The Bonn Climate Change Conference started with a familiar hiccup: an agenda fight.
Despite lengthy discussions, Heads of Delegation of parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) could not resolve disagreement ahead of the first conference day and met again throughout the morning of Monday, 5 June, leading to a delayed start of the joint opening plenary of the UNFCCC’s Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA).
Parties nevertheless agreed to launch work on the basis of the SBSTA’s provisional agenda and the SBI’s supplementary provisional agenda, which were both issued ahead of the meeting. Consultations on the agendas will continue with a view to adopting them at a later stage. With many country groups, individual countries, and observer organizations taking the floor to deliver opening remarks, the opening plenary ran all afternoon and into the evening.
The delay in the opening plenary in turn pushed the presentation by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the much anticipated Synthesis Report of its Sixth Assessment Report cycle into the evening hours. Opening the event, IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee stressed that the present pace and scale of climate action are insufficient, with much deeper cuts in emissions necessary to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Despite the hiccup with the agenda, negotiations on a number of issues started in the afternoon, including on:
- emissions from fuel used for international aviation and maritime transport;
- cooperative approaches under the Paris Agreement; and
- support for developing country reporting.
Opening the session, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Simon Stiell encouraged parties to “be brave” and prioritize the common good. Pointing to the large number of issues to be addressed in the negotiations and the numerous mandated events to take place over the two-week-long meeting, the SB Chairs admonished parties to work constructively and efficiently.