The latest round of UN Climate Change Conference, which was held in Bonn, Germany, from 16 – 26 May, underlined that the ‘Spirit of Paris’ continues as governments get down to implementing their new landmark Climate Change Agreement signed in Paris in December 2015.
Speaking at the conclusion of the Bonn session, Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC said: “The Paris Agreement is a highly sophisticated blueprint for a better, more climate secure world. Every working part needs to spin in synch for the extraordinary potential of this treaty to deliver its multiple goals and contribution to sustainable development”.
“This understanding was alive and well here in Bonn. Indeed we find ourselves at an exciting time of implementation that is a mixture of positive motivation, ongoing action and necessary technical work. As a planning meeting for the COP22 Climate Change Conference to be held in Marrakech, Morocco at the end of the year, the Bonn conference has sent a very encouraging signal.”
Segolene Royal, President of the COP21 United Nations Climate Change Conference and French Minister of the Environment, Energy and the Sea, praised the ‘Esprit de Paris’ evident throughout the nearly two weeks of the ‘Bonn session’.
“Countries with different levels of development and from different regions and often differing views on many issues, found a common vision in Paris. That work and that vision has continued, and continued positively here in Bonn, as countries look towards the next major milestone event in Marrakesh in November,” she said.
The Bonn session featured several events on ensuring early and adequate support for the implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and their integration into national economic plans while governments also began exploring how to directly link climate-friendly technology cooperation to the funding arrangements of both the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
While work towards the agreed flows of US$100 billion per annum by 2020 continues, two of the key international funding arms — GCF and GEF — underlined how they are supporting the Agreement. The GCF told delegates that its board had set an aspirational goal of $2.5 billion in 2016 for both adaptation and mitigation programs and projects. The GCF urged countries to submit ambitious proposals for funding as soon as possible.
For its part the GEF announced that it had put together forward-looking work programs for the funding of both mitigation and adaptation projects. On mitigation, $450 million is available for new projects while current projects to the value of $106 million are already being implemented. On adaptation, some $250 million is available for projects. The GEF will also assist the Moroccan Government to green COP22.
At the end of the conference, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Christiana Figueres, and representatives of the French COP21 Presidency and of the incoming Moroccan COP22 Presidency held a press briefing in which they lauded the session. The importance of Bonn conference lies in the fact that it is the only formal round of international negotiations between the Paris climate summit last December and the forthcoming climate summit in Marrakech, Morocco (COP22) in November 2016.
Speaking about the Bonn session, David Waskow, International Climate Director, World Resources Institute, said: “Though no longer under the world’s spotlight, delegates made crucial progress with the essential task of developing a rulebook to turn the promise of the Paris Agreement into a reality.
“In Bonn, for the first time ever, developing countries’ progress reports faced review by peers within the United Nations' climate negotiations. Just six months since the Paris Agreement was adopted, there is a widespread sense that the transition to a zero-carbon world is now inevitable. From corporate shareholder meetings to country capitals, stakeholders are facing two options: either accelerate climate action or jeopardize their credibility.”
On the sidelines of the Bonn session various stakeholders spoke up about climate change and its impact. Senior Global Adaptation Expert for WWF International, Sandeep Chamling Rai, said: “This year average global temperatures were more than 1°C higher than before the industrial era – and we have had 7 straight months of record breaking global heat with widespread climate change impacts. As temperatures soar, vulnerable people and ecosystems will have to adapt more drastically and rapidly, but they will also face impacts that go beyond the potential for adaptation. That's why negotiators need to urgently resolve the issue of adaptation and loss and damage to ensure that the necessary support will be delivered to help those that are least responsible but facing the worst consequences.”
Meanwhile Advocacy Officer for Climate and Fossil Fuels at Oxfam France, Armelle Le Comte was of the opinion that: “Millions of the world’s most vulnerable people are already facing the disastrous impacts of climate change. Yet, adaptation has been short-changed. COP 22 needs to pick up the unfinished business from Paris. At COP 22, developed countries must present a roadmap to show how they will deliver their $100bn a year promise, and adaptation finance must me a core component of this roadmap.”
With 197 Parties, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has near universal membership and is the parent treaty of the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement. The main aim of the Paris Agreement is to keep a global average temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
The ultimate objective of all agreements under the UNFCCC is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system, in a time frame which allows ecosystems to adapt naturally and enables sustainable development.