This overview has been written by ClimaTalkers and Young Negotiators from the Youth Negotiators Academy. All of them attended the Bonn Climate Change Conference 2023 (SB58) and have closely tracked the negotiations and the topics covered here. We have summarised the developments in the following topics: loss and damage, article 6, finance, oceans and ACE (action for climate empowerment).
Loss and Damage:
As part of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage, the Santiago Network (SNLD) was established at COP25 for averting, minimising and addressing loss and damage. SNLD would provide funds to vulnerable developing countries in need of technical support for the implementation of addressing loss and damage. SB58 saw the selection process for the host of the SNLD secretariat as parties agreed to select a host by COP28 in the coming November. Two proposals were received by (1) the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), and (2) United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).
Prior to SB58, parties have made it clear that they hoped for a secretariat to be housed by the host organisation, but must be independent of the host organisation and governed by the Advisory Board. At the end of SB58, parties failed to reach an agreement on the host, pointing out areas of both proposals that could be improved – the element of independence, clarity on how the secretariat would be financed, and an emphasis on regional presence. Selection will now occur at SB59 in 2024. The 2nd Glasgow Dialogue took place in SB58. The Glasgow Dialogue on Loss and Damage was established in COP26 by the COP/CMA for parties to discuss funding arrangements for the function of averting, minimising and addressing loss and damage.
Article 6 of the Paris Agreement recognizes that some parties choose to pursue voluntary cooperation in the implementation of their NDCs. Article 6.2 relates to direct cooperation between parties. Parties discussed capacity building for developing countries to contribute to technical discussions on the agreed electronic format (AEF). A manual was agreed upon to assist with the preparation of the AEF, with some calling for illustrative examples and others emphasising the non-binding nature.
Article 6.4 relates to market-based cooperation. Parties discussed the inclusion of emission avoidance and conservation enhancement activities in Article 6.4, requiring more guidance and clarification. The importance of connecting the Article 6.4 registry and international registry and making them compatible was also emphasised. Discussions focused on transparency and the inclusion of both land-based and engineered carbon removal systems. The supervisory body is expected to make recommendations on technical matters, which must be approved by all parties at COP28. The issue of emissions avoidance was also discussed. Article 6.8 remains the least well-defined of the cooperative measures, focusing on non-market approaches. Some developing countries and civil society groups object to carbon markets, while some, like the US, promote carbon markets as a solution to funding shortfalls.
The Parties also invited the SBSTA Chair to consider organising a joint meeting for informal consultations on matters under Article 6.4 and Article 6.2 to facilitate consistent outcomes. Finally, the article mentions work on Article 6.8 and the operationalization of a web-based platform for Non-Market Approaches (NMAs). Parties and observers were invited to make submissions on the framework for NMAs, including the process for registering NMAs and possible topics for the next in-session workshop. The Parties aim to create opportunities for cooperation and engagement with interested stakeholders, including Indigenous Peoples and local communities, via the framework for NMAs.
The UNFCCC Financing Mechanism has a clear objective of addressing loss and damage, in addition to other financing for adaptation. The importance of providing financial support in the form of “grants” to avoid an additional debt burden to developing countries was expressed, in addition to the fact that the fund must serve all developing countries in an equitable, accessible and inclusive manner. Parties should provide resources to developing parties, taking into account the needs and priorities of developing parties to meet long-term objectives. Among the main elements discussed in the sixth technical dialogue of the new target were: Options to determine the quantum of the NCQG, in the context of contributing to accelerate compliance with Article 2 of the Paris Agreement; Options on the mobilisation and provision of financial sources. Parties reiterated that the amount of the NCQG should be based on available science and should take into account the needs and priorities of developing countries (NDCs, NAPS, LTS). Some groups stated that the NCQG is a goal of the means of implementation that should function as a vehicle to implement the long-term objectives of the Paris Agreement.
The Third Technical Dialogue of the World Stocktake was developed at SB58. In this dialogue, parties discussed; current needs that exist, taking as a reference the latest OECD report, highlighting that current flows of climate finance are insufficient to meet the needs of developing countries; the need to increase financing for adaptation and the challenges to accessing technology. There was reflection on actions needed to increase the provision and mobilisation of the means of implementation.During SB58, the Third Technical Dialogue of the World Stocktake was developed, in this dialogue the developing parties discussed about; the current needs that exist in their regions in terms of climate finance, taking as a reference the latest OECD report, “Climate finance provided and mobilized by developing countries in 2016-2020, highlighting that current flows of climate finance are not sufficient to meet the needs of developing countries; the need to increase financing for adaptation; the challenges to accessing technology, therefore, the summary of the third technical dialogue of the Global Stocktake should reflect these needs, as well as detail the actions needed to increase the provision and mobilization of the means of implementation (financing, technology transfer and capacity building).
Consultations culminated in a final panel on June 14th, 2023. Increasing knowledge was identified as the underlying goal for any further mitigation efforts. This means collecting information in cooperation with local communities so coastal ecosystems can be managed more effectively and sustainably. When it comes to restoration projects, the focus lies on mangroves and seagrass. National policy frameworks must be adjusted to foster the creation of a blue economy frame. This includes the creation of blue bonds – an innovative financial strategy, supporting small-scale fisheries with environmentally-friendly agendas. Debt for nature swaps are also a positive mechanism through which some of the poorest countries can invest sufficient amounts into nature based solutions. The key to achieving food security and strengthening community resilience lies in the expansion of aquaculture. While the private sector has already led the way, the inclusion of Indigenous People’s traditional knowledge and skills paves the way to equitable, just, and sustainable development.
Parties agreed on the undeniable importance of the ocean in mitigation and adaptation efforts, undertaken by the UNFCCC and the Global Stocktake. While it covers 71% of our planet, it is not adequately included in political processes. The plenary’s closing consensus was that ocean-based climate action and science must be integrated in countries’ NDCs and international bodies’ working plans.
Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE):
In informal consultations, facilitators invited parties’ views on a new iteration of draft decision text, including a list of possible activities in the four priority areas of the Glasgow work programme on Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE). Parties expressed needing more time for detailed consideration. Several parties called for stronger language on gender equality, human rights, and Indigenous Peoples and local communities. Many expressed concerns over the lack of a timeline for the implementation of the proposed activities.
Other areas of focus included the relation between ACE focal points and national youth focal points; fostering peer exchange between ACE focal points; engaging local governments; and attention for persons living with disabilities. Participants continued to discuss issues of time allocation in plenary and meeting access. Bhutan, for LDCs, said increasing access for all participants should not negatively affect parties’ capacity to negotiate. CANADA suggested meaningful participation from observers is linked to efficiency, and pointed to a possible workshop on improving efficiency in UNFCCC processes. Zambia, for the AFRICAN GROUP, raised the issue of challenges in securing visas from host countries. SBI Chair Marianne Karlsen noted that visas are ultimately controlled by host governments. YOUTH NGOs stressed that discussions under this agenda item should address conflicts of interest, as some observer groups hold financial interests that “deliberately undermine climate action.”
Check out this article to read about ClimaTalkers’ personal reflections from the conference.