Delegates at the Bonn Climate Change Conference may get a well-deserved break on Sunday, but Saturday’s discussions showed no signs of slowing.
Equity remains a central issue, especially for low-income countries and civil society organizations. In the mitigation work programme discussions, one party reminded his peers of the danger of “carbon colonialism” if a new work programme to enhance mitigation were to demand the same of each party, regardless of historical emissions or development needs. In the Glasgow Dialogue on loss and damage, civil society members called for a dedicated finance facility “as a matter of justice.” And discussions on the role of observers in future meetings raised the perennial issue of visa equity for developing country delegates, which makes it much more difficult to have equal representation at the negotiation table.
The afternoon was taken up by the roundtables of the Global Stocktake’s first Technical Dialogue, which brings together parties, non-party stakeholders, and experts to assess the collective progress towards the objectives of the Paris Agreement. The roundtables—small groups broken up according to the themes of mitigation, adaptation, and means of implementation—are tasked with collecting all types of information to help advance parties’ actions, shifting from prepared statements to candid exchanges. They are opportunities for different forms of knowledge to interact and inform progress.
Changing the way you work can sometimes be chaotic, but this change seems to be paying off. Many applauded how observers were given the floor first, rather than parties, after the Glasgow Dialogue’s report-back session. Participants seemed enthusiastic about Friday’s “world café” setting in the Global Stocktake discussions, where parties, civil society representatives, private sector organizations, and experts crowded around thematic tables to exchange views. “It was messy, but it felt so much more productive than the usual talking heads,” one was overheard saying. “I hope that kind of exchange can feed into real implementation.” A hope no doubt shared by many.