As is often the case at climate change negotiations, the beginning of the last day of the Bonn Climate Change Conference was delayed to allow for some last-minute consultations. Yet compared to previous meetings, this delay was short, and the process quickly took up a remarkable pace.
In their respective closing plenaries, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) expeditiously adopted their conclusions. A fundamental step-change in terms of time management showed in delegates’ closing statements. Disciplined by an alarm bell, groups and parties displayed an unprecedented diligence in sticking to their allocated speaking time. Many kept within their 2-3 minute speaking slots.
Why is this noteworthy? Because these segments are notorious for going well over time, leaving observer organizations–who are last in line in the speaking order–to speak at late hours in front of an oftentimes deserted room. After a languorous performance during the conference’s opening, delegates rose to the occasion during the closing session. Parties kept true to their stated intention to increase the efficiency of UNFCCC meetings and enhance observer participation. Giving observers space to speak and listening to their statements is only a first step in this direction, but an encouraging one nonetheless.
Another aspect will mark the closure of the meeting: the disappointment many speakers registered about the lack of progress on issues such as loss and damage, scaling up mitigation, and keeping up with latest scientific insights provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Developing countries left no doubt about their expectations for a finance facility for addressing loss and damage. “The world expects more from us than dialogues,” noted Bolivia. Whether the 27th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 27) can deliver on these expectations remains to be seen.