UN Climate Change Conference: Important progress made

Nov 21, 2017

Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks has reported that the Climate Change Conference has made good progress on implementing the Paris Agreement. The conference was also the first demonstrably environmentally friendly UN Climate Change Conference. At the end of the conference Barbara Hendricks was presented with an EU certificate that reflects this.

On Saturday, Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks declared herself satisfied with the outcomes of the Climate Change Conference. "We have made good progress in Bonn, both at the negotiating table and in terms of action. In these areas the conference has fully lived up to expectations." The minister believes that the results of the conference represent an important step on the way to the next conference, which is to be held in the Polish city of Kattowitz in one year’s time. The implementation regulations for the Paris Agreement are to be adopted then.

"The world stands together"

Barbara Hendricks pointed out that the Bonn conference was the first of its sort since the announcement of the Trump administration that the USA would be withdrawing from the Paris Agreement. "Bonn has sent a strong signal that the world stands together and that it will not be halted in its climate action."

The two-week conference ended on Friday night. The 197 parties to the agreement achieved important progress in implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change. In the course of the coming year, the Talanoa Dialogue is to encourage the international community to take ambitious action to fill the gaps in global climate change mitigation.

At the final conference of the German delegation on Friday, the Federal Environment Minister took stock of the dimension of the conference. Germany played a dual role as negotiator and technical host. She thanked all participants for their support, as well as thanking the people of Bonn who had been excellent hosts.

United Nations Climate Change Conference: within budget and on schedule

Although Germany’s reputation as a nation of builders has suffered somewhat recently, Germany remained within budget and on schedule for the conference – in spite of having only 11 months to plan and implement the event. Of the 117 million euros provided by the Federal Environment Ministry and the Federal Foreign Office, about 50 million euros was spent on provisional buildings.

Conference certified environmentally friendly

"Not only was the conference within budget and on schedule, it was the first demonstrably environmentally friendly Climate Change Conference," reported Barbara Hendricks. She was presented with an EMAS certificate proving her point. EMAS is the Eco-Management und Audit Scheme. The conference was thus certified as meeting the EU’s strict EMAS standards for environmentally friendly organisation. By way of example the minister explained that great use had been made of local public transport and hire bikes. And more than 20,000 recyclable water bottles were distributed, helping to prevent a mountain of plastic waste that about half a million disposable plastic bottles would otherwise have caused.

Very well received

The two-week conference attracted about 22,000 participants, and more than 4,500 helpers. 11,000 delegates, 1,200 journalists and 9,500 observers – twice as many observers as are usually found at Climate Change Conferences. Barbara Hendricks stressed that the concept of "one conference – two zones" had proved very successful. The Bonn Zone became a genuine climate fair. In the German pavilion alone, 100 events were held and 25,000 cups of environmentally friendly coffee from Costa Rica were served.

Good negotiations

The minister stressed that there had been much praise from delegates for the excellent negotiating conditions in the Bula Zone. But the negotiating skill of the presidency was even more important for the success. "In Fiji we had the most committed and the most credible presidency we could have wished for," said Barbara Hendricks. The USA retained a constructive neutrality for the most part, and the blockade that had been feared did not materialise. The minister was taking stock as negotiations continued, with some critical points in the field of climate finance still outstanding. At the conference in Bonn attention did not focus on a new agreement but on an important step on the way to implementing the Paris Agreement. That is particularly true of regulations and the Adaptation Fund.

Fiji and Poland working together for the Talanoa Dialogue

The minister pointed to the Talanoa Dialogue. The presidency presented a good proposal on Thursday evening. "We realise that our current climate targets are still not enough in total to keep global warming down to 2 degrees Celsius. That was clear from the outset, which was why it was decided back in Paris to adopt more ambitious goals as we go along. This process is the Talanoa Dialogue, which will revolve around three key questions: Where do we stand? Where are we heading? and How will we get there?" explained Barbara Hendricks.

The Dialogue is now to be established, under the aegis of Fiji and Poland. It is to run all year with a smaller number of negotiators until the next conference in Kattowitz. There is to be input from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which will lay out what is needed to keep global warming down to 1.5°C. In Poland, the process is to be completed at political level. The aim is for Fiji and Poland to draw up a joint report that is to galvanise the international community into setting itself ambitious goals to close global climate change mitigation gaps.

© 2017 The Press and Information Office of the Federal Government

UN Climate Change Conference: Important progress made

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