Toward Paris 2015: Bonn talks deliver small progress

The UNFCCC negotiations resumed in Bonn for a 5-days session from August 31 to September 4, 2015. It was the penultimate session ahead of the long-awaited Paris conference. With the objective to make progress on the negotiating text and clarify positions, the meeting gathered together over 2,000 participants, among governments and organizations. Starting point of this session was the document released by the two ADP co-chairs at the end of July to facilitate negotiations.

Although an initial procedural delay due to divergences about the role and how to use the Co-chairs document, the work was organized in facilitated groups aimed at crystallizing options, drafting textual proposals and identifying bridging solutions. According to the IISD’s Earth Negotiations Bulletin, delegates reported satisfaction about the progress made in some groups, namely adaptation, finance and capacity-building. Among the others,  Loss & Damage and the proposal for a new framework for enhanced action on technology development and transfer made by the African Group were able to capture considerable attention of countries. Facilitated groups on mitigation and timeframes, took smaller steps, for instance proposing bridging text on joint implementation.

However, the main success of this round of talks is the mandate given on Friday to the Co-Chairs to produce a new non-paper, comprising a clear, concise, comprehensive and consistent single document “that corrects imbalances, which is inclusive and not restrictive in terms of content, includes crystallized, manageable options, and creates better articulation for all central issues between the core agreement and COP decisions.”

The Co-Chairs’ task needs to be accomplished before the next session will start in Bonn on October, 19 2015, the last one before the conference in Paris to be held at the end of the year.

At the final press conference, the executive secretary of the UNFCCC Christiana Figueres, said that progresses are moving in the right direction. She also added that the four pillars needed for the Paris climate are in place: the negotiating text for the Paris agreement is on track; a financial package to support mitigation and adaptation is on track; 58 INDC’s have been submitted so far covering about 60% of global emissions; and non-state actors are making significant pledges.

Progress on INDCs, have been marked by two new recent submissions. On the last day of talks, Algeria pledged an emissions reduction of 7 – 22% by 2030 compared to Business as Usual (BAU) levels and conditional to the availability of financial support. More recently, Colombia committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% with respect to the projected BAU Scenario by 2030.


(Image: UNFCCC Bonn Meeting, Germany, June 2015. Photo credit: UNFCCC/Flickr)