Awareness raising efforts are paying off: In many countries, climate change ranks high on the list of issues citizens consider most pressing for policymakers to address. And with climate impacts occurring at an accelerated pace, it is no wonder that the climate negotiations are under increased scrutiny.
Participants at the 2023 Bonn Climate Change Conference have found the halls fuller than usual, with some noting there is an increased recognition of the importance of the mid-year talks as civil society organizations seek to remind governments of the real-world consequences of stalled progress under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
This scrutiny has been especially intense with regard to the issue of loss and damage finance. The normally calm conference halls were filled with protesters’ posters and chants as they urged delegates entering the opening session of the second Glasgow Dialogue to “fill the fund” currently under discussion. Who will feed the fund? Who will be eligible? What types of loss and damage will be covered? And how quickly will funds be disbursed? These are some of the key questions delegates need to sort out.
Scrutiny is also increasing regarding engagement in the UNFCCC process itself. The upcoming 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 28) to the UNFCCC is set to take place in the United Arab Emirates and many are expressing concerns over incoming COP 28 President Sultan Al Jaber’s ties to the fossil fuel industry. Civil society called for holding fossil fuel producers accountable in statements and protests on Thursday. Discussions have also called for addressing conflicts of interest more broadly. In relation to the work of the Subsidiary Bodies, this concern has been manifested in calls to ensure robust guidelines on corporate sponsorship are in place. Some have also called for a more nuanced perspective of non-state actor participation and identifying conflicts of interest.