paris Compatibility’ within other upcoming international agreements on Aviation (ICAO) and HFCs (MOP).