10 May 2018: The UN Climate Change Conference concluded following more than ten days of talks in Bonn, Germany, with agreement to convene an extra negotiating session in September 2018 to further work on the Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP) in advance of the 24th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 24) to the UNFCCC, which will take place in Katowice, Poland, from 3-14 December 2018.

The Conference convened from 30 April to 10 May 2018, and included sessions of the UNFCCC’s three Subsidiary Bodies (SBs), namely the 48th sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 48) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 48), and the fifth session of the first meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA 1-5).

Delegates met amidst the third warmest April on record, which also saw a number of high-impact weather events, including storms that killed more than 100 people in India and heatwaves in Pakistan where temperatures reached 50°C on 30 April, according to World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reports. The UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported above average seasonal rainfall and flooding in the East and Horn of Africa, while flash floods and river flooding affected hundreds of thousands of people, killing dozens, in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda. In addition, for the first time in recorded history, the average monthly CO2 concentration in the atmosphere topped 410 parts per million (ppm), according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). [WMO News Story on April Extreme Weather]

Much of the focus of the Bonn conference was on advancing work on the PAWP, a set of decisions that will operationalize the Paris Agreement on climate change and facilitate its implementation, which is expected to be adopted at the Katowice Climate Change Conference. While the Bonn Climate Change Conference saw some progress in this regard, another negotiating session will convene from 3-8 September, in Bangkok, Thailand, to advance work before COP 24. Many of the conclusions reached in Bonn regarding the PAWP capture discussions and include agreements to continue consideration of key issues.

At the resumed negotiating session in Bangkok, the UNFCCC SBs will take up PAWP-related issues such as the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) Registry, the Adaptation Communications Registry, finance and cooperative approaches. The presiding officers of the three SBs will publish a “reflection note” on progress made and proposed ways forward in mid-August to help governments prepare for the Bangkok session, which is expected to forward texts and draft decisions for adoption to COP 24. Immediately prior to the Bangkok meeting, the APA will convene a roundtable to address substantive linkages and PAWP-linked matters outside the APA mandate.

In mid-August, the SB presiding officers will publish a “reflection note” on progress made and proposed ways forward to help governments prepare for the Bangkok session.

Other significant outcomes from the Bonn Climate Change Conference include progress on the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture. The Conference adopted a roadmap for the next two and a half years that addresses, inter alia, the socioeconomic and food security dimensions of climate change, assessments of adaptation in agriculture, co-benefits and resilience, and livestock management.

Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) to support the Paris Agreement also saw progress, with a draft outcome, to be adopted at COP 24, calling on Parties to appoint national focal points (NFPs) and develop national strategies for ACE promotion, and to integrate ACE into emission reduction and resilience-building activities. [UNFCCC Press Release on Closing of Bonn Climate Change Conference] [IISD RS Summary Report of Bonn Climate Change Conference] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Bonn Climate Change Conference Opening]

Many workshops, mandated events and side events convened in parallel to the formal negotiations in Bonn, notably the preparatory phase of the Fiji-led Talanoa Dialogue, which follows the Pacific region’s talanoa tradition of sharing stories to find solutions for the common good. During the Talanoa Dialogue process, which aims to review progress and find solutions regarding increased ambition by countries now and in the next round of NDCs, countries and non-Party stakeholders, including cities, businesses, investors and regions, engaged in interactive story telling. All inputs received prior to 29 October 2018, including discussions in Bonn, will inform a synthesis report that will feed into the Talanoa Dialogue’s political phase during COP 24. Cities and Regions Talanoa Dialogues will also take place in the run-up to the Katowice Climate Change Conference.

The Talanoa Dialogue is structured around three questions: Where are we? Where do we want to go? and How do we get there? Written submissions around these three questions by Parties and non-Party stakeholders, collated into an overview report, informed discussions at the Bonn session. The opening meeting of the Dialogue took place on 2 May. It considered an overview of inputs submitted by countries and non-Party stakeholders, and panelists shared stories relevant to the Dialogue’s three questions. On 6 May, an in-depth consideration of the three questions took place in six discussion groups, or talanoas. On 8 May, a reporting-back session convened to share key messages emanating from the in-depth discussions. The closing meeting took place on 9 May, during which the Fijian COP 23 and Polish COP 24 Presidencies shared general reflections about the process and focused on next steps in the run-up to COP 24. [UNFCCC Press Release on Opening of Talanoa Dialogue] [2018 Talanoa Dialogue Platform Webpage] [Talanoa Dialogue Statements and Documents] [Talanoa Dialogue Opening] [Talanoa Discussion Groups] [Talanoa Dialogue Reporting-back Session] [Talanoa Dialogue Closing] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Talanoa Dialogue Process]

Other meetings included the Technical Expert Meeting on Adaptation (TEM-A), which convened from 9-10 May to discuss how successful adaptation planning in vulnerable communities and ecosystems can be scaled up and replicated in an effort to increase resilience to climate change impacts, such as floods and droughts. Participants discussed, among other issues: effective ecosystem management; engagement of local and community representatives in decision-making processes; adaptation technologies; mobilizing resources; and building women’s adaptive capacity. [UNFCCC News Story on TEM-A] [TEM-A Webpage]

A Technical Expert Meeting on Mitigation (TEM-M) convened from 1-2 May, to consider policy options, technological innovations and best practices on circular economies to achieve emission reductions and generate sustainable development benefits. [UNFCCC News Story on TEM-M] [TEM-M Homepage]

Government representatives, civil society and youth met for the 6th Dialogue on ACE from 8-9 May, which covered public awareness, participation and access to information, with a cross-cutting focus on international cooperation. Participants put forward ideas and approaches to enhance ACE, such as two-way communication, audience knowledge, innovative channels for reaching people and delivering solutions alongside climate change warnings. [UNFCCC News Story on ACE] [ACE Dialogue Webpage] [SDG Knowledge Hub Guest Article on Education, Training and Public Awareness]

During a fifth round of a facilitative sharing of views (FSV) on 9 May, Chile and Singapore presented their achievements and challenges in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Chile reported on, inter alia, greater engagement of public and private agencies to raise the profile of climate change and promote climate action at the domestic level. Singapore highlighted its efforts to help other developing countries improve their capacity to measure, report and verify emission reductions. [UNFCCC News Story on FSV]