Bonn Climate Change Conference 2016

Uppsala Univerisity’s delegation reporting live from the climate change negotiations in Bonn May 16-26. For reports and analysis of COP21 in Paris 2015, go here.

Daily Reports from Bonn

Including video-logs, interviews with conference participants, analysis of the negotiations and more

Friday May 20

With a workshop on gender and climate change recently held, we had the chance to get an interview with Shaila Shahid under the Gender Constituency and discuss how gender aspects are integrated in the UNFCCC and what needs to be done and how. Check it out!

Thursday May 19

Uppsala delegation sharing their thoughts and ambitions with Christiana Figueres (Executive Secretary of UNFCCC)
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Wednesday May 18

The Uppsala delegation attending a session with youth calling for engagement in Paris Agreement Implementation
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Read more at: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/editors-pick/cycn-bonn-2016/

We give a brief update about the first APA meeting yesterday and whats going on right now.

Tuesday May 17: First APA meeting

Initiating day 2 with attending the first ever APA session, on implementing the Paris agreement. We’ll reflect on the speeches afterwards and update you on today’s happenings!


Day 2 of the UN Climate Change Conference and we are just about to enter the the first ever APA meeting.


The installment of the Precidency and opening of the first APA meeting

Monday May 16: First day at the negotiations


Interview with Mariama Williams from South Centre (2016-05-16, UNFCCC).

Monday May 16

Impressions from Day 1 in Bonn

By Gustaf Andersson

With still sleepy eyes accompanied by a fresh smile, the first visit to a UN conference (ever!) was about to take place. Surprisingly I was nervous. Why be nervous about the UN, an organisation whose decisions affect the broad-spectrum life that we live? Perhaps since I’ve always associated the UN with significant influence, and I was uncertain regarding how my attending the conference session would influence me.

I entered the conference building in optimism. Even though I’ve come to realise that the processes under the UNFCCC in general move slowly, they have still led to progresses. During the opening ceremony of the SB 44, I had the chance to listen to the perspectives of the secretariat and the attending coalitions of country Parties to the Convention. Heavy words were raised: transparency, equity, implementation, adaptation, mitigation, solidarity, responsibility. Even though the opening speeches carried dense meanings, there was one metaphor that got to summarise my first impression of the UN work in a conference room. I’ve pictured the UN as the aggregation of human compassion. The organisation works for well-being, and wouldn’t function without compassionate human beings. The French environment minster and president of the COP21, Ségolène Royal, made the metaphor that I’m raising. Referring to the Paris agreement and its implementation, she said:

“The foundations have been laid, it is now up to us build our common house. I call on you to be builders and facilitators”.

This became a symbol for me of the humanistic side of the conference. We must not forget that the actions taken here take their starting point from individuals, and then grow into a common accomplishment. Human conditions are unequivocally considered and in focus when drafting the decisions and preparing the actions (building the house). And there is a reciprocal relationship between the UN itself, its members and the simple individual. After all, nations are composed of humans living their life and aggregately sharing the common living space: Earth.

I guess I was somewhat surprised by standing “on the inside” and having access to the influential negotiations. When thinking about it again, it’s not so strange anymore. Considering myself as a co-builder, not as a negotiator but as a simple individual, I recognise that I too have a place in the UN and vice versa. Surely, my impressions here have not revealed anything about prevalent views of “dark sides of the negotiations”, for example hierarchic decision-making and non-connectedness to the real world outside of the conference room. I’ll use these days to make myself a personal and clearer picture of those sides too. From today, I’ll take with me the sense of solidarity from the presidency and the comments from the people I met regarding humanism. I would not say that I’m naïve doing so. I’m happy to feel this way after my first direct encounter with the UN.

I left the conference in optimism.

Gustaf

 

First Impressions of the Climate Change Framework

by Samuel Perini

The Uppsala delegation has survived the first day of UNFCCC meeting in Bonn. The morning opening statements delivered by the Parties have welcomed us with elegant and hopeful words. Each representative seemed to be keen to pursue the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and build the road map for adaptation and mitigation strategies. Yet, none of them has addressed loss and damage as the third pillar of climate action. The essential role of loss and damage has been fairly explored during the afternoon side event held by WWF international, CARE international and Climate Justice Programme. The main focus of the panel discussion was about liability and compensation for loss and damage, described in the paragraph 51 article 8 of the Paris Agreement. Interestingly, innovative mechanisms for gathering funds for loss and damage have been already proposed. For instance, imposing a fee on the airline transport appears to be the most promising remedy to situations where adaptive measures have failed. In fact, liability and compensation for loss and damage are likely to be progressed outside the UNFCCC, although they have not been excluded by the UNFCCC. As in the case of tobacco, the private sector could be held responsible for the damages their product has caused. This was a brief report about the first day among the delegates at the World Conference Center in Bonn. Stay tuned for further news.

Sunday May 15: Arrival in Bonn

The reason for putting interest into the SB 44 conference of the UNFCCC – Introduction to the 44th session of the Subsidiary Bodies

by Gustaf Andersson

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By the end of the 21st Conference of the Parties (also known as COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, nations agreed on a collective international effort to limit the global average temperature increase to 2°C (and preferably, to 1.5°C) above pre-industrial levels, stabilising green house gases and limiting human negative interference with ecosystems; The Parties agreed on a common goal. Through national efforts, the summative action supposedly will secure a sustainable adaptation to and mitigation of climate change impacts. However, in order to achieve the purpose of this climate action plan, Parties need to start figuring on implementation, the keyword of the SB 44 conference of the UNFCCC. Words must now translate into action in the implementation of the Paris Agreement of the COP21.

The next couple of days will shape the international talks on implementing the collective effort leading up to COP22. Parties that submitted so called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (in short: each country makes their own contribution plan. The aggregation of every contribution plan will be the summative action mentioned above) will discuss how to make certain that actions are clear and transparent and at the same time efficient. No time to lose.

The Intended Nationally Determined Contributions have now transformed into Nationally Determined Contributions (abbr: NDCs. Name change since intentions have changed into steady determinations) but serve the same purpose of showing each country’s commitment to the overall goal of the Paris agreement. A positive side of this bottom-up approach is that more than 150 countries covering around 90 % of greenhouse gas emissions showed their interest and posted their respective NDCs.

The negotiations included under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, abbreviated UNFCCC, have grown in an increasing pace, becoming the largest annually held negotiations within the United Nations. Of course, this has led to a more complicated progression. At the same time, the globalisation of the talks on climate change has led to a higher degree of decisive power. The role of the SB 44 is nevertheless definable: to work with the issues to be treated at the COPs, reach agreements over differences and prepare the draft texts to be formally agreed upon at the next COP; The SB 44 will work as a forum for bridging the multitude of national action plans and to set a framework within which the Parties will work to limit the global temperature increase. The bodies assigned to this task are the SBI (Subsidiary body for Implementation) and the SBSTA (Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice). Moreover, what will make SB 44 special is that this will be the first session of the working group on the Paris Agreement (progress to be covered by the delegation during the conference).

What makes the SB 44 important? First of all, this is the first time since the COP21 that Parties to the Convention will meet to discuss the implementation of the document agreed upon by the respective countries. Secondly, this will be the time for officially outlining the rulebook of the COP22. The SB 44 will in other words consider the past while contributing to the definition of the future outcome of the next UN Conference of the Parties.

Summarising the importance of the SB 44 leads to some insights. The SB 44 is part of the largest negotiation process within the UN; The outcomes of the SB 44 will shape the COP22; The SB 44 will introduce the first session of the working group on the Paris Agreement.

In short, the SB 44 will influence the future work on combating climate change, intergovernmental collaboration on adapting to climate change and to what extent the climate of our everyday lives will differ. You won’t miss out.