As discussions on the Glasgow Dialogue begin, members of civil society demonstrate in the corridors

Highlights and images for 9 December 2023

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

As is often the case at this stage of the climate negotiations, both process and progress were hard to pin down, as discussions advanced in various formats, some open and others away from the public eye.

Want to dig deeper into today's talks? Read the full Earth Negotiations Bulletin daily report.

Two key issues, the Global Stocktake and the Global Goal on Adaptation, never appeared on the meeting schedule. The mitigation work programme and the just transition pathways work programme were discussed in Presidency-led consultations that were open to observers, while consultations on the governance of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage were open to parties only.

Progress was similarly disparate. Discussions on just transition pathways were fairly productive. Groups met in huddles to discuss revised draft decision text and parties later agreed to have a drafting group work on remaining issues of contention. No such good news came out of the discussions on the mitigation work programme. Many parties expressed serious concerns about the text, saying it did not reflect the work programme’s mandate, although parties did not agree on the interpretation of that mandate.

The informal plenary brought some clarity as to progress made and process going forward. 

Agreement was reached on guidance to the Green Climate Fund and support for developing country reporting under the enhanced transparency framework of the Paris Agreement. However, no agreement could be found on the other outstanding issues.

While discussions on issues related to finance and to cooperative approaches for the implementation of the Paris Agreement (Article 6) will continue to be addressed at the technical level, the Presidency and its appointed Co-Facilitators will liaise with parties to narrow down bridging proposals on all other outstanding issues.

Starting on Sunday, 10 December, at 3:00 pm, the Presidency will invite ministers and heads of delegations in the announced “Majlis” format, which brings everyone together at one table. The objective is for the President to table a package proposal on Monday, 11 December.

Delegates formed a huddle during informal consultations on long-term climate finance

Delegates forming a huddle during informal consultations on long-term climate finance

Resumed High-level Segment

Secluded in a plenary room, ministers made statements outlining expectations for the remainder of the meeting. Many urged phasing out fossil fuels and peaking emissions by 2025. Other recurrent points related to, among others:

  • a robust framework to guide implementation and track progress on the Global Goal on Adaptation;
  • enhanced provision of finance to developing countries, especially for adaptation and renewable energy expansion; and
  • ensuring the sustained capitalization of the loss and damage fund.
Safiatou Diallo, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Guinea

Safiatou Diallo, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Guinea

Many also delineated their domestic efforts, especially on renewable energy development and nature conservation. Such statements underscored countries’ resolve to tackle climate change and are aimed as much at the multilateral climate negotiations as to national audiences.

Executive Secretary Briefing with Observers

Media attention is typically focused on the high-level statements rather than the actual negotiations. However, not everyone is thrilled by the frenzy that comes with the presence of government eminence. This became very clear in a briefing between Simon Stiell, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and observer constituencies.


 UNFCCC Executive Secretary Simon Stiell, and Tracy Bach, Research and Independent NGOs (RINGOs)

Several observers questioned whether such high-level presence really serves to accelerate progress, and, if not, whether it is tenable to continue featuring them at climate conferences. 

Observers also questioned the outsized presence of fossil fuel lobbyists and the large number of participants overall. Many felt that key civil society voices were being crowded out.

Executive Secretary Stiell reiterated his commitment to ensuring the process is fit-for-purpose.

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All ENB photos are free to use with attribution. For the UN Climate Change Conference - United Arab Emirates 2023 please use: Photo by IISD/ENB | Mike Muzurakis