IEMA's Digital Journalist, Tom Pashby reports on IEMA's second week at the Bonn Climate Change Conference and some of the key messaging being presented.

Bonn is hosting the UN’s mid-year climate conference where delegates come together to engage in technical negotiations and decide on certain parts of the agenda for the Conference of the Parties (COP) held at the end of the year.

The Subsidiary Body (SB) sessions are less of a festival compared with the COPs, which often attract around 40,000 delegates including diplomats, corporate lobbyists, NGOs, and press, plus massive protests and demonstrations when the security situation allows.

SB’s are usually held in Bonn in Germany where there is a permanent UN presence with a UN campus and attract numbers closer to the hundreds or low thousands.

The experience at SB58 has been a much more pleasant experience compared to COP27 which was held in Egypt’s Sharm El-Sheikh in November 2022. COP27 saw a wide variety of logistical challenges like poor access to food, water and shelter, as well as dodgy internet connection and a hostile security environment.

The agendas at UNFCCC meetings are always politically contentious because they signal the type of priorities the presidency has and which types of firm commitments the world is likely to see at the end of the next COP meeting. That includes meetings of the presidency, formal negotiations, and side events that are organised by third parties like universities, NGOs and other third sector organisations.

Key topics at SB58 have been around ‘loss and damage’ – which refers to the impacts of the climate emergency, as well as climate finance, agriculture and health. The talks are more technical compared to the politics and broader issues discussed at COPs.

With loss and damage having appeared on the cover text for the first time at COP27 in Egypt, it’s likely that focus will remain on solidifying it into the UNFCCC process at COP28 in the UAE.


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