Summary report, 6–16 June 2022
Bonn Climate Change Conference - June 2022
After a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the subsidiary bodies of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) made their return to the World Conference Center in Bonn. The venue was the same, but the process has changed. The world has changed even more.
In 2021, at the 26th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 26) in Glasgow, Scotland, parties completed the rulebook for the landmark Paris Agreement. This set the course for shifting gears from negotiating to implementing the provisions of the agreement. The only Paris-related negotiations that carried forward to the Bonn conference were those related to Article 6 on cooperative approaches and voluntary review on information on climate impacts and adaptation under Article 13. Discussions otherwise focused on enhancing implementation, taking stock of progress, and ensuring alignment between reporting under the Convention and the Agreement.
The nature of the Bonn conference also differed from previous subsidiary body meetings with respect to the prominence of dialogue formats. COP 26 in 2021 launched various new processes, including: the Glasgow–Sharm el-Sheikh work programme on the global goal on adaptation (GGA); the Glasgow Dialogue on loss and damage; a series of technical expert dialogues on the new collective quantified goal on climate finance; and an annual Ocean Dialogue. The Bonn conference allocated significant time on the meeting schedule for these dialogues. Overlaps with the negotiations were minimized, squeezing the latter into only two one-hour slots on some days.
Delegates supported the more interactive discussion formats. Parties and observers alike lauded the world café that took place under the Technical Dialogue of the Global Stocktake. Many demanded more of these types of discussions at future sessions, emphasizing the need to move away from reading out prepared statements and towards discussions on concrete actions. There was significant interest in increasing the efficiency of UNFCCC meetings. The usually niche negotiations on arrangements for intergovernmental meetings showed a new-found momentum towards enhancing observer participation, streamlining meeting agendas, and enforcing efficient time management during sessions.
However, it was also clear that developing countries, in particular, demand more than just dialogues. The opening of the Bonn conference was marked by heated debate over the proposed inclusion of agenda items on the Glasgow–Sharm el-Sheikh GGA work programme and the Glasgow Dialogue on loss and damage on the negotiations agenda. Consensus could only be reached to include the former. Throughout the conference and again in the closing plenary, developing countries made it clear that they expect a finance facility for loss and damage to be established at COP 27. In practical terms, there must be an agenda item on the issue for this to happen. “We are here to negotiate, not to educate,” said Antigua and Barbuda, for the Alliance of Small Island States, who noted the “process is out of step and progress is too slow.”
The Bonn conference achieved progress in some areas. Delegates agreed on intersessional work on Article 6, which—considering the history of negotiations on this issue—was a welcome surprise. Most issues, however, were left unresolved. Many developed countries were especially disappointed to see a number of items on reporting under the Convention carried forward. They had hoped to finalize discussions on what will soon mostly be legacy items, thus clearing them off the agenda in order to focus attention on reporting under the Paris Agreement.
“I have the feeling that COP 27 will be a very difficult one,” noted a seasoned delegate at the end of the meeting. The presentations in Bonn by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) left no doubt about the magnitude of the challenge and the urgency to address climate change. The multitude of record-breaking heat waves in the first half of 2022 alone made this clearer than ever. “We all know that the world of COP 27 will look nothing like it did for COP 26. It is a world beset with conflicts, energy, food and economic crises… and the global pandemic is still with us,” summed up outgoing UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa, whose term ends in July 2022.
The Bonn Climate Change Conference, including the 56th meetings of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), convened from 6-16 June 2022 in Bonn, Germany. Although it was held as an in-person meeting, it allowed for those attending virtually to observe, but not take part in the negotiations. In total, there were 3,320 participants: 1,799 from parties; 1,184 from observer organizations; 271 from UN bodies and other intergovernmental organizations; and 66 media representatives.
A Brief History of the UNFCCC, the Kyoto Protocol, and the Paris Agreement
The international political response to climate change began with the 1992 adoption of the UNFCCC, which sets out the basic legal framework and principles for international climate change cooperation with the aim of stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs) to avoid “dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” The Convention, which entered into force on 21 March 1994, has 197 parties.
To boost the effectiveness of the UNFCCC, the Kyoto Protocol was adopted in December 1997. It commits industrialized countries and countries in transition to a market economy to achieve quantified emission reduction targets for a basket of six GHGs. The Kyoto Protocol entered into force on 16 February 2005 and has 192 parties. Its first commitment period took place from 2008 to 2012. The 2012 Doha Amendment established the second commitment period from 2013 to 2020. To date, 145 parties have ratified the Doha Amendment.
In December 2015, parties adopted the Paris Agreement. Under the terms of the Agreement, all countries will submit nationally determined contributions (NDCs), and will review the aggregate progress on mitigation, adaptation, and means of implementation every five years through a Global Stocktake (GST). The Paris Agreement entered into force on 4 November 2016, and, to date, 193 parties have ratified the Agreement.
Recent Key Turning Points
Paris: The 2015 UN Climate Change Conference convened in Paris, France, and culminated in the adoption of the Paris Agreement on 12 December. The Agreement includes the goal of limiting the global average temperature increase to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C. It also aims to increase parties’ ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and make financial flows consistent with a pathway towards low GHG emissions and climate-resilient development. The Agreement will be implemented to reflect equity and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in light of different national circumstances.
Under the Paris Agreement, each party shall communicate, at five-year intervals, successively more ambitious NDCs. Under the common timeframes decision adopted in 2021 in Glasgow, each NDC will last ten years, but will still be updated every five years. The Paris Agreement also includes a process known as the global stocktake (GST), which convenes at five-year intervals to review collective progress on mitigation, adaptation, and means of implementation. The Agreement further sets out an Enhanced Transparency Framework (ETF) and includes provisions on adaptation, finance, technology, loss and damage, and compliance.
When adopting the Paris Agreement, parties launched the Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP) to develop the Agreement’s operational details. Parties also agreed on the need to mobilize stronger and more ambitious climate action by all parties and non-party stakeholders to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goals. Several non-party stakeholders made unilateral mitigation pledges in Paris, with more than 10,000 registered actions.
Marrakech: The UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakech took place from 7-18 November 2016, and included the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA). Parties adopted several decisions related to the PAWP, including: that work should conclude by 2018; the terms of reference for the Paris Committee on Capacity-building; and initiating a process to identify the information to be provided in accordance with Paris Agreement Article 9.5 (ex ante biennial finance communications by developed countries). Other decisions adopted included approving the five-year work plan of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts (WIM), enhancing the Technology Mechanism, and continuing and enhancing the Lima work programme on gender.
Fiji/Bonn: The Fiji/Bonn Climate Change Conference convened from 6-17 November 2017 in Bonn, Germany, under the Presidency of Fiji. The COP launched the Talanoa Dialogue, a facilitative dialogue to take stock of collective progress towards the Paris Agreement’s long-term goals. The COP also established the “Fiji Momentum for Implementation,” a decision giving prominence to pre-2020 implementation and ambition. Parties also provided guidance on the completion of the PAWP and decided that the Adaptation Fund shall serve the Paris Agreement, subject to decisions to be taken by CMA 1-3. Parties also further developed, or gave guidance to, the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform, the Executive Committee of the WIM, the Standing Committee on Finance, and the Adaptation Fund.
Katowice: The Katowice Climate Change Conference convened from 2-14 December 2018 in Katowice, Poland, concluding a busy year that featured an additional negotiation session to advance work on the PAWP. Parties adopted the Katowice Climate Package, which finalized nearly all of the PAWP, including decisions to facilitate common interpretation and implementation of the Paris Agreement on the mitigation section of NDCs, adaptation communications, transparency framework, GST, and financial transparency, among others. Work on cooperative approaches, under Article 6 of the Agreement, was not concluded, and parties agreed to conclude this work in 2019. The COP was unable to agree on whether to “welcome” or “note” the IPCC’s Special Report on 1.5°C of Global Warming.
Chile/Madrid: The Chile/Madrid Climate Change Conference convened from 2-13 December 2019 in Madrid, Spain, under the COP Presidency of Chile. Decisions were adopted on the review of the WIM and some finance-related issues, such as guidance to the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and Green Climate Fund (GCF). Parties established the Santiago Network for Averting, Minimizing, and Addressing Loss and Damage, and adopted the enhanced five-year Lima Work Programme and its Gender Action Plan. Parties also adopted three cover decisions under the different governing bodies, each named the Chile/Madrid Time for Action. On many other issues, notably Article 6 and long-term finance, parties could not reach agreement.
Intersessional Meetings: The global COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the normal meeting cycle. Online sessions were held in June and November 2020 to hear updates from the constituted bodies and hold mandated events. In June 2021, the Subsidiary Bodies met online for three weeks to conduct informal consultations. No decisions were taken. The meeting was a chance to share views, which were captured in informal notes prepared by the Chairs.
Glasgow: The Glasgow Climate Change Conference convened from 31 October - 12 November 2021 and marked the return of the UNFCCC process to formal negotiations after the COVID-19 pandemic-related interruption. Parties finalized the Paris Agreement rulebook, adopting guidelines, rules, and a work programme on Article 6 and agreeing on the format of reporting under the ETF. Parties adopted the Glasgow Climate Pact, a series of three overarching cover decisions which, for the first time, included a reference to phasing down unabated coal power and phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. They also agreed to work programmes on a global goal for adaptation, and on urgently scaling up mitigation; created the Glasgow Dialogue on loss and damage; established a process towards defining a new collective quantified goal on climate finance; and launched an annual dialogue on ocean-based climate action. The meeting convened in person, with virtual participation opportunities.
Report of the Meetings
The Bonn Climate Change Conference opened Monday, 6 June. Addressing the assembled delegates, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa reflected as she neared the end of her term. She spoke about the “waves of unprecedented challenges” that had rocked the climate regime during her tenure: the temporary withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement; Fiji’s extraordinary presidency of COP 23; the last-minute move of COP 25 from Chile to Spain; the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic; and, not least, her own cancer diagnosis, from which she is now fortunately in remission. She spoke of her pride in what has been achieved in this time, because “the process held,” delivering a finished Paris Agreement Work Programme and the Glasgow Climate Pact. Visibly moved, she thanked parties, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other non-party stakeholders, for the solutions they inspire; Secretariat staff, for their work; and her family, for their support.
Turning to the meeting of the subsidiary bodies (SBs), she highlighted as priorities: urgently delivering more ambitious NDCs and long-term plans; defining the global goal on adaptation (GGA) and addressing loss and damage constructively; and overcoming the lack of finance that persists as the main obstacle for collective climate action. Noting that parties have “everything we need” for implementation, Espinosa stressed the importance of political interventions and decisions to deliver a balanced package to COP 27. Underlining that climate change is “not an agenda we can afford to push back on the global schedule,” she exhorted nations not to lose hope or focus, and to use the collective efforts of the climate regime as the “ultimate act of unity between nations.”
Pakistan, for the G-77/CHINA, stressed adaptation as a crucial priority, calling for substantial progress on key deliverables, including the Glasgow–Sharm el-Sheikh GGA work programme. He emphasized the need to fully operationalize the Santiago Network, but that progress “should not be at the cost of getting it right.” He declared that the outcomes of Glasgow “showed the Paris process is working.”
France, for the EUROPEAN UNION (EU), called on all parties to focus on improving individual and collective mitigation efforts. He stressed that aligning global financial flows with the Paris Agreement will require working outside of the UNFCCC, including with multilateral banks, national public policies, and the private sector.
Australia, for the UMBRELLA GROUP, urged all parties, especially major emitters whose emissions are not aligned with a 1.5°C pathway, to increase the ambition of their NDCs. He emphasized the importance of the call in Glasgow to double adaptation finance and looked forward to discussions to develop the Santiago Network.
Switzerland, for the ENVIRONMENTAL INTEGRITY GROUP (EIG), called on the presidencies of COP 26 and COP 27 to undertake immediate high-level outreach to countries who have yet to submit enhanced NDCs. He stressed the important roles of a mitigation work programme and of markets in avoiding a 1.5°C overshoot.
Antigua and Barbuda, for the ALLIANCE OF SMALL ISLAND STATES (AOSIS), spoke to the need for draft text that sets out clear actions for a no-overshoot 1.5°C pathway, including through phasing out fossil fuel subsidies. Noting that implementation mode means “turning priorities into credible action,” he called for the elaboration of a loss and damage finance facility by COP 27.
Zambia, for the AFRICAN GROUP, called for, among others: working arrangements to be inclusive and transparent; the work programme on the GGA to deliver “substantial progress”; and needs-based financial and technical support for National Adaptation Plans.
Senegal, for the LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES (LDCs), underlined that we are now reaching the limits of adaptation, and that loss and damage “cannot be ignored.” She outlined priorities, including: a loss and damage financial mechanism; the development of the Santiago Network on loss and damage; reinforcing mitigation, adaptation, and financing; and specific and accessible finance for adaptation.
Bolivia, for the LIKE-MINDED DEVELOPING COUNTRIES (LMDCs), lamented that finance for adaptation remains “woefully low” and that depending on the private sector for adaptation funding has not yielded, nor is likely to yield, the desired results. He expressed hope that this meeting will adopt conclusions leading to agenda items on adaptation and on loss and damage at the next SBs.
Saudi Arabia, for the ARAB GROUP, stressed that all Paris Agreement outcomes should be respected and addressed equally. Chile, for the INDEPENDENT ASSOCIATION OF LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN (AILAC), urged “bringing science to life,” keeping “1.5°C alive,” and integrating risk management into long-term planning.
Papua New Guinea, for the COALITION FOR RAINFOREST NATIONS, said the Glasgow outcomes on Article 6 are a good start but urged rejection of standards and methodologies that are outside the mandate of Articles 5 (GHG sinks and reservoirs) and 6 (cooperative approaches) of the Paris Agreement. He supported the creation of a work programme to build developing countries’ capacity to participate in Article 6, and called for the development of a national registry under Article 6 to promote trust and confidence.
India, for BRAZIL, SOUTH AFRICA, INDIA, and CHINA (BASIC), called for strong climate action supported by consistent financial flows to developing countries. Venezuela, for the BOLIVARIAN ALLIANCE FOR THE PEOPLES OF OUR AMERICA (ALBA), urged inclusive and participatory multilateralism, calling for continuing efforts to ensure the participation of all countries.
Brazil, for ARGENTINA, BRAZIL, and URUGUAY (ABU), noted that 2022 is the UNFCCC’s 30th anniversary and said there is an opportunity now to strengthen support for developing countries. He stressed the GGA requires everyone to work in an innovative way and said the work programme must be led by countries in a transparent manner, leaving no one behind.
Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice
SBSTA Chair Tosi Mpanu Mpanu (Democratic Republic of the Congo) opened the meeting on Monday, 6 June, welcoming delegates to the first in-person session in Bonn since 2019.
He invited everyone to observe a moment of silence in honor of long-time climate negotiator Hugh Sealy, who passed away earlier in 2022, commemorating his “good faith, fairness, and open mindedness.” ANTIGUA & BARBUDA pledged to honor Sealy’s legacy by delivering on the “collective ambition to safeguard 1.5°C.”
Adoption of the agenda: Pointing to consultations with Heads of Delegation on the supplementary provisional agenda, Mpanu Mpanu proposed, and parties agreed, for agenda item 18 to read “Glasgow–Sharm el-Sheikh work programme on the GGA as referred to in decision 7/CMA.3.”
Delegates had a lengthy debate about the number of informal consultations to be held on this agenda item, noting divergent views as to whether the compromise achieved in the Heads of Delegation meeting was to have “two” or “at least two” informal consultation slots. EIG preferred to hold “two” sessions. The G-77/ CHINA, AFRICAN GROUP, LMDCs, ARAB GROUP, and other parties preferred holding “at least two” sessions, with an option for more if so required.
Mpanu Mpanu suggested a compromise of holding at least two informal consultations—one opening and one closing—and possibly convening additional “informal informal” consultations. AILAC and the EU underscored the need to launch work. NORWAY noted that the number of time slots for informal consultations is normally not negotiated in plenary. Mpanu Mpanu proposed and parties agreed to hold at least two informal consultations. Parties then adopted the agenda (FCCC/SBSTA/2022/1/Add.1) as amended and agreed to the organization of work.
Nairobi work programme on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change: The Nairobi work programme (NWP) aims to facilitate and catalyze the development and dissemination of information and knowledge to support developing countries’ adaptation action. In informal consultations, co-facilitated by Julio Cordano (Chile) and Kaarle Kupiainen (Finland), parties took stock of the NWP’s operational and institutional modalities and identified ways of strengthening these modalities.
SBSTA Conclusions: In its conclusions (FCCC/SBSTA/2022/L.7), the SBSTA concludes its stocktake of the operational and institutional modalities of the NWP and agreed to strengthen the role of the NWP by implementing the following actions, with a view to enhancing its performance and effectiveness:
- enhancing country- and region-specific actions by strengthening the implementation of the modalities of the NWP, including by scaling up the Lima Adaptation Knowledge Initiative, ensuring a regional balance;
- enhancing the provision of practical and relevant knowledge on specific adaptation practices;
- strengthening ties among communities of practice; and
- strengthening the monitoring and evaluation of work under the NWP.
The conclusions request the Secretariat to continue work in thematic areas, including desertification, cattle farming, fisheries and aquaculture, climate risk management, human settlements, and slow-onset events. Additional thematic areas should focus on mountains, circular economy, and adaptation possibilities in high-latitude areas and the cryosphere.
Matters related to science and review: Research and systematic observation: This sub-item provided space to identify scientific findings and address knowledge gaps relevant to supporting work under the Convention and the Paris Agreement. Ladislaus Chang’a (Tanzania) and Christiane Textor (Germany) co-facilitated informal consultations, during which parties discussed elements to include in draft conclusions.
SBSTA Conclusions: In its conclusions (FCCC/SBSTA/2022/L.14), the SBSTA:
- welcomes activities and information reported by the Global Climate Observing System, IPCC, World Climate Research Programme, and World Meteorological Organization;
- expresses its appreciation to the IPCC and SBSTA Chairs for organizing the SBSTA-IPCC special events on the contribution of IPCC Working Groups II and III;
- encourages parties and relevant organizations to strengthen research and address related research needs, including in terms of: regional climate modeling projections, climate impacts on and risks for the ocean and cryosphere, climate change attribution science, and climate risks for vulnerable groups; and
- invites parties and relevant organizations to submit possible themes for the fifteenth meeting of the research dialogue at SBSTA 58.
Methodological issues under the Convention: Discussions under this item addressed various issues related to reporting under the Convention, with some applying to parties included in Annex I to the Convention, broadly understood as developed countries, some applying to parties not included in Annex I to the Convention, broadly understood as developing countries, and others applying to all. A key issue throughout many of these discussions was alignment between reporting under the Convention and the Paris Agreement, and establishing provisions for the transitional period until reporting under the Paris Agreement’s Enhanced Transparency Framework (ETF) comes into effect.
Training programme for review experts for the technical review of greenhouse gas inventories of Annex I parties: This sub-agenda item relates to the training courses to prepare experts for the annual review of developed countries’ GHG inventories. Informal consultations were co-facilitated by Jae Hyuk Jung (Republic of Korea) and Harry Vreuls (the Netherlands). The co-facilitators recalled that at previous sessions SBSTA assessed the results of the training programme, concluded that there was no need to further develop or enhance the training materials, and agreed to extend the implementation of the training programme to the end of 2022. They also noted SBSTA agreed to assess the continued utility and implementation period of the training programme.
Highlighting the upcoming availability of training courses for technical expert reviews under the ETF, the co-facilitators suggested parties could either decide there is no need for a further extension of training under the Convention, or decide on modalities for an extension. Discussions centered on two aspects: ensuring reviewer availability for 2023, which is the last year before reporting starts under the ETF, and reviewing potential future reports by parties that would remain parties to the Convention but would have withdrawn from the Paris Agreement.
While developed countries favored concluding consideration of this item, developing countries noted they were not yet ready to take such a decision. A developing country group underscored interlinkages between a decision on this item and the item on reporting guidelines on annual inventories for Annex I parties. There was general convergence on a proposal to keep the self-paced online training courses, and related examination, available.
SBSTA Conclusions: In its conclusions (FCCC/SBSTA/2022/L.8), the SBSTA agrees to continue its consideration of this matter at SBSTA 57.
Training programme for review experts for the technical review of biennial reports and national communications of Annex I parties: Informal consultations on this sub-agenda item were co-facilitated by Jae Hyuk Jung and Harry Vreuls. Discussions largely mirrored those on the training programme on the GHG inventory reviews, with developed countries hoping to end consideration of the item at this session and developing countries preferring to revisit the agenda item at a later session.
Several developed countries anticipated that keeping the existing online courses available would not cost too much, with the Secretariat later reporting that the extension would cost approximately EUR 13,000. They also expressed that, even without further training, the reviewer pool should be adequate to cover future review needs.
Despite both developed and developing countries offering a number of bridging proposals, parties could not agree to substantive conclusions.
SBSTA Conclusions: In its conclusions (FCCC/SBSTA/2022/L.9), the SBSTA agrees to continue its consideration of this matter at SBSTA 57.
Revision of the UNFCCC reporting guidelines on annual inventories for Annex I parties: This sub-agenda item relates to the standardized requirements for annual inventories. The current guidelines were adopted at COP 19 in 2013 and subsequent SBSTA sessions discussed their possible revision without reaching agreement. Informal consultations were co-facilitated by Thiago Mendes (Angola) and Daniela Romano (Italy), during which parties discussed draft decision text. Discussions focused on:
- reporting on harvested wood products;
- the use of the Global Warming Potential (GWP) values from the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), except the value for fossil methane;
- alignment between reporting under the Convention and the Paris Agreement from 2024 onwards; and
- the possible discontinuation of this agenda item.
With respect to harvested wood products, parties generally agreed on the substantive elements of alignment between reporting under the Convention and the Paris Agreement.
On AR5 GWP values, the Secretariat reported that an alternate web interface could be created for parties to report using these values. Unless countries decide to report using both the current and alternate interface, there would be only one output per country, she noted. She said this would be a simple solution that would not divert resources from the development of the reporting tools for the ETF. One group recapitulated that this would create a “pick and choose” opportunity in the interim before the first submission of Biennial Transparency Reports in 2024. Parties also discussed the submission deadline for this reporting. They debated whether to index the deadline on the availability of the web application, and if so with what grace period, or to set a specific date.
Several developing countries underscored the need to plan for possible future withdrawals from the Paris Agreement. Several developed countries delineated their proposal that Annex I parties that are not parties to the Paris Agreement “shall” use the modalities, procedures, and guidelines (MPGs), as agreed in decision 18/CMA.1, starting in 2024.
During the final informal consultations, developing countries considered the outstanding issues could not be resolved at this meeting. Several developed countries expressed disappointment over the fact that discussions would be carried over to SBSTA 57, noting they had hoped to conclude consideration of this agenda item. Delegates agreed to procedural SBSTA conclusions, including a footnote to an informal note containing the draft decision text, with a number of remaining brackets.
SBSTA Conclusions: In its conclusions (FCCC/SBSTA/2022/L.13), the SBSTA agrees to continue its consideration of this matter at SBSTA 57 on the basis of the informal note.
Guidelines for the technical review of information reported under the Convention related to greenhouse gas inventories, biennial reports and national communications by Annex I parties: This sub-agenda item relates to the guidelines that experts shall follow in performing the technical review. The current guidelines were adopted at COP 20 (decision 13/CP.20).
SBSTA Conclusions: In its conclusions (FCCC/SBSTA/2022/L.1), the SBSTA agrees that the guidelines do not need to be revised and concludes its consideration of this matter.
Greenhouse gas data interface: This sub-agenda item was deferred to SBSTA 58.
Common metrics to calculate the carbon dioxide equivalence of greenhouse gases: Informal consultations were co-facilitated by Marina Vitullo (Italy) and Felipe Díaz (Chile), during which parties discussed draft decision text.
Delegates debated how to move forward, with several developed countries favoring to conclude its consideration, and several developing countries preferring to continue deliberations.
A developing country group proposed to invite the IPCC to present its findings on metrics upon the finalization of its Sixth Assessment Report (AR6). Several developed countries cautioned that the AR6 Synthesis Report might be delayed and noted that a review of the MPGs is scheduled for 2028.
Several groups and parties said the issue of common metrics relates to more than inventory reports, highlighting its relevance for climate policy design. One developed country suggested concluding consideration of common metrics under the methodological issues agenda item and instead considering it more broadly under matters related to science and review. Several groups and parties expressed willingness to discuss the proposal.
Despite continued discussions, including in “informal informals” delegates could not reach agreement. One party regretted “continuing multiple hours of fruitless negotiations every year,” lamenting the lack of a way forward.
SBSTA Conclusions: In its conclusions (FCCC/SBSTA/2022/L.4), the SBSTA notes the relevance of common metrics to climate change policy and agrees to continue its consideration of this matter at SBSTA 57.
Emissions from fuel used for international aviation and maritime transport: Martin Cames (Germany) and Pacifica F. Achieng Ogola (Kenya) co-facilitated informal consultations, during which parties discussed draft conclusions. Disagreements arose on a proposed paragraph highlighting the importance of reducing emissions and addressing all aspects of the Convention in the aviation and maritime transport sectors. Parties agreed to continue consideration of the item at SBSTA 57.
Matters relating to reporting and review under Article 13 of the Paris Agreement: Options for conducting reviews on a voluntary basis of the information reported pursuant to Chapter IV of the annex to decision 18/CMA.1, and respective training courses needed to facilitate these voluntary reviews: This item relates to reporting under the Paris Agreement, specifically the modalities for conducting a voluntary review of reported information on climate change impacts and adaptation. Informal consultations were co-facilitated by Yamikani Idriss (Malawi) and Noriko Tamiya-Hase (Japan).
Discussing draft decision text, delegates debated paragraphs on the role, scope, and objectives of the voluntary reviews, with a developing country group encouraging clarity on the differences between these aspects. A developing country group suggested rewording a preambular paragraph to clarify that the reviews play an important role in informing the GST, but would not themselves consider collective progress towards the GGA or actions related to loss and damage. Several developed countries added that the reviews and identification of improvements pertain to the reported information, not the adequacy of adaptation actions. Several groups and parties underscored the focus of the review should not be on examining consistency with the MPGs, since reporting under Chapter IV of the annex to decision 18/CMA.1 is voluntary, and parties may not report on all elements. Many emphasized the objective to facilitate improved reporting over time.
Delegates diverged on whether parties should be able to choose elements to be reviewed. A developing country group noted it would make the review less onerous, whereas several developed countries preferred that the reviews cover all elements, noting this would foster capacity building.
Parties also discussed a paragraph inviting financial resources to be made available to enable the Secretariat to implement the training courses for the voluntary review. One option for the paragraph expressed an invitation to “developed country parties” to provide such resources, while the second option addressed “parties.” Following strong objections by developing countries, who underscored they would not agree for such a text to be the basis of future discussions, a developed country said it was willing to take the second option off the table “in the spirit of compromise.”
SBSTA Conclusions: In its conclusions (FCCC/SBSTA/2022/L.6), the SBSTA agrees to continue its consideration of these matters at SBSTA 57 on the basis of the draft decision text produced at this session.
Guidance on cooperative approaches referred to in Article 6.2 of the Paris Agreement: Article 6 of the Paris Agreement recognizes that some parties choose to pursue voluntary cooperation in the implementation of their NDCs. Article 6.2 relates to direct cooperation between parties. This item was referred to informal consultations co-facilitated by Kuki Soejachmoen (Indonesia) and Peer Stiansen (Norway).
Discussions focused on the six issues referred to the SBSTA by CMA 3 (decision 2/CMA.3):
- Article 6 technical expert review;
- mechanism infrastructure, including guidance for registries, accounting, and reporting;
- reporting tables and outlines;
- special circumstances of LDCs and small island developing states (SIDS);
- corresponding adjustments for multi-year and single-year NDCs; and
- whether internationally transferred mitigation outcomes (ITMOs) could include emission avoidance.
On the Article 6 technical expert review, several parties suggested basing the guidelines on those for the Article 13 (enhanced transparency framework) expert review team, with modifications, as required, for issues specific to Article 6. Regarding development of modalities for reviewing confidential information, one developed country party said confidentiality should apply to: supplementary information parties provide in addition to their original submissions, for instance, in response to questions by the expert review team; and information designated by parties as confidential. On the nature of the review, parties said it should be: objective, achieved by providing the expert review team with clear guidelines, non-intrusive, respecting national sovereignty, and non-punitive.
Regarding the scope of the review, parties expressed diverging views. Many developing countries asserted that the Article 6.2 review should be primarily qualitative and focus on the consistency and completeness of information submitted by the parties, whereas the Article 6.4 review would be primarily quantitative, focusing on emission reductions achieved under that mechanism. Several developed countries disagreed, stating that the reviews under Article 6 should be both quantitative and qualitative, include all information and documents submitted, and not feature exemptions for any country or activity type.
Regarding the mechanism infrastructure, parties suggested: national registries established by all parties plus an international registry; bilateral or multilateral registries; an interconnected national registry system; and a reporting platform.
Regarding the format of reporting tables and outlines, several parties stressed it should enable submission of granular information and distinguish between voluntary cancellation in general and mandatory cancellation for the specific purpose of overall mitigation in global emissions (OMGE). One developing country group said reporting should be based on tons of CO2 equivalent.
On special circumstances of LDCs and SIDS, most countries agreed on the need for enhanced capacity building to enable these countries to participate in carbon markets. One developing country group called for: flexible timeframes and support for reporting, and exemptions from paying registration and administrative fees and from contributing a share of proceeds.
On corresponding adjustments, some parties noted further guidance could be provided in the future, if needed.
Divergent views remained on whether ITMOs could include emission avoidance. Some parties called for clarification of the term, while others preferred focusing on “removals” rather than “avoidance.” Many parties opposed inclusion of emission avoidance, stressing that it is not a priority for them.
The co-facilitators then produced an informal note capturing parties’ views and discussions during the consultations, as well as draft conclusions outlining possible intersessional work. Parties discussed the informal note, with a focus on ensuring it effectively captures all views.
SBSTA Conclusions: In its conclusions (FCCC/SBSTA/2022/L.12), the SBSTA, inter alia:
- takes note of the informal note prepared by the co-facilitators;
- invites parties and observer organizations to submit views on any of the elements referred to in paragraphs 3, 6, 7, and 10 of decision 2/CMA.3 for consideration by the SBSTA;
- requests the Secretariat to prepare a technical paper without formal status on, among other things, recommendations for guidelines for the reviews, options for reporting tables and outlines, recommendations relating to infrastructure, and the connection between the mechanism registry and the international registry;
- requests the Secretariat to conduct a survey of parties on their choice between implementing a registry, having access to a registry, and using the international registry with a view to including the results of the survey in the above technical paper;
- requests the Secretariat to organize a series of virtual technical workshops followed by an in-person technical workshop with possibility of virtual participation, to consider the elements referred to above;
- requests the SBSTA Chair to prepare an informal document on the basis of the work referred to above, including textual proposals, for consideration by the SBSTA in recommending a draft decision to CMA 4; and
- requests the Secretariat to regularly update the status of the work on the capacity-building programme referred to in paragraph 12 of decision 2/CMA.3, including presenting the implementation plan at the in-person technical workshop referred above, for feedback from parties.
Rules, modalities and procedures for the mechanism established by Article 6.4 of the Paris Agreement: Article 6.4 relates to cooperation through a market-based mechanism. This item was referred to informal consultations co-facilitated by Kate Hancock (Australia) and Mandy Rambharos (South Africa). The informal consultations focused on the issues for which the CMA requested the SBSTA to develop recommendations (decision 3/CMA.3).
On the processes for implementing a share of proceeds for administrative expenses and for adaptation, parties suggested requesting the Secretariat prepare a technical paper on lessons learned from the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Suggestions for the share of proceeds included: instituting a global fee and deciding the proportion to be used for adaptation and for administrative expenses; in-kind contributions of issued emission reductions and related adjustments; and payment of fees when registering activities and at issuance of emission reductions.
On the processes for delivery of OMGE, discussions focused on the necessary corresponding adjustments to be made to emission reductions to achieve overall mitigation, and the question of whether both authorized and unauthorized reductions, that is, reductions intended for domestic use and for international transfer, should be subject to OMGE rules.
On the transition of CDM activities to the Article 6.4 mechanism, parties discussed the rules that would apply to the transitioned activities. Views diverged on whether CDM activities should be de-registered before or after being registered as Article 6.4 activities, and at what point the Article 6.4 rules would apply to such activities.
Regarding reporting by host parties of their Article 6.4 activities and emission reductions, parties highlighted the need to streamline the reporting requirements, and some urged avoiding unnecessary reporting burdens and duplication of work, especially under the Article 6.2 and Article 6.4 mechanisms. Several parties suggested requesting the Secretariat to prepare a paper identifying overlaps and gaps between the Article 6.2 and 6.4 reporting requirements.
On consideration of whether the Article 6.4 mechanism could include emission avoidance and conservation enhancement activities, several parties said such activities are not a priority for them. Some developing countries noted that “emission avoidance” is not officially defined or clearly understood. They pointed out that activities related to, for instance, reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation fall under “emission reductions” and are already classified as mitigation activities. Other countries supported consideration of the issue, noting that there are some avoidance projects included under the CDM, such as methane avoidance projects. These countries stressed the importance of systematically addressing a problem in all its possible forms, including by avoiding the source of emissions and thereby preventing the problem from appearing at all.
Regarding the process for implementing the use of certified emission reductions (CERs) towards the first or first updated NDCs, one party said such CERs should first be de-registered from the CDM registry before being registered in the Article 6.4 registry. Several parties underlined the need for clear labeling of such CERs, not as Article 6.4 emission reductions, but as “pre-2021” credits or reductions. One developed country, opposed by some developing countries, said the 2% cancellation of mitigation outcomes to achieve OMGE should also apply to such transitioned CERs.
Parties’ discussions and views were captured in an informal note prepared by the co-facilitators, who also prepared draft conclusions setting out intersessional work.
SBSTA Conclusions: In its conclusions (FCCC/SBSTA/2022/L.10), the SBSTA, inter alia:
- takes note of the informal note prepared by the co-facilitators; and
- invites parties and admitted observer organizations to submit their views on any of the elements referred to in decision 3/CMA.3, paragraph 7, for consideration by the SBSTA.
The SBSTA requests the Secretariat to prepare technical papers without formal status, on:
- processes for implementing the transition of CDM activities to the Article 6.4 mechanism;
- processes for using CERs towards first or first updated NDCs;
- reporting by host parties on their Article 6.4 activities and emission reductions;
- operation of the mechanism registry;
- processes necessary for implementing the share of proceeds; and
- processes necessary for the delivery of OMGE.
The SBSTTA further:
- requests the Secretariat to organize a series of virtual technical workshops followed by an in-person technical workshop with possibility of virtual participation, to consider the elements referred to above;
- requests the SBSTA Chair to prepare an informal document on the basis of the outcomes of the work referred to above, including textual proposals, for consideration by the SBSTA in recommending a draft decision to CMA 4; and
- requests the Secretariat to regularly update the status of the work on the capacity-building programme referred to in paragraph 14 of decision 3/CMA.3, including presenting the implementation plan at the in-person technical workshop referred to above, for feedback from parties.
Work programme under the framework for non-market approaches referred to in Article 6.8 of the Paris Agreement: Article 6.8 relates to climate cooperation between countries that does not involve trading the resulting mitigation outcomes. In the SBSTA opening plenary on Monday, 6 June, parties agreed that this item (FCCC/SBSTA/2022/3) would be discussed in the context of the first Glasgow Committee on Non-Market Approaches (NMAs), convening in a contact group format and co-chaired by Maria AlJishi (Saudi Arabia) and Giuliana Torta (Italy). On Thursday, 9 June, SBSTA Chair Mpanu Mpanu opened the first meeting of the Committee, explaining that the objective is to develop and recommend a schedule for implementing the work programme under the NMA framework, for consideration and adoption by CMA 4.
The Committee discussed the features and uses of the UNFCCC web-based platform, as well as the timeline for activities under the framework. Regarding the platform, Bolivia, for the LMDCs, called for enhanced matching of support for the needs of LDCs, and said the platform should be designed to support and strengthen the framework for NMAs. The Bahamas, for AOSIS, called for the platform to be accessible to both party and non-party stakeholders, and include the ability to contact potential partners, and identify or record the volume of emission reductions achieved by activities. Several developed country parties said the platform should only serve to record and exchange information on NMAs. Parties also discussed the implementation timeline, suggesting, for instance, commencing reporting in 2024 and adopting an implementation timeline up to 2026. Parties’ views and the discussions were captured in an informal note prepared by the Co-Chairs.
SBSTA Conclusions: In its conclusions (FCCC/SBSTA/2022/L.11), the SBSTA takes note of the informal note by the Co-Chairs of the first meeting of the Glasgow Committee capturing parties’ views on the work mandated in paragraph 4 of decision 4/CMA.3. The SBSTA invites parties and observers to submit views on:
- elements of a draft decision on the schedule for implementing the activities of the work programme under the NMA framework;
- specifications for the UNFCCC web-based platform;
- actions that facilitate the implementation of NDCs and can be identified, developed, and implemented through the NMA framework;
- NMAs related to initiatives, programmes, and activities; and
- how NMA initiatives and programmes, consistent with the NMA framework, have addressed the principles identified in work programme.
The SBSTA further requests the SBSTA Chair to prepare an informal document, including textual proposals, for consideration by the SBSTA in recommending a draft decision on the schedule for implementing the work programme activities and the specifications for the UNFCCC web-based platform, for consideration and adoption by CMA 4.
The SBSTA also requests the Secretariat to:
- prepare a technical paper, without formal status, on the specifications for the UNFCCC web-based platform for recording and exchanging information;
- prepare a synthesis report on the NMAs identified by parties that support implementation of their NDCs;
- prepare a technical paper, without formal status, on, inter alia, existing linkages, synergies, and facilitated coordination and implementation of NMAs in the local, subnational, national, and global context, including with UNFCCC entities and other organizations; and
- organize a virtual intersessional workshop on the specifications for the UNFCCC web-based platform.
Market and non-market mechanisms under the Convention: Framework for various approaches: Non-market-based approaches: New market-based mechanism: In the SBSTA opening plenary on Monday, 6 June, SBSTA Chair Mpanu Mpanu reported on pre-sessional consultations with parties regarding possibly concluding consideration of this agenda item at this meeting. He noted that parties signaled readiness to conclude this item. The SBSTA Chair prepared conclusions, which the SBSTA adopted on Thursday, 16 June.
SBSTA Conclusions: In its conclusions (FCCC/SBSTA/2022/L.2), the SBSTA:
- takes note of the work on market and non-market mechanisms under the Convention undertaken in response to decision 1/CP.18, including the information collected through parties’ submissions and the related technical papers and workshop reports;
- concludes there is no need for further discussion of this matter and deems its consideration thereof completed; and
- recommends the COP conclude its consideration of this matter.
Cooperation with other international organizations: In the SBSTA opening plenary, Chair Mpanu Mpanu noted the Secretariat would organize an information event on Saturday, 11 June, and he would prepare draft conclusions.
SBSTA Conclusions: In its conclusions (FCCC/SBSTA/2022/L.5), the SBSTA:
- welcomes the informational event on the Secretariat’s cooperation with UN entities and other international organizations;
- notes the importance of cooperation with relevant UN entities and other international organizations in supporting climate ambition; and
- encourages its Chair to provide the opportunity for an exchange of views on the matter.
Annual report on the technical review of greenhouse gas inventories of Parties included in Annex I to the Convention: SBSTA agreed to defer consideration of this item until SBSTA 57.
Subsidiary Body for Implementation
SBI Chair Marianne Karlsen (Norway) opened the session on Monday, 6 June, by noting that the SBI is now in the “era of implementation” across all areas of climate change governance.
Adoption of the agenda: Karlsen proposed that the agenda be adopted with the following amendments: that, per discussions in the SBSTA opening plenary, item 21 (Glasgow–Sharm el-Sheikh work programme on the GGA) as well as item 22 (Glasgow Dialogue on loss and damage) be excluded from approval, pending consultations on a way forward; and that item 4a (national communications of non-Annex I parties) be held in abeyance pending consultations.
A prolonged discussion followed, with CHINA, supported by LMDCs, proposing that discussion on item 6 (scaling up mitigation ambition and implementation) be limited to two sessions to allow for more time for discussion of items 21 and 22, and ensure balance between discussions on mitigation and adaptation. The US argued against linking the number of meetings from one agenda item to another, arguing that such an approach is “unconstructive for the process going forward.” CHINA further proposed establishing a working group to create draft recommendations on the GGA.
SBI Chair Karlsen clarified a process whereby the agenda would be adopted, and each item’s organization of work considered in turn by parties.
After consulting Heads of Delegation, SBI Chair Karlsen proposed, and parties accepted, to refer agenda items 6 and 21 to informal consultations and for her to conduct further consultations on the way forward for items 4a and 22. The supplementary provisional agenda (FCCC/SBI/2022/1/Add.1) was adopted, holding items 4a and 22 in abeyance.
During the SBI closing plenary on Thursday, 16 June, SBI Chair Karlsen reported “fruitful conversations” with parties on item 4a, but noted that further conversations were needed. The item, she noted, will be on the provisional agenda for SBI 57. She also noted that despite “considerable efforts,” no consensus could be reached on the proposed item 22 on the Glasgow Dialogue on loss and damage. Antigua and Barbuda, for AOSIS, expressed his hope that the SBI Chair would produce a report capturing a “fruitful exchange and rich discussion” on the dialogue.
Reporting from and review of parties included in Annex I to the Convention: Status of submission and review of national communications and biennial reports from Annex I parties: This item was deferred to SBI 57.
Compilations and syntheses of biennial reports from Annex I parties: This item was deferred to SBI 57.
Reports on national greenhouse gas inventory data from Annex I parties: This item was deferred to SBI 57.
Revision of the modalities and procedures for international assessment and review: Revision of the modalities and guidelines for international consultation and analysis: Noting similarities between the agenda items on the international assessment and review (IAR), which relates to the review of developed country reporting under the Convention, and the agenda item on international consultation and analysis (ICA), which relates to developing country reporting, parties agreed to conduct joint informal consultations on both items, co-facilitated by Tian Wang (China) and Helen Plume (New Zealand).
The Secretariat presented insights from the IAR and ICA processes, noting significant improvements over the reporting cycles. She delineated the transition to the ETF under the Paris Agreement, noting what will be reported in the biennial transparency reports and what reporting will continue under the Convention.
Delegates agreed there is no need to revise the modalities and procedures for either process at this time. They supported concluding the consideration of this item, noting parties may revisit it in the future if needed. The co-facilitators suggested synchronizing possible further reviews of the respective guidelines with the review of the MPGs in 2028, which delegates welcomed.
Discussions centered on how to address reporting requirements for parties to the Convention that would no longer be parties to the Paris Agreement. They converged on referencing specific paragraphs from decision 1/CP.24 that clarify the matter.
SBI Conclusions: In its respective conclusions (FCCC/SBI/2022/L.3 and L.4), the SBI recommends that the COP:
- decide the modalities and procedures for the IAR and the ICA shall continue to be used, taking into account decision 1/CP.24, paragraphs 39, 41, and 44; and
- request the SBI to consider undertaking no later than at its first session of 2028 the review of the modalities and procedures for both processes.
Date of completion of the expert review process under Article 8 of the Kyoto Protocol for the second commitment period: Informal consultations under this item were co-facilitated by Lydie-Line Paroz (Switzerland) and Rueanna Haynes (Trinidad and Tobago).
SBI Conclusions: In its conclusions (FCCC/SBI/2022/L.5), the SBI recommends that the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP), inter alia:
- decide that the expert review process under Article 8 of the Kyoto Protocol for the final year of the second commitment period will be complete by 1 June 2023; and
- decide that the Secretariat shall produce, for each Annex I party, information inventory data for each year of the second commitment period, total emissions over the second commitment period, and total quantity of units held in party accounts, and this will include the total quantity of aggregated holdings in the CDM registry.
Reporting from parties not included in Annex I to the Convention: Provision of financial and technical support: This item (FCCC/SBI/2020/INF.12, FCCC/SBI/2021/INF.6, FCCC/CP/2020/1 and Add.1, FCCC/CP/2021/9 and Add.1) relates to the provision of support for developing countries’ reporting under the Convention. In informal consultations, Co-Facilitators Sin Liang Cheah (Singapore) and Gertraud Wollansky (Austria) invited views on how to address this item, noting delegates were not able to agree on conclusions on this matter at SBI 52-55. Highlighting that the 62nd GEF Council meeting in June 2022 would provide important input for discussions on this item, delegates agreed to delay textual discussions until SBI 57.
A GEF representative responded to developing countries’ concerns about the accessibility, adequacy, and timeliness of financial and technical support.
During the SBI closing plenary on Thursday, 16 June, parties agreed to continue deliberations at SBI 57.
Summary reports on the technical analysis of biennial update reports of non-Annex I parties: Parties agreed to take note of the summary reports finalized in the period up to 21 March 2022 and published on the UNFCCC website.
Matters relating to the CDM registry: Informal consultations were facilitated by Kate Hancock (Australia) and Mandy Rambharos (South Africa).
SBI Conclusions: In its conclusions (FCCC/SBI/2022/L.12), the SBI:
- requests the Secretariat to prepare a technical paper on the technical and process-related aspects of transfers of eligible CERs from the CDM registry to the corresponding Article 6.4 mechanism registry; and
- agrees to continue consideration of the matter at SBI 57.
Matters relating to the least developed countries: In the SBI opening plenary, the LDC Expert Group (LEG) reported on its work (FCCC/SBI/2022/6), noting the LEG’s mandate was extended at COP 26. Informal consultations were co-facilitated by Bob Natifu (Uganda) and Jens Fugl (Denmark), during which parties exchanged views on draft conclusions text. Among others, parties discussed the delays experienced in accessing funding from the Readiness and Preparatory Support Programme of the GCF for the formulation of national adaptation plans (NAPs).
SBI Conclusions: In its conclusions (FCCC/SBI/2022/L.9), the SBI, inter alia:
- welcomes the updated vision of the LEG for supporting LDC adaptation;
- notes the challenges, complexities and delays experienced by the LDCs in accessing funding from the GCF Readiness and Preparatory Support Programme for NAP formulation;
- notes the need for further progress by the GCF in enhancing access to funding for implementing NAPs, in accordance with decision 1/CP.21, paragraph 46, and welcomes further collaboration between the LEG and the GCF Secretariat in this regard; and
- requests the LEG to explore ways to apply the best available science to expand the technical guidance on adaptation in the LDCs.
National adaptation plans: Informal consultations on this item were co-facilitated by Giza Gaspar Martins (Angola) and Jens Fugl (Denmark). The focus of the discussion was on consideration of the reports of the Adaptation Committee and the LEG, including on gaps and needs and the implementation of NAPs, and to recommend a draft decision for consideration and adoption at COP 27. Discussions were based on a co-facilitators’ note prepared on this item at SBI 52-55.
Several parties called for preparing a draft decision for COP 27 that contains concrete measures for increasing access to finance, such as encouraging the GCF to support countries in implementing their NAPs. One developed country cautioned that this should be dealt with in discussions on guidance to the operating entities of the Financial Mechanism. Delegates also noted the relevance of the NAP process in informing the GST and there no longer is a need to create NAP focal points now that COP 26 invited parties to identify adaptation contact points.
SBI Conclusions: In its conclusions (FCCC/SBI/2022/L.16), the SBI decides to continue its consideration of this item at SBI 57 on the basis of the draft text elements prepared by the co-facilitators for this agenda item at SBI 52–55, with a view to recommending a draft decision for consideration and adoption by COP 27.
Development and transfer of technologies and implementation of the Technology Mechanism: Linkages between the Technology Mechanism and the Financial Mechanism of the Convention: Informal consultations, co-facilitated by Elfriede More (Austria) and Maia Tskhvaradze (Georgia), could not reach agreement. Applying Rule 16 of the draft rules of procedure, the issue will be placed on the agenda for SBI 57.
First periodic assessment referred to in paragraph 69 of decision 1/CP.21: This sub-item relates to the first periodic assessment of the effectiveness and adequacy of the support provided to the Technology Mechanism in supporting the implementation of the Paris Agreement on matters relating to technology development and transfer. Informal consultations were co-facilitated by Elfriede More and Maia Tskhvaradze, and considered the interim report on the effectiveness and adequacy of support provided to the Technology Mechanism (FCCC/SBI/2022/INF.8). Some countries expressed “serious concerns” with the report, especially the modalities of assessment. Other developing countries called attention to missing information, including on: the role of the Technology Executive Committee (TEC), and whether National Designated Entities lack sufficient technical and logistical support.
SBI Conclusions: In its conclusions (FCCC/SBI/2022/L.7), the SBI:
- welcomes the efforts of the Secretariat in preparing the interim report on the effectiveness and adequacy of support provided to the Technology Mechanism in supporting Paris Agreement implementation of technology development and transfer; and
- requests the Secretariat to consider parties’ deliberations at this session in preparing the final report on the above subject.
Poznan strategic programme on technology transfer: Informal consultations were co-facilitated by Vositha Wijenayake (Sri Lanka) and Matthew Kennedy (Ireland).
SBI Conclusions: In its conclusions (FCCC/SBI/2022/L.10), the SBI, inter alia:
- invites the TEC and the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) to consider experiences and lessons learned from the implementation of GEF projects in preparing future work;
- invites the TEC to consider how developing countries can be supported in updating their technology needs assessments and implementing them;
- requests the Secretariat to prepare an information note with updated information on status and successes and challenges and lessons learned of projects undertaken through regional climate technology transfer and finance centers for consideration at SBI 57.
Matters relating to the Adaptation Fund: The Adaptation Fund finances projects that help vulnerable communities in developing countries adapt to climate change. It is financed largely by government and private donors, and also from a 2% share of proceeds of CERs issued under the CDM.
Membership of the Adaptation Fund Board: Informal consultations on this item were co-facilitated by Diann Black-Layne (Antigua and Barbuda) and Eva Schreuder (the Netherlands), during which parties discussed draft conclusions text. Parties agreed that the Adaptation Fund Board is functioning well and changes in membership do not currently need to be made.
They disagreed, however, about whether to continue discussions under this agenda item. A developed country suggested that the agenda item could be a useful forum to prepare for when the Adaptation Fund exclusively serves the Paris Agreement. Specifically, parties could address legal issues around whether and how the CMP will cede authority over the Fund to the CMA. A developed country group agreed, adding that legal issues around “annexes” also need to be resolved and that the discussion could include membership as an incentive for contributor countries.
Developing country groups preferred to defer discussion until the Fund receives a share of proceeds from the Article 6.4 mechanism. They also noted that “unnecessary” agenda items challenge the capacity of small delegations.
Parties were unable to agree on a way forward. Applying Rule 16 of the draft rules of procedure, the issue will be placed on the agenda for SBI 57.
Fourth review of the Adaptation Fund: Informal consultations on this item were co-facilitated by Diann Black-Layne and Eva Schreuder, who invited parties’ views on the fourth review of the Adaptation Fund. Parties agreed on the Fund’s overall effectiveness in assisting developing countries’ adaptation, although many lamented its limited financial resources to date. A number of developing country parties said the review should focus on the adequacy and sustainability of funding, especially in preparing the Fund to receive a share of proceeds from the Article 6.4 mechanism. Several developing countries called for the review to focus on identifying ways the Fund can improve and scale up direct access modalities.
Several parties suggested the review should consider how the fact that the Fund will soon exclusively serve the Paris Agreement will affect its objectives and procedures. In this light, a developing country party called for the Fund to embed a longer-term perspective into its planning process.
A developed country, supported by others, opposed language on “grant-based finance,” arguing that it introduces new language and prejudges discussions about broadening the Fund’s funding instruments. Developing countries preferred retaining the language, noting the review is “backward-looking” and that its findings will thus not prejudge any future changes.
Parties agreed not to begin work on a draft CMP decision, preferring instead to wait for the Secretariat to complete a technical paper on the review process.
SBI Conclusions: In its conclusions (FCCC/SBI/2022/L.8), the SBI, inter alia:
- underlines that the review of the Adaptation Fund is an important process, and the accessibility of the Fund is an important priority for developing countries;
- recognizes the importance of addressing accessibility of the Fund in the fourth review;
- recognizes that the Fund has been and is currently providing full-cost, grant-based finance for concrete projects, programmes and readiness development;
- agrees to continue its consideration of the fourth review at SBI 57, while welcoming the participation of parties to the Paris Agreement; and
- recommends that subsequent reviews include a request for the Secretariat to prepare a technical paper on the review for consideration by the SBI at its session that follows the adoption of the relevant terms of reference, to allow for substantive engagement.
Matters relating to capacity building: Capacity building under the Convention: Capacity building under the Kyoto Protocol: Informal consultations were co‑facilitated by Roberta Ianna (Italy) and Juan Carlos Monterrey Gomez (Panama). Delegates considered synthesis reports by the Secretariat on the implementation of the framework for capacity building in developing countries established under decision 2/CP.7 (FCCC/SBI/2022/2) and on the capacity-building work of bodies established under the Convention and its Kyoto Protocol (FCCC/SBI/2022/4). The 11th Durban Forum on capacity building was also held on 8 June, related to capacity building for integrating implementation of NDCs into national sustainable recovery plans.
SBI Conclusions: In its conclusions (FCCC/SBI/2022/L.1), the SBI:
- notes that needs and gaps remain in addressing priority issues for capacity building in developing countries, particularly with regards to LDCs and SIDS, and that further efforts are needed to address capacity-building needs and gaps; and
- underlines the importance of the capacity-building portal and the Durban Forum on capacity building as a means of sharing information, good practices, and lessons.
In its conclusions (FCCC/SBI/2022/L.2), the SBI:
- takes note of the synthesis reports by the Secretariat on the implementation of the framework for capacity building in developing countries, and on the capacity-building work of bodies established under the Convention and its Kyoto Protocol;
- reiterates that, while progress has been made in implementing the framework for capacity building in developing countries under the Kyoto Protocol, needs and gaps remain in addressing the priority areas set out in decision 29/CMP.1;
- notes that the 11th meeting of the Durban Forum on capacity building was held at this session; and
- underlines the importance of the capacity-building portal and the Durban Forum as means of effectively and continuously sharing information, good practices, and lessons learned among a wide range of stakeholders under and outside the Convention and its Kyoto Protocol.
Gender and climate change: This agenda item (FCCC/SBI/2022/8, FCCC/SBI/2022/7, and FCCC/SBI/2022/INF.5) was considered in informal consultations facilitated by Salka Sigurdardottir (United Kingdom) and Juan Carlos Monterrey Gomez (Panama). Discussions focused on initiating the intermediate review of the gender action plan (GAP) of the enhanced Lima work programme on gender, which COP 25 mandated to commence at this session.
During the informal consultations, parties considered draft decision text prepared by the co-facilitators, which aimed to review the GAP along a number of priority areas.
Some developed country parties noted that financial discussions should be raised under finance-related items. A developing country, supported by others, raised the point that lack of funds impedes the full implementation of the GAP at the party level, which highlights the need for support by the operating entities of the Financial Mechanism.
Parties’ views and discussions were captured in informal notes prepared by the co-facilitators.
SBI Conclusions: In its conclusions (FCCC/SBI/2022/L.15), the SBI:
- welcomes the intermediate review of the progress in implementing the activities contained in the GAP, which was initiated at this session; and
- agrees to continue consideration of the review at SBI 57, taking note of the informal notes prepared by the co-facilitators at this session under their own responsibility, with a view to recommending a draft decision for consideration and adoption by COP 27.
Matters relating to Action for Climate Empowerment: This item considered the Glasgow work programme on Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE), which aims to empower all members of society to engage in climate action, through education, training, public awareness, public participation, public access to information, and international cooperation on these issues. The objective of discussions at this session was to develop a plan focusing on immediate action through short-term, clear and time-bound activities. In informal consultations, co-facilitated by Bianca Moldovean (Romania) and Pemy Gasela (South Africa), parties discussed draft decision text. They exchanged views on possible activities, with many emphasizing the importance of setting a clear timeline for the implementation of the proposed activities. Highlighting their value, many parties supported linking activities to the ACE Dialogues.
SBI Conclusions: In its conclusions (FCCC/SBI/2022/L.13), the SBI:
- welcomes the 2022 ACE dialogue and the technical workshop held at this session, acknowledging that the workshop informed parties’ development of an action plan, focusing on immediate action through short-term, clear and time-bound activities; and
- agrees to continue discussions at SBI 57, taking into account the informal note prepared by the co-facilitators.
Arrangements for intergovernmental meetings: This agenda item (FCCC/SBI/2022/5 and FCCC/SBI/2020/INF.8) was addressed in a contact group chaired by SBI Chair Karlsen.
During the contact group meetings, delegates discussed, among other things, improvements to the UNFCCC process, time allocation in plenary, and access to meetings. On process improvement, Antigua and Barbuda, for AOSIS, supported by others, lamented the large number of agenda items. She called for using headline agenda items such as mitigation, adaptation, and transparency, to clarify the subject of discussions. CHILE, supported by others, considered that the lack of agreement on rules of procedure and the absence of voting is one of the reasons the UNFCCC is a slow process. Bhutan, for LDCs, suggested developing standard operating procedures for COP hosts to follow.
On time allocation in plenary and meeting access, LDCs said increasing access for all participants should not negatively affect parties’ capacity to negotiate. CANADA suggested that meaningful participation from observers is linked to efficiency. Zambia for the AFRICAN GROUP, TRADE UNION NGOs, BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY NGOs, and the GLOBAL CAMPAIGN TO DEMAND CLIMATE JUSTICE raised the issue of challenges in securing visas from host countries. SBI Chair Karlsen noted that visas are ultimately controlled by host governments. YOUTH NGOs stressed discussions under this agenda item should address conflicts of interest, as some observer groups hold financial interests that “deliberately undermine climate action.” She called for observers to declare conflicts of interest.
With regard to speaking time for observers, the EU called for encouraging presiding officers to emulate the speaking order applied in the opening plenary of the GST technical dialogue: group statements first, followed by alternating statements by observer and individual parties. AOSIS called for data on observer organizations’ regional balance.
Delegates also debated holding a workshop on increasing the efficiency of the UNFCCC process in enhancing ambition and strengthening implementation. Ultimately there was no agreement to hold a workshop. Many delegates expressed disappointment and expressed their hope for agreement at SBI 58, when the SBI will resume consideration of this agenda item.
SBI Conclusions: In its conclusions (FCCC/SBI/2022/L.14), the SBI, inter alia:
- notes the importance of ensuring the full participation of all parties, as well as observer organizations, in sessions of the governing and subsidiary bodies and reiterates the need for hosts of future sessions, and the host government of the Secretariat, to ensure the timely issuance of visas, availability of affordable accommodations, and ease of access to the conference venue and meeting rooms;
- takes note of the submissions from parties and observer organizations on approaches and initiatives for increasing the efficiency of the UNFCCC process, invites parties and observer organizations to submit further views on this matter, and requests the Secretariat to prepare a synthesis report on these submissions for SBI 58;
- requests the Secretariat to prepare an information paper on past sessions, and on regional distribution of admitted and accredited observer organizations over time;
- agrees to continue its consideration of the efficiency of the UNFCCC process towards increasing ambition and strengthening implementation at SBI 58;
- reiterates the urgent need for solutions to improve the representation of observer organizations from developing countries in the UNFCCC process; and
- requests the Secretariat to continue making use of technology to facilitate the remote participation of observer organizations in meetings, while noting that remote engagement has its challenges.
Administrative, financial and institutional matters: The SBI first took up this item (FCCC/SBI/2022/3 and Add.1, FCCC/SBI/2022/9, and FCCC/SBI/2022/INF.1, 2, 3, 7 and 9), during its opening plenary on Monday, 6 June. UNFCCC Deputy Executive Secretary Ovais Sarmad reported on budget performance for the biennium 2020-2021; the continuous review of the functions and operations of the Secretariat; and the UNFCCC annual report, among others. He further noted that the Secretariat’s legal status has been left in abeyance since 2001, requesting clarity from parties on the subject, and that parties’ outstanding contributions amount to almost EUR 29 million. Discussions continued in a contact group chaired by Vicky Noens (Belgium).
SBI Conclusions: In its conclusions (FCCC/SBI/2022/L.11, Adds.1-2), the SBI:
- authorizes the Executive Secretary to notify parties of their contributions to the core budget for 2022 and 2023 based on the revised scales for 2022-2023 contained in document FCCC/SBI/2022/INF.1;
- concludes that solutions have been found for addressing the concerns raised by the Secretariat in its note on the legal status of the Secretariat, systemic issues have not arisen and the Secretariat has been functioning and conducting its operations effectively;
- agrees to revisit the issue of the Secretariat’s legal status in the future, if necessary; and
- recommends draft decisions on administrative, financial, and institutional matters for consideration and adoption by COP 27 and CMP 17.
Agenda Items Considered Jointly by the SBSTA and SBI
Matters relating to the work programme for urgently scaling up mitigation ambition and implementation: This joint contact group aimed to gather views from parties on the elements of a work programme to scale up mitigation ambition and implementation that was established in paragraph 27 of decision 1/CMA.3.
Co-facilitators Carlos Fuller (Belize) and Kay Harrison (New Zealand) formulated an informal note capturing a range of participants’ views on potential elements of the work programme, including guiding principles, objectives, outcomes, scope, and modalities.
Many developing country groups stressed the need to uphold the principles of the Convention, including equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. Many groups proposed that the work programme include an information-sharing platform. Regarding scope, many argued that the work programme should be cross-sectoral, with some cautioning that a mitigation work programme should not create new mandates outside the Paris Agreement. Parties also discussed connections with political processes, with many suggesting that the programme should inform the annual pre-2030 ministerial roundtable and that it should continue until 2030, with urgent emphasis placed on the next two years.
Strong divergences emerged about whether or not to mention the informal note in the draft conclusions, with some developing country groups arguing that certain proposed elements risked “changing the nature of the Paris Agreement.”
SB Conclusions: In their conclusions (FCCC/SB/2022/L.6), the SBs:
- take note of the “constructive discussions” held during the session;
- agree to continue work on this item at SB 57;
- invite parties to submit their views on the work programme; and
- request the Secretariat to organize a pre-sessional workshop on the work programme before CMA 4.
Matters relating to the Global Stocktake under the Paris Agreement: This joint item considers the GST, which is the process that aims to assess the world’s collective progress towards achieving the Paris Agreement’s long-term goals. The first technical dialogue of the GST was held throughout the session, across multiple days and formats. Contact group discussions were co-chaired by Alison Campbell (United Kingdom) and Hana S. AlHashimi (United Arab Emirates). Among issues raised, Trinidad and Tobago, for AOSIS, stressed that the GST should provide policy advice to “course-correct” if it is to be effective. Saudi Arabia, for the LMDCs, stressed the need for developed countries to “take the lead” in closing the pre-2020 mitigation gap. Discussing draft decision text, the LMDCs, supported by ALGERIA, INDIA, BRAZIL, and CHINA, and opposed by CANADA, AUSTRALIA, and Colombia, for AILAC, requested additions to the text to emphasize the “party-driven” nature of the GST
SB Conclusions: In their conclusions (FCCC/SB/2022/L.3), the SBs:
- request the co-facilitators to take into account feedback by parties and by the joint contact group when preparing the first summary report and designing the second meeting of the technical dialogue, in order to ensure an inclusive, balanced, comprehensive, and focused process that is party-driven, with the participation of non-party stakeholders;
- request the co-facilitators to submit the summary report of the first meeting of the technical dialogue well in advance of the second meeting;
- reiterate their call for inputs by parties and non-party stakeholders ahead of the second meeting of the technical dialogue; and
- encourage parties and non-party stakeholders to hold events across levels, as appropriate, in support of the GST.
Second periodic review of the long-term global goal under the Convention and of overall progress towards achieving it: This item was first considered in a joint contact group co-chaired by Stella Gama (Malawi) and Andrew Feronne (Luxembourg). The mandate of the SBs at this session was to continue their review of the long-term global goal under the Convention and of overall progress towards achieving it, with a view to concluding it in 2022.
The Co-Chairs invited parties to provide guidance on the preparation of the summary report of the third meeting of the second structured expert dialogue (SED2) held at SBSTA 56, and the synthesis report of the second periodic review. Parties agreed that, as the reports are not yet finalized, the group should adopt procedural conclusions at this session. Kenya, for G-77/CHINA, emphasized that the outputs of the second periodic review should contribute to the GST. On guidance, Botswana, for the AFRICAN GROUP, called for a focus on means of implementation as an enabler of progress. Saudi Arabia, for the ARAB GROUP, supported by India, for the LMDCs, called for improved balance between theme 1 (long-term global goal) and theme 2 (progress toward the goal).
SB Conclusions: In their conclusions (FCCC/SB/2022/L.1), the SBs:
- take note of the submissions from parties and observers on the third meeting of SED2, held at this session;
- request the SED2 co-facilitators to prepare a summary report on the third meeting of SED2;
- request the SED2 co-facilitators to prepare a synthesis report on the meetings of SED2, which covers in a balanced manner, the two themes of the second periodic review and reflects the dialogue, for consideration at SB 57; and
- invite parties to submit their reflections on the findings of SED2 with a view to developing a draft decision for consideration by COP 27 and informing the first GST.
Koronivia joint work on agriculture: This joint item considered issues related to agriculture. Informal consultations, co-facilitated by Monica Figaj (Poland) and Milagros Sandoval (Peru), considered the reports on the first and second parts of an intersessional workshop held in June and October 2021, on sustainable land and water management and scaling up resilient and sustainable production in agricultural systems. Disagreements arose in discussions on the co-facilitators’ informal note, with many parties arguing that the note does not fully capture their views.
SB Conclusions: In their conclusions (FCCC/SB/2022/L.2), the SBs: welcome the reports of the first and second parts of the intersessional workshop and highlight a number of findings from the workshop, including but not limited to:
- the importance of sustainable land and water management for agriculture;
- the need to scale up approaches in an inclusive and participatory way;
- the multiple societal benefits of implementing sustainable approaches in agriculture; and
- the importance of increased access to international resources, such as finance, capacity building, and technology development and transfer.
The SBs agree to continue considerations at SB 57, taking into account the co-facilitators’ informal note, and noting that the latter does not reflect consensus or comprehensive opinions by parties.
Matters relating to the Santiago Network under the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts: Kishan Kumarsingh (Trinidad and Tobago) and Cornelia Jäger (Austria) co-facilitated informal consultations, during which parties exchanged views on an “elements paper” prepared by the co-facilitators. Parties discussed institutional arrangements for the Santiago Network, including:
- the role and responsibilities of a secretarial body;
- the need for an advisory body;
- the role of loss and damage contact points;
- reporting and review;
- a host organization;
- accreditation procedures for network members; and
- the role of the Executive Committee of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage.
After spending more than 21 hours in “informal informals,” parties reported “significant convergence” but could not agree to a substantive decision. They disagreed most significantly over the need for an advisory body.
SB Conclusions: In their conclusions (FCCC/SB/2022/L.4), the SBs:
- agree to continue consideration of the matter at SB 57, taking into account the document prepared at the session; and
- request the Secretariat to continue providing support for developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
Matters relating to the forum on the impact of the implementation of response measures: This item was considered in a joint SB contact group co-chaired by Charles Fraser (United Kingdom) and Andrei Marcu (Papua New Guinea). One of the main tasks of the SBs at this session was to commence the midterm review of the work plan of the forum on the impact of the implementation of response measures, with a view to enhancing the effectiveness of the forum. To support this work, the Secretariat prepared a summary report of the submissions of parties and observers on the elements of the midterm review (FCCC/SB/2022/1).
The US, AUSTRALIA, and the EU noted that work should be carried out in accordance with the principles of human rights; consideration of Indigenous Peoples and local knowledge; and in line with the best available science. The AFRICAN GROUP noted that activities must have on-the-ground components, and should work from concrete examples and develop case studies. The Maldives, for AOSIS, pressed for further scrutiny on transborder issues such as border carbon adjustments. PAPUA NEW GUINEA requested concrete examples of work beyond principles that should be integrated, specifically requesting that Australia, the US, and the EU, all of whom have industrial interests in her country, bring these to the next session.
Parties also continued consideration of the first annual report of the Katowice Committee of Experts on the Impacts of the Implementation of Response Measures (KCI) for 2019. Parties’ discussions and submissions were captured in an informal note prepared by the contact group Co-Chairs.
SB Conclusions: In their conclusions (FCCC/SB/2022/L.5), the SBs:
- agree to continue consideration of these matters at SB 57;
- request the Secretariat to update the compilation of submissions from parties and observers on efforts related to addressing the social and economic consequences and impacts of response measures;
- request the KCI to prepare a synthesis report reflecting the relevant work of the forum and its KCI as input to the GST’s technical assessment component; and
- request the Secretariat to organize a regional workshop on activity 3 of the work plan (facilitate development and use of tools and methodologies for modeling and assessing the impacts of the implementation of response measures) before SB 57.
Glasgow–Sharm el-Sheikh work programme on the global goal on adaptation: This joint item was tasked with determining the objectives and modalities of a GGA with a view of supporting the implementation of the Paris Agreement. Informal consultations were co-facilitated by Patience Damptey (Ghana) and Bastiaan Hassing (the Netherlands). Discussions reflected calls for the GGA work programme to:
- account for different levels of development;
- have a concrete outcome at COP 27;
- drive action while addressing the need of support for vulnerable communities; and
- define the GGA and inform the GST process under the Paris Agreement.
In informal consultations, parties raised concerns about their “ability to engage” in the first workshop under the work programme due to a limiting format, and many called for a more interactive format moving forward. Most parties agreed that a report should be produced following each workshop, but two developing countries suggested informal notes or summary conclusion papers. Several country groups requested additional time to discuss this agenda item, with one calling for balance between the number of sessions for this item and that on the mitigation work programme.
SB Conclusions: In their conclusions (FCCC/SB/2022/L.7), the SBs:
- note the synthesis of party submission on how to achieve the objectives of the Glasgow–Sharm el-Sheikh work programme;
- note that the themes and areas of work could require further elaboration as the process progresses;
- invite parties and observers to submit views on subsequent workshops;
- request the SB Chairs to provide a concept note and guiding questions on the theme and areas of each workshop;
- request the Secretariat to compile and synthesize indicators, approaches, targets, and metrics relevant to reviewing progress made on the GGA; and
- request the Secretariat to prepare a summary of each workshop, as well as an annual report capturing progress by CMA 4.
Mandated Events and Other Sessions
Workshop on non-market approaches referred to in Article 6.8: This in-session workshop took place on Tuesday, 7 June, and was organized pursuant to the request by CMA 3 to the Secretariat to organize a workshop on matters relating to the work programme under the framework for NMAs, including:
- existing NMAs in the initial focus areas of the work programme activities;
- examples of potential additional focus areas and related existing NMAs;
- the UNFCCC web-based platform; and
- the schedule for implementing the work programme activities.
SBSTA Chair Mpanu Mpanu explained the workshop aimed to collect views and information relating to the work programme under the framework for NMAs. Co-Facilitators Maria AlJishi (Saudi Arabia) and Giuliana Torta (Italy) opened the floor for presentations. Parties and observers identified existing NMAs, including: Copernicus, which is the EU’s Earth observation programme; the Cleaner Energy Future Initiative for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations; the African Development Bank’s Adaptation Benefits Mechanism; and the Local Climate Adaptive Living Facility.
Regarding the web-based platform, participants identified possible uses, such as sharing information on existing initiatives, recording new NMAs, matching activities with funding, and catalyzing networks on specific NMAs. They also discussed the possible timeline for implementing the work programme activities, with many calling for quick implementation of the activities and full operationalization of the Glasgow Committee on NMAs by COP 27.
First workshop under the Glasgow–Sharm el-Sheikh work programme on the global goal on adaptation: This workshop took place on 8 and 9 June, with the objective of enhancing understanding of the GGA and reviewing progress towards it. Parties considered a number of guiding questions on the global goal in their initial inputs.
On the first day of the workshop, the Secretariat shared a synthesis of views submitted by parties. She highlighted that parties expect the GGA to be global in nature, defined both qualitatively and quantitatively, and not designed to fit a certain region or country.
In the subsequent discussion among parties and observers, Saudi Arabia, for LMDCs, underscored that the GGA should account for different levels of development and address gaps in adaptation action. Botswana, for the G-77/CHINA, called for a concrete outcome at COP 27 to steer the process going forward. Maldives, for AOSIS, emphasized that the GGA must drive action while addressing the urgency of support for vulnerable communities. Zambia, for the AFRICAN GROUP, said the work programme should seek to: define the GGA and articulate its elements; achieve the GGA, focusing on means of implementation; and inform the GST process under the Paris Agreement.
Other discussions related to attention for the financial dimension of the GGA and providing a clear picture of what works and what does not in adaptation.
IPCC Working Group II (WG II) event under the Glasgow–Sharm el-Sheikh work programme on the global goal on adaptation: This event took place on 7 June, and brought together IPCC authors to discuss the WG II report, which considers the impacts of climate change on ecosystems, human societies, and culture.
In their presentation, IPCC authors highlighted that progress on adaptation is uneven and that “we are on our way to low-climate resilient development.” They underscored that there are limits to adaptation, noting that some solutions will not work above 1.5°C of warming. They also shared their assessment of the economic, technological, and social feasibility of different adaptation measures and their synergies with mitigation and the Sustainable Development Goals. Current global financial flows are insufficient for near-term adaptation needs, they noted. The presentation and discussion also emphasized the importance of attending to equity and justice considerations, notably from a gender perspective.
IPCC-SBSTA special event on IPCC Working Group III (WG III): This event took place on 8 June and unpacked the findings of the WG III report on climate change mitigation. The report’s principal message is that the past decade has seen the highest increase in GHG emissions in human history, but that there are options available now in every sector to halve emissions by 2030.
Jim Skea, WG III Co-Chair, outlined the assessment’s new chapters on innovation and technology, a more extensive treatment of carbon dioxide removal, and work on demand options and social impacts. Shonali Pachauri, WG III lead author, explained that the temporary drop in emissions due to the COVID-19 pandemic has already rebounded. Moreover, humanity remains “stuck in the era of fossil fuels,” with current NDCs largely insufficient to keep the 1.5°C goal within reach. She explained that an “unprecedented” mitigation effort is required to achieve this goal.
Glasgow Dialogue on loss and damage: COP 26 established the Glasgow Dialogue to discuss the arrangements for funding activities to avert, minimize, and address loss and damage associated with the adverse impacts of climate change. The first dialogue was held over three days, co-moderated by Joseph Teo (Singapore) and Christina Chan (US).
SBI Chair Karlsen opened the dialogue on 7 June, encouraging participants to “collectively explore practical responses to the tremendous challenges climate impacts represent to the vulnerable among us.” UNFCCC Executive Secretary Espinosa stressed that loss and damage is “not a distant future challenge” for many countries and called on participants to “not shy away from tough issues.”
Following scene-setting presentations, Antigua and Barbuda, for AOSIS, raised a point of order, supported by MARSHALL ISLANDS, Fiji, for Pacific SIDS, Timor Leste, for LDCs, and SOUTH AFRICA. He recalled that AOSIS had expressed a grievance with the decision text on the Glasgow Dialogue during the closing plenary of COP 26 and had acquiesced to the Dialogue “on the condition that it will lead to a loss and damage finance facility” at COP 27. He stressed that the current structure of the Dialogue does not permit discussions on gaps that limit financial support to address loss and damage within existing funding arrangements.
On 8 June, breakout group discussions considered: funding arrangements, including synergies and complementarities between different arrangements; lessons learned to improve support and funding; and barriers and challenges to accessing funding.
On 11 June, Co-Moderator Teo invited facilitators from the breakout groups to share their take-aways. A key debate across the groups focused on whether funding arrangements for loss and damage exist and whether they are sufficient to meet existing and future needs. Some argued that existing financial institutions address loss and damage, including some under the Convention—such as the GCF and Adaptation Fund—and others outside the Convention, such as arrangements for humanitarian aid, reconstruction and recovery, emergency relief, and migration. They argued that strengthening and scaling up these existing arrangements would be less costly and time-consuming than establishing a new facility.
Others argued that existing funding arrangements are inadequate and under-resourced, particularly to address slow-onset events and non-economic losses. Many participants stressed that while insurance schemes can help address loss and damage, most remain in experimental stages and premiums are unaffordable, especially for people in highly vulnerable countries. Many called specifically for the creation of a loss and damage finance facility as a concrete outcome of the Dialogue. Some detailed how such a facility could be resourced from annual contributions from developed countries based on their “historical responsibilities under the Convention.”
First meeting of the technical dialogue under the global stocktake: This multi-day event, co-facilitated by Harald Winkler (South Africa) and Farhan Akhtar (US), was the first meeting of the technical dialogue for the GST, which aims to build a conversation among parties, experts, and non-party stakeholders to develop a shared understanding of Paris Agreement implementation and progress towards its long-term goals.
The technical dialogue took part in a number of formats: two plenary sessions, which opened and closed the dialogue; three roundtables, which offered focused discussion under the thematic areas of mitigation, adaptation, and means of implementation; and a world café format, which allowed for rapid thematic exchanges between participants and focused on creating connections across items.
In the closing plenary for the dialogue on 14 June, the co-facilitators praised the exchanges between participants during the sessions. They also highlighted, among others:
- justice and equity issues related to the remaining carbon budget;
- current adaptation action is less transformational than needed;
- locally-adapted technology and demand-driven technology transfer; and
- lack of alignment of financial flows with the Paris Agreement.
There was resounding support for the creative format of the dialogue, especially the world café setting and engagement of non-state actors.
The co-facilitators indicated that both written submissions and discussions will be captured in a summary report.
Second Technical Expert Dialogue under the Ad hoc Work Programme on the New Collective Quantified Goal on Climate Finance: Decision 9/CMA.3 established this work programme to conduct technical work related to deciding a new climate finance goal to take effect in 2025. The dialogue took place over two days, co-chaired by Kishan Kumarsingh (Trinidad and Tobago) and Frederica Fricano (Italy).
On 13 June, a scene-setting presentation and panel was followed by breakout groups where participants reflected on the “landscape of issues” raised in the reflections note prepared by the Co-Chairs following the first dialogue.
UNFCCC Executive Secretary Espinosa opened the dialogue by stressing that the financial needs of developing countries will not be met with grand and unsubstantiated pledges.” The new climate finance goal, she said, “must be deliverable.”
On 14 June, following a second scene-setting panel, participants again joined breakout groups to reflect on milestones, approaches, and topics for discussion in future dialogues.
Barney Dickson, United Nations Environment Programme, shared overall reflections on breakout group discussions. On the structure of the dialogues, he highlighted the need to ensure predictability, time for preparation and written submissions, and inclusion of external stakeholders. He stressed the guiding principles of the new climate finance goal should include transparency, justice, and equity, and be based on science. Potential topics suggested for “deep-dives” during the third and fourth dialogues in 2022 included:
- specific thematic areas of adaptation, mitigation, means of implementation, needs and priorities, and gender;
- sources of finance and the relationship between public and private sources;
- soles of different actors;
- understanding of the current status of finance flows; and
- the relationship between the Paris Agreement’s Article 9 (mobilization of financial resources) and Article 2.1.c (making financial flows consistent with a low GHG emissions and climate-resilient development).
The Co-Chairs will prepare a reflections note indicating a structure for the third and fourth dialogues.
Ocean and Climate Change Dialogue: This event, which took place on Saturday, 11 June, was the first in a new series of annual dialogues aimed at strengthening ocean-based action, mandated by COP 26. It builds on a previous event, mandated by COP 25, which was held virtually from 2-3 December 2020.
In opening remarks, Peter Thomson, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, lauded COP 26 for answering the call to better integrate the ocean into the UNFCCC’s work. He called upon countries to leverage blue carbon measures to increase ambition in their NDCs and noted the financial sector’s role in supporting the development of ocean-based climate solutions.
UNFCCC Executive Secretary Espinosa noted that “despite all the damage that humankind has done to it,” the ocean still offers great potential for its recovery and for climate change mitigation and adaptation. She called upon parties to “blue” their NDCs and long-term strategies. Youth representatives urged reversing the mismanagement of the ocean and presented the Global Blue New Deal.
Participants then heard presentations and discussed issues such as: near-term opportunities to decarbonize the shipping sector; climate-resilient fisheries and aquaculture; ocean-based renewable energy; strengthening ocean-climate finance under the UNFCCC; and the role of venture philanthropy. Among others, they underscored the importance of research funding, private sector engagement, and ambitious outcomes in the negotiations for a post-2020 global biodiversity framework and a new treaty on biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction. Many parties called for developing a roadmap for topics to be addressed in future dialogues, fostering interactive discussions, and ensuring broad participation. Several parties called for a strong reference to the ocean in the COP 27 outcome.
High-Level Champions event on taking stock of progress: On Wednesday, 8 June, the UNFCCC High-Level Champions showcased the contribution of non-state actors to the different areas of the GST’s Technical Dialogue and to help enhance climate action.
- lessons learned from implementing the Millennium Development Goals and the Sustainable Development Goals;
- the role of non-state actors in drawing attention to what communities experience on the ground;
- the third revision of the “Race to Zero” criteria, which aims to, inter alia, ensure a high standard of targets around net zero in order to “flush out greenwashing”;
- the Global Climate Action Portal and the work undertaken to evolve it from a tool for recognizing action to an accountability tool for tracking action; and
- launch of the “Climate Action Data 2.0” working group aimed at improving metrics and criteria for target setting and progress tracking.
Open-ended consultations by the incoming COP 27 Presidency on the vision and expectations for the conference: In this event on Tuesday, 14 June, the incoming COP 27 Presidency outlined plans for the upcoming conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. They emphasized fostering the implementation of the Paris Agreement, ensuring progress across the board, and effective stakeholder participation. They noted ten thematic days will be organized, including on finance, loss and damage and disaster risk reduction, water, decarbonization, science, ocean, and biodiversity. “Africa,” they noted, will be featured as a cross-cutting element. They also pointed to an evolving list of 17 topics of interest, including: cities, energy sector transition, nutrition, and desertification. They solicited ideas from groups and stakeholders on initiatives to consider and to promote.
YOUTH NGOs called for support to hold the first ever youth pavilion, and emphasized inclusiveness, including with regard to gender, age, race, and sexual orientation. BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY NGOs highlighted the role of small and medium enterprises in emerging economies and developing countries as crucial for reaching net zero. LOCAL GOVERNMENTS AND MUNICIPAL AUTHORITIES highlighted convening a climate-urbanization ministerial. GLOBAL CAMPAIGN TO DEMAND CLIMATE JUSTICE called for barring sponsorships from polluting corporations and urged establishing a process for conflicts of interest. CLIMATE ACTION NETWORK emphasized food and energy access, underscoring COP 27 should be an African COP.
Closure of the Meetings
On Thursday, 16 June, participants delivered closing statements to reflect on the meeting and outline expectations for COP 27.
Pakistan, for the G-77/CHINA, lamented lack of balanced consideration of the various agenda items, noting poor progress on both loss and damage, and finance. He urged discussion of the main elements of the new collective quantified goal on climate finance, stressing that the level of the goal must be based on science, and on the needs and priorities identified by developing countries; and also called for strengthening the Technology Mechanism and CTCN.
The EU noted that the Glasgow Dialogue enabled constructive engagement between parties and non-party stakeholders and enhanced understanding of ways to strengthen existing arrangements on loss and damage. She noted the urgency of mitigation action and lamented lack of agreement to officially recognize parties’ discussions under the mitigation work programme.
Noting that COP 27 must deliver outcomes that spur greater mitigation ambition to keep 1.5°C alive, Australia, on behalf of the following members of the UMBRELLA GROUP—Australia, Canada, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Norway, Ukraine and the US—expressed disappointment that some parties “blocked” efforts to capture parties’ rich discussions on the mitigation work programme at this session. She reaffirmed the group’s willingness to discuss funding arrangements through the Glasgow Dialogue.
Switzerland, for the EIG, expressed concern that although Glasgow helped keep 1.5°C alive, this goal may be lost this year. He urged all parties to work together to “give life to 1.5°C,” noting this is the only way to ensure a healthy planet for the next generation. He lamented insufficient progress over the last two weeks and called for increased progress that must be guided by science.
Zambia, for the AFRICAN GROUP, stressed the importance of advancing work on loss and damage, and on means of implementation to aid with NDC implementation. He called for a dedicated session of the GST’s technical dialogue on cross-cutting issues and linkages, especially equity.
Antigua and Barbuda, for AOSIS, underlined that “the climate emergency is becoming a catastrophe” and that progress is largely out of step with reality. He called for, among others, parties to double their climate finance pledges before COP 27; and for global emissions to peak and halve by 2030.
Senegal, for the LDCs, noted the lack of progress on a number of items, calling it “unsatisfactory.” She called for further advancement of work on climate finance and on the mitigation work programme at COP 27.
Noting that “the world expects more than dialogues,” Bolivia, for the LMDCs, called on the Chairs not to “pay lip service” to loss and damage and means of implementation. He decried the “repeated attempts to renegotiate the Convention and the Agreement” during the session.
Chile, for AILAC, praised the technical dialogue for “breaking barriers” in the session, and spoke to the essential need of mobilizing financial flows from all sectors.
Stressing the importance of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities and equity, India, for BASIC, expressed her disappointment with progress on the global goal for adaptation; and stressed that a mitigation work programme must be “facilitative, not prescriptive,” and should link strongly with means of implementation.
Brazil, for ABU, expressed her desire for “concrete results” on the Santiago Network on loss and damage at COP 27, and pressed for further progress on a new collective quantified finance goal.
Venezuela, for ALBA, stressed that the Convention and Paris Agreement are legally-binding instruments that cannot be canceled or replaced by new agreements.
Emphasizing that adaptation is key for their efforts to advance sustainable development, Saudi Arabia, for the ARAB GROUP, said that achieving the GGA will be an “important enabler” in implementing the Paris Agreement.
Papua New Guinea, for the COALITION FOR RAINFOREST NATIONS, underscored that we must move into “emergency mode” in order to stay on a 1.5°C pathway, shifting to renewable energy and taking stronger action to reduce emissions across sectors.
Stressing that “we cannot deal with climate change as a zero-sum equation,” EGYPT called on parties to build trust and demonstrate mutual understanding to achieve progress in Sharm el-Sheikh.
Lauding “genuine progress” during the session, the UNITED KINGDOM called on countries to redouble efforts to deliver on the commitments of the Glasgow Climate Pact.
IRAN stressed the need for a balanced approach, recognizing flexibility as key to success for developing countries.
INDONESIA said that the informal note on the mitigation work programme should have been a starting point for discussion, not a negotiating text.
GHANA called for: COP 27 to commission an IPCC special report on loss and damage; a status update on the delivery plan for the USD 100 billion per year finance goal; and a standalone plan for doubling adaptation funding by 2025.
TÜRKIYE said progress on the mitigation work programme is insufficient and that the signals here are not promising for COP 27. She noted this is a party-driven process and all parties’ views should be reflected.
The MARSHALL ISLANDS said her country is feeling a “visceral sense of urgency” and that keeping 1.5°C alive is key to keeping countries like hers alive. She urged effective participation and engagement of youth, civil society, and Indigenous Peoples.
NEPAL highlighted that the climate crisis is already happening, and urged support to vulnerable countries through a finance facility for loss and damage. He underlined that the future of humanity is not up for negotiation. TANZANIA said the decisions made in Glasgow can only be achieved if “we stop politicizing science.” He also noted increasing visa challenges preventing effective participation of countries like his.
The PHILIPPINES called for moving beyond dialogue to actual action on loss and damage. BANGLADESH urged all countries to listen to what science is saying by keeping 1.5°C alive, and rescuing the over 3.6 billion people at risk of climate impacts.
AUSTRALIA noted that his country had submitted an updated NDC that increases their mitigation ambition to 43% below 2005 levels by 2030, which he said reflects the country’s resolve to address the climate crisis and keep 1.5°C within reach. PANAMA called for a generational shift in leadership, stressing that youth must be given the power to negotiate for their own future. She also urged inclusion of Indigenous Peoples, women, and non-state actors.
The RUSSIAN FEDERATION announced their exit from their negotiation group and intention to remain active in Paris Agreement discussions. JAPAN called for progress in determining the mitigation work programme in alignment with 1.5°C and urged cooperation in creating ways to achieve net zero by 2050.
TIMOR LESTE stressed loss and damage is already happening and will only get worse. He called for an agenda item on loss and damage to ensure financial support for addressing this issue.
The INTERNATIONAL INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ FORUM ON CLIMATE CHANGE lamented the long colonial history that has worsened the impact of climate change on Indigenous Peoples by depriving them of their rights to manage traditional lands. He stressed that: Indigenous Peoples must be full participants in the loss and damage discussions, and have access to the finance facility; and the GST must be based on best available knowledge, which includes Indigenous knowledge not just Western science.
TRADE UNION NGOs lamented that the session had not been negotiating, but “avoiding,” and called for parties to integrate the criteria agreed upon at COP 26 to support an international just transition.
WOMEN AND GENDER expressed frustration at the failure of SB 56 to generate concrete solutions, and said communities need “real resources, not another talk shop.”
YOUTH NGOs highlighted the need to incorporate intergenerational equity into the GST; the inclusion of youth in finance dialogues; and the irresponsibility of rich countries leading to “climate wars.”
BUSINESS NGOs highlighted businesses working towards achieving net zero emissions, but added their efforts will only help “if governments are pulling in the same direction.”
CLIMATE ACTION NETWORK warned that humanity is now living in an “era of loss and damage” and called for the fulfillment of the USD 100 billion climate finance goal.
The GLOBAL CAMPAIGN TO DEMAND CLIMATE JUSTICE decried increased corporate representation at the UNFCCC, especially in the GST, and warned against drowning out “people’s solutions.”
LOCAL GOVERNMENTS AND MUNICIPAL AUTHORITIES highlighted the upcoming World Urban Forum in Katowice, Poland.
Closure of the SBI: Parties adopted the draft report of SBI 57 (FCCC/SBI/2022/L.6). SBI Chair Karlsen presented some words of gratitude for UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa. She praised her leadership “in a time of change,” and expressed gratitude for leading the way on gender equality in the UNFCCC process. Executive Secretary Espinosa thanked her for the praise and said that she receives it on behalf of the entire Secretariat. SBI Chair Karlsen closed the meeting at 7:05 pm on Thursday, 16 June.
Closure of the SBSTA: Parties adopted the draft report of SBSTA 57 (FCCC/SBSTA/2022/L.3). SBSTA Chair Mpanu Mpanu closed the meeting at 7:10 pm on Thursday, 16 June.
A Brief Analysis of the Bonn Climate Change Conference
When delegates returned to Bonn after a three-year hiatus, the venue may have been the same, but so much else had changed. Two parties are at war with each other, and the conflict’s shock waves are felt daily throughout the world. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) new report is both a damning indictment of the first 30 years of the Convention—emissions are higher now than in the past decade—and an urgent call to action. And as climate impacts increase in severity, loss and damage is now unavoidable—as are vulnerable countries’ calls for compensation.
Perhaps the biggest adjustment was that the process under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is undergoing a fundamental change. The 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 26) in 2021 saw the final pieces of the Paris Agreement rulebook fall into place. After over a decade of intense negotiations, the focus has shifted to implementing the landmark agreement. Most of the actual work must now be done at the national level where governments must steer their economies into a low-carbon transition, while fostering equitable adaptation.
This is not a completely new situation for the UNFCCC. Parties spent years negotiating and then implementing the Kyoto Protocol. But the scope of the Paris Agreement is much larger, and the world is a different place. The stakes have never been higher, and the UNFCCC must follow suit. How can the UNFCCC evolve to become a mechanism that drives accountability and ambition? How has the largely technical session of the subsidiary bodies changed? What did the Bonn Climate Change Conference achieve in a context of ever-growing uncertainty? This brief analysis will examine these questions.
The first sign of transformation in Bonn was the daily schedule. The time set aside for negotiations was fairly limited on some days, with more time reserved for a series of mandated events. Mandated events are a common feature of climate conferences, but as a result of decisions taken at COP 26, the list grew to include dialogues on the global stocktake (GST), loss and damage, a new climate finance goal, and ocean-based climate action, as well as informational events on the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report. The shift in prominence was especially noticeable on days where overlaps between mandated events and the negotiations were minimized, squeezing the latter in only two one-hour slots.
Subsidiary body meetings have historically been more technical, in the sense that they pave the way to higher-level negotiations and trade-offs at the COP. But negotiations at this meeting were remarkably centered on the day-to-day work of the Convention: reviewing the performance of programmes and preparing guidance to constituted bodies.
The most substantive negotiations focused on fine-tuning the machinery of the Agreement. In a surprising turn, discussions on Article 6 (cooperative approaches)—historically the problem child of the Paris Agreement—resulted in substantive outcomes. Nothing exactly groundbreaking, but parties agreed to a significant amount of intersessional work. This was an encouraging sign for many who regard the cooperative approaches as essential for achieving the Paris Agreement goals and who want their timely operationalization.
A fair share of the negotiations also focused on charting out the transition from reporting under the Convention to reporting under the Paris Agreement’s Enhanced Transparency Framework (ETF), but some sticking points remain. Developing countries were extra careful about future proofing reporting provisions under the Convention to prepare for the eventuality that parties withdraw from the Paris Agreement and return to reporting under the Convention. At COP 26, parties achieved a major milestone in agreeing on common reporting tables under the ETF. But the Bonn conference showed that further engagement is needed to flesh out the voluntary review of information on climate impacts and adaptation reported under the ETF and to address the issue of support for developing countries’ reporting. Effective implementation of reporting obligations is key to ensure transparency, accountability, and tracking progress towards the Paris Agreement’s goals.
Negotiations towards operationalizing the Santiago Network on loss and damage and on the future of agriculture discussions under the UNFCCC remained equally inconclusive. Yet, for the first time, more significant issues were addressed outside of negotiation rooms.
True Successes or Talk Shops?
Many of the most important issues addressed in Bonn were not negotiated, but discussed in dialogues and workshops. The IPCC maintained a strong presence throughout, delivering a clear and consistent message that emission cuts must be rapid, immediate, and more drastic than current commitments. The highly anticipated first session of the GST’s Technical Dialogue unfolded over three days and, for the first time, brought experts, negotiators, and civil society together in a “world café” format to hash out issues without formal moderation. The success of the GST is key to building accountability and ambition into a Paris Agreement that lacks a true compliance mechanism.
The Glasgow–Sharm el-Sheikh work programme on the global goal on adaptation kicked off a two-year process, in which participants grappled with the notion of collective ambition in an era of adaptation. In the first of the new series of annual Ocean and Climate Change Dialogues, delegates exchanged views on opportunities for strengthening ocean-based climate action. And the contentious topic of the new climate finance goal was considered in the second of twelve “Technical Expert Dialogues.”
Finally, the white-hot political issue of loss and damage was taken up under the Glasgow Dialogue, where parties and observers shared views on funding arrangements for addressing loss and damage. Developing countries have long called for a dedicated financial facility on loss and damage, and while the issue did not make it to the negotiations agenda in Bonn, the dialogue served to amplify its importance—raising questions among some about how long finance for addressing loss and damage can stay off the negotiating table.
The feedback on these dialogues was mixed. Some lauded the roundtables and breakout groups, particularly for increasing the participation of non-state actors. The GST world café, which was the most innovative format, was widely applauded. Many also welcomed the departure of long-standing hierarchies: civil society interventions alternated with parties in discussions on the global goal on adaptation and loss and damage, giving them more weight. Several countries also welcomed the focused exchange on concrete actions, noting this will support implementation at the national level.
However, many criticized the dialogues as “talk shops”: mere nods of the head to the most contentious issues. Vulnerable countries made clear in the first session of the loss and damage dialogue that they did not believe it was conducted in good faith. In a point of order, the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) said the dialogue appeared to have “no clear direction” and that it put aside the notion of a financial facility. “We are here to negotiate, not to educate,” they added during the closing plenary.
As the process continues to evolve, it remains to be seen how such dialogues can be structured to foster meaningful interaction. Some parties seemed uncertain of how to engage in these more experimental fora. “Do I read my statement now?” one delegate puzzled at an informal round-table. In many of the dialogues, parties called for clear roadmaps on topics to be addressed at future sessions to ensure focused discussions. Facilitators will need to balance the desire for fewer prepared statements with the need for structure—allowing more flow, but the necessary preparation to make substantive contributions to the discussions.
While the timeline and objective for the finance dialogue was set at COP 26, it remains unclear how the other dialogues launched in Glasgow will feed back into the negotiations and lead to the adoption of substantive outcomes. How, for example, will the GST inform new and updated nationally determined contributions? How will ocean-based climate action be strengthened? How can long-standing requests from parties, such as a dedicated finance facility for loss and damage, progress from a three-day dialogue to an agenda item at a COP?
Looking Ahead to COP 27
The COP itself was clearly a concern for many as the Bonn conference came to a close. “I can tell you one thing,” one delegate confided. “Sharm el-Sheikh is going to be a rough meeting.” They reflected on what, if any, progress can be counted towards what has been termed the “Glasgow train,” a symbol of rapid uptake in ambition and implementation.
The subsidiary bodies adopted a high number of procedural conclusions—effectively delaying any real negotiations until the COP. The work programme to urgently scale up mitigation and implementation was unable to agree to “take note” of an informal note collecting parties’ views. In other words, despite five sessions’ worth of exchanges, negotiations at COP 27 will be effectively back at the starting line. “How can ambition ever build if parties bridle at taking on greater emission reductions?” one delegate fumed. Another pointed to unseen forces shaping negotiations to explain the timid outcomes. “There’s no sense in pretending the process is the same as before: the world is economically fragile, and an energy power is at war. Ministers are shifting priorities, trying to ensure energy security—and the process seems to act like that’s not the case.”
When they reconvene in Sharm el-Sheikh in November 2022, delegates will need to compensate for these forces. They will need to decide the fate of issues that remained on the sidelines in Bonn, especially loss and damage. They will also be under new leadership, which throws additional uncertainty into the coming months. Patricia Espinosa’s term as Executive Secretary may be ending with warm thanks and congratulations, but her successor has not yet been named. And the incoming COP Presidency has already instigated a flare-up of ongoing concerns about inclusivity, with civil society calling out unequal visa access and unprecedented hikes in hotel rates as major barriers to their attendance.
For the UNFCCC, the era of negotiations is not over, but fostering implementation is more important than ever. Implementation must happen at the national level, and progress within the UNFCCC may not be the type of progress that matters most. What is needed in the near term is for major emitters to reduce their emissions as fast as possible. “We have to think about the next COP,” a seasoned delegate noted, “but to really succeed, we have to start thinking beyond it.”