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When delegates returned to Bonn after three years, the venue was the same, but so much else had changed: two parties are at war, greenhouse gas emissions are higher than ever, and climate impacts are increasing in severity. Loss and damage is now unavoidable—as are vulnerable countries’ calls for compensation.
Despite divisive negotiations at COP 26, parties managed to finalize the Paris Agreement Rulebook and adopt other substantive outcomes. During the closing plenaries, parties reflected that the overall package was not perfect, and many stressed that they were adopting the package “in the spirit of compromise.”
Delegates agreed to meet virtually, with the subsidiary bodies focused on a smaller set of agenda items in informal consultations only. To assuage some countries, there was no negotiating text or draft decisions in preparation for COP 26. Rather, progress on each item was captured in an informal note.
On the fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Paris Agreement, the United Nations, United Kingdom, and France, in partnership with Chile and Italy, co-convened a high-level event to mobilize government and non-governmental leaders to demonstrate their commitment to the Paris Agreement and the multilateral process.
With COP 26 delayed due to COVID-19, the UNFCCC decided to hold a series of virtual events to keep climate action and momentum alive, implement mandated events for 2020, and discuss ongoing and emerging issues, such as a sustainable recovery from the pandemic.
While a face-to-face meeting was impossible, the UNFCCC held a series of virtual events to keep climate action and momentum alive. Several events related to the work of the constituted bodies, which are the bodies that focus on implementing various aspects of the Convention and the Paris Agreement. These technical bodies provided updates on their work and future plans.
Disconnects between the demands of people, science, and what the process could deliver—and between countries that want to look to the future and those focused on the past—ultimately undermined the ability for the Chile/Madrid Climate Change Conference to deliver, despite COP 25 running nearly 40 hours overtime.
Like other Climate Weeks held in various regions, the event is envisioned as a stepping stone to the UN 2019 Climate Summit where UN Secretary-General António Guterres has encouraged countries to announce new, more ambitious nationally determined contributions.
The meeting advanced work on several issues to facilitate implementation of the Paris Agreement, due for completion at the Santiago Climate Change Conference in December 2019, including Article 6, Terms of Reference for the review of the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage, reporting tables and other issues related to the transparency framework under the Paris Agreement, and the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture.
Parties adopted the Katowice Climate Package at COP 24, which finalized nearly all of the Paris Agreement Work Programme, including decisions to facilitate common interpretation and implementation of the Paris Agreement on the mitigation section of NDCs, adaptation communications, transparency framework, Global Stocktake, and financial transparency. Work on Article 6 was not concluded. The COP was unable to agree on whether to “welcome” or “note” the IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C of Global Warming.