Progress remained elusive at the Bonn Climate Change Conference where agenda tensions did not get resolved until the penultimate day of the meeting. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) reports that whether the outcome of the negotiations would be captured and forwarded to the UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), in November hinged on agreement on the agenda.

As one delegate noted, “the disagreement struck right to the core of the process.” While Heads of Delegation were able to sort out some of the disagreements in consultations before the conference, the proposed inclusion of an agenda item on the mitigation ambition and implementation work programme (MWP) remained problematic, the ENB summary report of the meeting highlights.

The EU and the Environmental Integrity Group (EIG) had submitted a request to add this item ahead of the conference. That, ENB notes, sparked debate, with the Like-minded Developing Countries (LMDCs) proposing “a counter item” three days into the conference, on “urgently scaling up financial support from developed countries in line with Article 4.5 of the Paris Agreement to enable implementation for developing countries in this critical decade.” Lengthy discussions ensued on these two items in consultations among Heads of Delegation as well as in plenary, with neither making it onto the agendas. Yet, ENB writes, “since the MWP was on the provisional agendas going into the meeting, consultations took place on the matter and the SB Chairs will prepare an informal note capturing the discussions.”

Heated debates also took place over the recognition of the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Many country groups and parties, both developing and developed, underscored the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) as “the most robust and comprehensive assessment to date.” But, as ENB reports, one developing country held up agreement, emphasizing knowledge gaps and citing “disputes” among IPCC members. This resulted in what many described as “weak language” in draft decisions on AR6.

In addition, parties:

  • could not agree on recommending a host for the Santiago Network on loss and damage;
  • did not advance the development of a framework for guiding the achievement of the Global Goal on Adaptation and the review of overall progress in achieving it; and
  • only noted an indicative draft structure of the decision on the Global Stocktake (GST), which contains four options for the title of a section on finance.

“The conclusion of the first GST is the most awaited outcome” of the UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai, the ENB analysis of the meeting flags. And while “the GST technical dialogue’s Co-Chairs said the GST was fed with 170,000 pages of information and succeeded in getting parties and non-party stakeholders to engage on a range of issues, especially during world café sessions, it remains unclear how delegates will bring it over the finish line.”

The Bonn Climate Change Conference, which featured the 58th meetings of the UNFCCC’s Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), convened from 5-15 June 2023 in Bonn, Germany. [ENB Coverage of Bonn Climate Change Conference]