Little progress following a snail’s pace for UN climate talks held in Bonn
After two weeks of negotiations, the June Bonn session of the United Nations climate talks ended with little progress. The negotiation session closed yesterday on Thursday the 11th of June, with a last-minute compromise; that the co-chairs of the negotiations should be allowed to make their own alterations to the negotiating text, and present it to all countries for approval. This will most likely take place in late July. However, it is not guaranteed that countries will not try to re-revise the new draft when it becomes available. Only 5% of the current text has been streamlined, and during these weeks Parties became frustrated that substantial discussion did not take off as hoped for. Instead, substantive discussion only started a few days before the end of the session, notably dealing with the contentious issues of “differentiation” and “commitments/contributions”. Nevertheless, all Parties were convinced that feelings of “trust” and “confidence” have being instilled into the process and that a successful outcome in Paris remains the ultimately objective.
In the back rooms, civil society groups engaged in discussions and meetings, and developed strategies in order to show countries that urgent climate action is needed. CIDSE played its part, with its members and close allies such as Caritas Internationalis, organising a side-event titled “Catholic perspective on climate change and expectations on the Paris agreement”. The aim of the event was to start stimulating discussions around the much-awaited Papal Encyclical on Human Ecology. The Encyclical is planned to be released on the 18th of June, through this document Pope Francis will send a call for action to humanity to protect our planet, i.e. our home, hoping that governments will finally take up the challenge. The side-event stimulated interesting and challenging debates on how to ensure that those moral and ethical messages enter the technical language, but most importantly can influence the final political decisions of the negotiations.
There are officially 10 negotiation days left before COP21 in the next five months, with two Ministerial events planned in July and September. Additionally, important political events, such as the High-Level event on Climate Change in New York on 29th June, the conference for Financing for Development on 16th July and the UN SDGs summit in September, are definitely on the radar as they will be crucial in refining and influencing the Paris outcome. Not only political events, but wider civil society is preparing to make its voice heard: already in the past few weeks various groups joined forces in sending strong signals for ambitious climate actions, and plenty more activities will be organised between now and December. Momentum outside the negotiations is indeed growing but it’s up to countries to respond adequately for significant progress to be made.
Contact person: Giulia Bondi, Junior Officer- Climate Justice (bondi(at)cidse.org)