The 2023 Bonn Climate Change Conference will remain in participants’ memories for a number of reasons. The persistent lack of agreement over the Subsidiary Bodies’ agendas is a given. But the high number of mandated events taking place at the margins of the negotiations has also made this meeting memorable.
With respect to the agendas, there was still no agreement in sight with only two days left before the end of the conference. Consultations moved back behind closed curtains, as the Chairs of the Subsidiary Bodies tried to sort out disagreement among Heads of Delegation. Negotiations remained largely undisturbed, however. Even the discussions on the most contentious item—the mitigation work programme—proceeded, albeit with some developing countries objecting to any effort by the Co-Facilitators to capture discussions in writing.
Considering the high number of mandated events, scheduling clashes with the negotiations were inevitable and delegates were at times spread thin across and beyond the venue. Finance negotiators spent a good portion of their day offsite, debating the particularly hot topic of the new collective quantified goal (NCQG) on finance.
The extent to which these mandated events tie back into the negotiations varies. Those interested in ocean issues certainly celebrated the annual ocean and climate change dialogue as an important step for strengthening the recognition of blue carbon ecosystems and the need to address adaptation in coastal areas.
Recalling the contentious plenary late Monday, many headed to the scheduled stocktaking plenary at the end of the day with some unease. The session served to highlight progress that was being made across issues, with many delegates noting the Subsidiary Bodies are moving towards acceptable outcomes on some key issues.