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Negotiators seek greater ambition as UN climate talks begin today in Bonn


President of the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP24, Michal Kurtyka (right) and Fijian Prime Minister and COP23 President Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama during the COP 24 held in Katowice, Poland

Governments are meeting today in Bonn to make progress on several items central to climate change negotiations.

They will build on the success of the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP24 in Poland at the end of last year, which saw the adoption of the Paris agreement work programme.

The package set out essential guidelines to make the Paris Climate Change Agreement operational, thereby opening the doors for its implementation and, ultimately, more ambitious climate action across the globe.

The 11-day Bonn UN Climate Change Conference (SB50) is part of a series of meetings this year to make progress in international climate action and work towards the 2030 agenda.


In spite of the progress made in 2018, still a few crunch issues are left unresolved in the negotiations on Paris agreement implementation.

Unresolved issues concern items under the Article six of the Paris agreement, which would support countries to meet a part of their domestic goals to cut greenhouse gas emissions through the use of so-called “market mechanisms”.

This would enable business and other actors to participate in action that will reduce emissions globally while also contributing to sustainable development and poverty eradication.

Specifically, the governments will consider how to improve capacity-building arrangements for developing countries.

A technical expert meeting on adaptation will focus on adaptation finance, and will convene leading authorities on adaptation and finance to exchange ideas and innovative case studies.

SB50 will witness the inaugural meeting of the Facilitative Working Group of the local communities and indigenous peoples platform.

Governments will consider the next proposed biannual budget for the new era of the secretariat supporting the UNFCCC process.

Discussions will take place to enable countries and other stakeholders to step-up their climate action and showcase them, as well as to advance on a number of technical aspects of the transparency arrangements under the Paris Agreement.

The “Katowice Committee of Experts on the Impacts of the Implementation of Response Measures (KCI)” will hold its first meeting on June 13 – 14, 2019.

Countries will peer-assess the progress that has been made by nations towards their 2020 pledges for mitigation action and emissions reductions, and provide space to showcase the success stories and challenges that countries have in increasing climate action and ambition, and to learn from each other.

Under the “Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture”, governments will consider agriculture as the foundation of human existence and also of agriculture being very vulnerable to climate change impacts.

Experts will be looking at ways in which off-grid and decentralized energy solutions can be deployed for smart energy and water use in the “agri-food chain.”

Against the backdrop of growing climate change impacts this year – including deadly storms in Africa and an ongoing heatwave in Asia – the Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change, Patricia Espinosa, warned that the world must take advantage of these sessions in Bonn to finalize outstanding elements of the Paris agreement implementation guidelines and begin working towards significantly accelerating the pace of climate action.

“Governments can take heart from the fact that regional governments, private businesses, investors and the average citizens throughout the world are increasingly coming out in support of ambitious climate action. People, especially youth – are rightly demanding results that we – and that includes governments, businesses, investors and all others – must deliver,” Espinosa said.

“The Paris Agreement and the recent Special Report of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reinforce the urgent need to limit global average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. But we’re not on track—far from it. According to recent estimates, current national climate action plans will more than double this goal. This will have dire consequences for humanity if we do not significantly step up ambition,” she said.

“Reaching carbon neutrality by 2050 and stabilizing the global average temperature rise at 1.5 degrees Celsius is possible. But this requires deep transformative policies and measures,” she added. “That work cannot wait. We are out of time. These negotiations offer a chance to make progress in an extremely important year.”
The Bonn Climate Change Conference (SB50) will host a wide range of events, meetings, and negotiating sessions that will set the stage for raising adaptation ambition, accelerating resilience-building efforts, and ensuring that climate policy is built on a solid foundation of the best available science and knowledge.

“I urge governments to use this opportunity to find solutions, allowing solid rules for carbon markets to finally take shape,” Ms. Espinosa said.

“And I urge nations to make swift progress on all other areas that are crucial to build greater ambition; notably technology, finance and capacity-building.”


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