UN climate summit opens in Bonn to fast-track Paris goals

Climate change: Courtesy of www.fairobserver.com

On the heels of extreme weather events globally, about 197 Parties under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will converge in Bonn from today for a two-weeks Conference of Parties (COP23), with the aim of launching nations towards the next level of ambition needed to tackle global warming and put the world on a safer and more prosperous development path.

The conference, coming just two years after the landmark adoption of the Paris climate change agreement, will also further fuel momentum among cities, states, regions, territories, business and civil society in support of national climate action plans, the internationally-agreed temperature goal and the wider objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Presided over by Frank Bainimarama, the Prime Minister of Fiji and the first small island developing state to hold this role, the conference comes against a backdrop of extreme weather events that have devastated the lives of millions of people in places like Nigeria, Asia, the Americas and the Caribbean.

“The human suffering caused by intensifying hurricanes, wildfires, droughts, floods and threats to food security caused by climate change means there is no time to waste,” said Mr Bainimarama, who takes over as President of the COP23 conference from Morocco during the opening.

“We must preserve the global consensus for decisive action enshrined in the Paris Agreement and aim for the most ambitious part of that target – to limit the global average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees above that of the pre-industrial age,” he said.

The COP23 in Bonn will respond to that call with new progress and initiatives in the two critical and inter-linked areas of action: Governments working to increase climate action under the terms of the Paris Agreement and the UN Climate Change Convention and showcasing, fostering and launching new and expanding global climate action initiatives by all actors with a view towards better coordination that aligns efforts in more efficient, effective and transformative ways.

UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa said: “COP23 in Bonn will show to the world the two faces of climate change—firstly positive, resolute, inspiring momentum by so many governments and a growing array of cities and states to business, civil society leaders and UN agencies aligning to the Paris Agreement’s aims and goals”.

“Secondly, the reality check. The thermometer of risk is rising; the pulse of the planet is racing; people are hurting; the window of opportunity is closing and we must go further and faster together to lift ambition and action to the next defining level, “she said.

The Paris Agreement is underpinned by national climate action plans known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) whose ambition needs to be collectively advanced over time to get on track to the Agreement’s temperature goal.

The Agreement’s goal is to keep the global temperature rise well below 2 degrees C and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees C.

Faster, immediate action is urgent because recorded pledges and efforts so far still have the world on track towards a 3C degree rise, maybe higher. Currently temperatures have already risen by around one degree Celsius over pre-industrial times.

Governments will also work on what can be called the Paris Agreement’s operating system – the detailed ways and means to assist all governments, supported by non-Party Stakeholders, better meet the goals of the Paris Agreement now and over the years and decades to come. The deadline for this is also scheduled for Poland in 2018.

The guidelines underpinning the operating system will need to ensure that the Agreement fosters transparency on action and support and that resilience-building and adaptation are boosted.

They also need to detail how governments will take stock of the evolving global situation and how mechanisms to facilitate implementation and promote compliance will operate.COP23 negotiators will also be keen to move forward on other unfinished business under the Convention.

These include checking on the progress of the delivery of $100 billion of support for developing countries by 2020 and the bringing into force of the Doha Amendment of the first international emission reduction treaty, the Kyoto Protocol.



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