On Tuesday, the lingering issue of finance surfaced in numerous rooms across the Bonn Climate Change Conference. It was the focus of a Technical Expert Dialogue, which is part of the process for the definition of a new quantified goal on climate finance. Delegates were so eager to engage in interactive discussions that they cut short the introductory panel discussion. From their breakout discussions it became clear that, while delegates are showing appetite for frank discussions, these need to be well structured to be productive. A key result from the breakout groups is a list of suggested topics to be addressed at future sessions of the Technical Expert Dialogue.
More notably, finance proved a hurdle for other negotiation processes, especially those on arrangements for intergovernmental meetings and voluntary reviews of reporting on climate change impacts and adaptation. Even when agreement on content is in reach, financial implications are a make-or-break aspect in climate negotiations. Delegates might agree in principle that ensuring developing country participation in a workshop is important and that reviews are useful for improving reporting over time, yet when it comes to the availability of financial resources to support it, priorities might be redrawn.
Further negotiations stumbled for yet other reasons. Discussions around common metrics to measure greenhouse gases could not agree on a paragraph which duplicated Paris Agreement text, leading one delegate to openly regret “multiple hours of fruitless negotiations every year” as the session collapsed into a procedural decision. Disagreements about whether to include an informal note in agriculture talks nearly scuppered conclusions.
The meeting of the Glasgow Committee on Non-market Approaches had to pause several times for parties to “consult among themselves” on their draft conclusions. Yet they could not reach agreement on what they wanted to discuss next, ranging from the topics of submissions to the contents of a technical paper to be prepared by the Secretariat. The co-chairs ended today’s session by exhorting parties to continue to consult so that the Committee can conclude its first meeting with a substantive outcome.
Parties will continue to meet informally to try and hash out conclusions before Thursday’s final plenary. But time is tight, and the solutions aren’t easy. “No matter what,” one delegate was overheard whispering to another, “it’s going to be a pretty long night.”