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Bonn Climate Conference: UNFCCC subsidiary bodies in milestone talks ahead of COP28

Informal consultations on the just transition. PHOTO/Earth Negotiations Bulletin.


UN Climate subsidiary bodies finally adopted their agendas as they stopped the mitigation ambition and implementation work programme from featuring on the agendas as they prepare the way for COP28 talks.

On the penultimate day of the 58th session of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), both bodies finally adopted their agendas.

A compromise was struck among Heads of Delegation: the mitigation ambition and implementation work programme will not feature on the agendas, but the SB Chairs will capture discussions held at the session in an informal note issued under their own authority. This agreement paved the way for the adoption of conclusions at SB 58.

SBSTA Chair Harry Vreuls (the Netherlands) and SBI Chair Nabeel Munir (Pakistan) expressed appreciation for parties’ flexibility in reaching an agreement and allowing work to be launched prior to the adoption of the agendas. They noted this is not setting a precedent for future work.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Subsidiary Bodies meetings represent the last big milestone in climate negotiations before the culmination of the first Global Stocktake under the Paris Agreement at COP 28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

It remains to be seen how substantive the conclusions on the different agenda items will be, however. Throughout the day, delegates scrambled to clean up their draft texts. Some, such as the delegates working on agriculture, only managed to agree on procedural draft conclusions. This essentially signifies parties agreed to continue discussing the relevant matter at the next meeting.

In informal consultations, Co-Facilitators Ali Waqas (Pakistan) and Gabriela Blatter (Switzerland) invited parties’ views on draft conclusions, pointing to carefully crafted bridging proposals based on consultations with groups and parties.

Regarding disaggregated information on participation in sessions of the Standing Committee on Finance (SCF), parties converged on referring to Annex I and non-Annex I parties, in line with language on the SCF’s composition.

They also converged on the technical paper to be prepared by the Secretariat to consider, among others, “the extent to which” the SCF fulfilled its core functions and mandated activities.

On a number of issues, delegates debated whether the continuation of negotiations at SB 59 would be “on the basis of” or “informed by” the informal notes capturing discussions held at SB 58.

Informal consultations on the Global Goal for Adaptation (GGA). PHOTO/Earth Negotiations Bulletin.

The former phrasing solidifies the informal notes as the starting point of discussions, while the latter opens up room to also consider other inputs, such as submissions by parties and/or observers ahead of the next meeting.

On review of the progress, effectiveness, and performance of the Adaptation Committee; in informal consultations co-facilitated by Maria Samuelsen (Denmark) and María del Pilar Bueno (Argentina), parties reflected on how to capture discussions held at SB 58.

They converged on procedural draft conclusions and agreed to continue the consideration of the review on the basis of the draft decision elements contained in the informal note from SB 58.

Albeit separated on a range of aspects, delegates working on the work programme on just transition pathways were happy with progress made at the session. After all, they said, it is the first time they really engaged in such discussions.

On Glasgow–Sharm el-Sheikh work programme on the Global Goal on Adaptation; in informal consultations co-facilitated by Mattias Frumerie (Sweden), parties remained divergent with regard to whether and how to capture elements for the development of the framework on the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA).

Many developing countries favored annexing a list of elements to the draft SB conclusions, welcoming further discussion over the elements at SB 58. Some developed countries underscored the list of elements is not a negotiated text and does not capture progress in the discussions.

The atmosphere was very different in the room focused on research and systematic observation. In this first UNFCCC meeting after the adoption of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report (IPCC AR6), many had hoped the SBs would welcome the latest advances in climate science and note best-available science should underpin climate policy and action.Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

But the trenches with regard to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are deep, with some developing countries questioning the Panel’s inclusiveness and the robustness of its findings. 

The draft text on the first Global Stocktake under the Paris Agreement clearly lays out the trenches that will need to be bridged in Dubai: there are four options for how and whether to refer to “finance flows” and “means of implementation and support.”

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