The Bonn Climate Change Conference marks the forty-fourth sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation and Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice, and was held from the 16th to 26th of May.  More significantly however, the Bonn Conference provides perfect timing for the first session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement.


COP 21/CMP 11 President Segolene Royale opened the session and called on negotiators to become “builders” in working on the foundations already laid in Paris. UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres then gave her opening address and received a standing ovation for her services thus far.


Despite the unprecedented consensus of the Paris Agreement, the IEA believes that we are still not on the correct path required to reverse the impacts of global warming on the earth. The head of the International Energy Agency’s Environment and Climate Change Unit, Takashi Hattori, presented at Bonn the “bridge scenario” where governments can introduce five technologies and policies that can help reach the difference between what has been implemented by governments and what is required to keep the global average temperature below 1.5 degrees Celsius. These five methods are: energy efficiency, reducing inefficient coal, renewable investment, methane reductions and fossil-fuel subsidy reform.


At the 4th Dialogue on Action for Climate Empowerment, issues such as stakeholder ownership of policy development was discussed with the collaboration of citizen and non-state or party actors into the process. Similarly, it was decided that a greater platform was required for non-state actors to collaborate internationally.

The Global Environment Facility held a special event on the Capacity Building Initiative for Transparency (CBIT) to provide an overview of the fund and to discuss its objectives and directions. The program was requested at the Paris agreement as a means of aiding the provision on the enhanced transparency from developing countries in monitoring and reporting their emissions and nationally determined contributions.


Wael Hmaidan, Director at Climate Action Network International reflected that “As Donald Trump takes evasive action to insure his golf course against climate impacts, governments and businesses, with far more at stake than the 18th green, are putting in the hard yards to accelerate the drive for 100% renewable energy, to build prosperous economies for the future.” 

With regards to general progress on international cooperation and consensus on delivering climate targets, the EU Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete closed the conference with his optimism that the collective is “moving from questions of principle to action: from the what to the how. The key to this is respecting the political balance of the Paris Agreement by moving forward together on all elements. At the same time, all countries must put in place policies and measures to deliver on their pledges.”


Others were not so satisfied at the outcomes of the conference:


Perhaps we have to wait until COP22 to see the real, tangible outcomes of the Bonn Conference. By most accounts, this conference built on the foundations of Paris in creating a working solution for climate change action. The irony in this, however, is that we can no longer afford the luxury of waiting until the next major conference to determine what actions should be taken - the world needs urgent and immediate action now. 

Kasuni Mendis is a youth activist passionate about sustainability, multiculturalism and climate change action and is currently based in Melbourne. All opinions expressed on the blog are the opinion of the authors and not of SDSN Youth.