By Henry Opondo
This year’s Bonn Climate Change Conference (SB58) launches next Monday, 5 June, designed to prepare decisions for adoption at COP28 in the United Arab Emirates in December.
Building on the many mandates that emerged from COP27 in Egypt last year, the conference will convene the 58th session of the UNFCCC subsidiary bodies, including a large number of events, and continue discussions on issues of critical importance.
For Africa, these issues include recognition as a region of special needs and circumstances, increased climate finance, loss and damage, and adaptation finances. Then there are the global stocktake, the just transition to sustainable societies, and the mitigation work programme, among others.
“For many people around the world, limiting the warming of our planet to 1.5 degrees Celsius is a matter of survival. The global stocktake is the opportunity of a generation to correct the course we are on, to design a way forward to tackle climate change with fresh vigor and perspective,” said UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell.
The technical phase of the global stocktake will conclude at the Bonn Conference, and mark the start of the political phase which will work towards a strong outcome of the first stocktake at COP28.
Another key task at SB58 will be to prepare decisions at COP28 to operationalize the new loss and damage fund and funding arrangements, along with a decision on the host for the Santiago network on loss and damage.
Stiell added: “COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh marked the shift to implementation of the Paris Agreement, resulting in several important outcomes supporting this historic new phase. Parties know what is at stake, and each country now has to deliver.”
Several events will touch on climate finance, notably the provision of adequate and predictable financial support to developing countries for climate action, including the new collective quantified goal on climate finance.
Other important issues will be increasing the transparency and accountability of climate action and minimizing the impacts that climate change is having on the agriculture and food security sectors.
Sameh Shoukry, President of last year’s COP27 in Egypt, said the Bonn Climate Conference is an opportune occasion to stock take the status of implementation of the outcomes and breakthroughs achieved in Sharm el-Sheikh. It also provides an opportunity to pave the way toward achieving remarkable progress at COP28 in the UAE later this year. “This is most urgent given that the climate crisis is becoming the new reality and we are forced to deal with its consequences on a daily basis,” he said.
Acknowledging this, he said, the world must seize every opportunity to renew science-based collective resolve to adhere to the principles of the UN Framework Convention and the Paris Agreement in order to strengthen response to ensure observing the Paris temperature goal, keeping the 1.5 degrees within reach, effectively adapting to a changing climate and sufficiently responding to the different forms of losses and damages.
Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, COP28 President-Designate, said the upcoming Bonn sessions are critical for shaping meaningful, pragmatic, and impactful outcomes at COP28. “As the incoming Presidency, we will ensure a fair, inclusive, and transparent presidency that provides space for all Parties to reach consensus across the whole agenda. That includes making climate finance more available, accessible, and affordable; doubling adaptation finance, operationalizing the loss and damage fund, tripling global renewable energy capacity by 2030; and putting young people, nature, and health at the heart of climate progress,” he said.
Also in Bonn, the High-Level Champions for COP27 and COP28, Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin and Ms. Razan Al Mubarak, will continue to connect the work of governments with the many voluntary and collaborative climate actions taken by cities, regions, businesses, and investors and discuss how to increase the accountability of such actions.