Bonn Climate Talks with scarce Progress on Key Issues

The 2024 Bonn Climate Change Conference, consisting of the 60th sessions of the Subsidiary Bodies (SB60), convened from 3rd to 13th of June at the World Conference Center in Bonn, Germany. Discussions covered crucial topics like the Global Stocktake (GST), the New Collective Quantified Goal on Climate Finance (NCQG), the Mitigation Work Programme (MWP), adaptation, loss and damage, and other implementation matters under the Paris Agreement. However, the meeting concluded with progress proving difficult on many fronts.

The Global Stocktake (GST) is a process under the Paris Agreement to collectively assess progress on climate action across all elements - mitigation, adaptation, and means of implementation. Conducted every five years, its aim is to inform further national climate commitments and international cooperation. In Bonn, a major focus was on establishing modalities for the dialogue on GST to operationalize outcomes from the first GST concluded last year. Parties agreed to continue discussions at COP29 and invite submissions on the topic.

On finance, the most important issue was the need to define a new collective quantified goal on climate finance (NCQG) prior to 2025. COP15 in Copenhagen (2009) established the current goal of providing 100 billion USD annually starting 2020, which was only reached and exceeded for the first time in 2022 with 115,9 billion USD. The new goal should provide a shift “from billions to trillions”, however, parties' positions remained starkly divided on key aspects like the donor and recipient base for such a goal, as well as its overall quantum. While limited progress was achieved, still a lot of work is ahead in front of a decision to be taken at the next COP in Baku, Azerbaijan. With the goal meant to define climate action trajectories for years to come, this lack of progress raised concerns.

Mitigation discussions were particularly controversial with “rule 16” that is no conclusion not even a draft to be considered at the COP. Given the relevance of mitigation, this is particularly haunting, but negotiations remained stuck on the questions of whether the  Mitigation Work Programme's outputs should reflect findings from the GST's mitigation component.

Beyond these highlighted issues, the talks also grappled with limited advancement on other matters like the Global Goal on Adaptation, gender considerations, and identifying research needs to inform future climate science reports.

On technology development and transfer, the linkage between the Technology Mechanism and the Financial Mechanism was discussed. A one-day workshop provided a concise summary of activities in this regard, revealing that many positive actions are in place that link technology needs with access to financial support, but also revealing key limitations and gaps. Discussions focused on relevant data and action to be taken for improvement, with developing countries particularly highlighting the need for a stronger emphasis on technologies as key enabler for the implementation of the Paris Agreement and doing so also via an enhanced collaboration between the Technology Mechanism and the Financial Mechanism. A procedural conclusion was adopted to continue discussions in Baku on linkages between the two mechanism. In addition, in Baku under the technology mechanism there will be agenda items the joint annual report of the Technology Executive Committee (TEC) and the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) and the technology implementation program.  

Many remarked on the overall lack of substantive achievements in Bonn, with difficult political decisions being postponed to COP29 in Baku, Azerbaijan in November 2024. Given the critical point in time with immediate actions needed to prevent the worst possible outcomes of climate change, a significant amount of work ready to be tackled at the next COP.

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