SPECIAL COP23: The “Pacific COP” opens in Bonn

The U.N. climate summit opened on Monday (Nov. 6) in Bonn. Hosted by the government of Germany and presided over by Fiji, COP23 is a crucial step after the entry into force of the Paris Agreement in 2016 and in view of the deadline to make it operational by 2018.

Although it is seen as a transition summit, the two-weeks conference is expected to deliver substantial progress on the implementation of the global climate deal and to focus on key issues dominating the current global climate policy conversation.

Government and civil society representatives, delegates and business leaders are gathering in Bonn, where negotiations and several climate-focused events are structured according to the concept of “One Conference, Two Zones”.

The Bula Zone is where negotiations take place, in the plenary halls, meeting rooms and delegation offices located at and in the surroundings of the World Conference Center Bonn.  In the adjacent Rheinaue Park, the Bonn Zone accommodates climate action events including high-level events, side events, exhibits and media activities as well as delegation pavilions.

In the Bonn Zone, the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action (GCA) is hosting a five-day program of events, which will demonstrate how cities, regions, businesses and investors are working to implement the Paris Agreement. From 10 to 12 November the GCA program showcases action in 8 core thematic areas (Energy, Water, Agriculture, Oceans & Coastal Zones, Human Settlements, Transport, Industry and Forests), while the final two days (13-14 November) are dedicated to high-level discussions on finance, innovation, resilience, Sustainable Development Goal 11 (Sustainable Cities & Communities) and Sustainable Development Goal 2 (Zero Hunger). The full GCA program is available here.

Fiji’s COP23 Presidency is convening five high-level events from 12 to 16 November to raise the attention on topics that especially concern Small Island developing states and most vulnerable countries, with the aim of building up momentum for accelerating both emission reduction and enhanced adaptation. The Presidency’s program of events covers resilience and risk management, U.N. policy coherence, climate change and health, climate change and human rights, long-term strategies to 2050.

In the Bula Zone the gatherings have the overarching task of advancing the guidelines on how the Paris Agreement’s provisions will be implemented across a wide range of issues including transparency, adaptation, emission reductions, provision of finance, capacity-building and technology. Negotiations are articulated through multiple sessions of the UNFCCC bodies: the COP, the CMP and the CMA (which are the decision-making bodies for the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement respectively), the Ad hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA), the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI).

The high-level segment of COP23 is scheduled on 15 and 16 November. During the high-level segment government leaders, ministers and other senior officials will deliver statements sharing national commitments and priorities, followed by the representatives of intergovernmental and observer organizations.

The COP, the CMP and the CMA will hold separate meetings on Friday, 17 November, to conclude their work.


(Image: Traditional Fijian sailing canoe (drua), chosen at the COP23 venue as a symbol of the need to protect islands and oceans, and of sustainable transport. Photo credit: COP23 Twitter)