Climate Change
Climate Diplomacy
Global Issues
Dennis Tänzler, adelphi
Bonn intersessionals May 2018
Photo credit: Patricia Espinosa C./

Climate diplomats need to prepare for a hot summer. Leaving Bonn mid-May after two weeks of complex negotiations, the current status of the negotiation text shows how much work remains to be done. Therefore, negotiators have scheduled another week of discussions for early September in Thailand’s capital to close some of the gaps and to ensure that a huge step towards implementation of the Paris Agreement can be taken at COP24 in Katowice.

At least three issues are of major relevance for the current stalemate.

No text – no rules: It became clear early in the negotiations in Bonn that there would be no negotiating text by the end of the two weeks. However, without such a basis, agreement on a substantial rule book for Paris Agreement implementation at COP24 is simply not feasible. One spotlight is on the Ad-hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA) to deliver proposals on contested items such as climate pledges and transparency of activities. The discussions on pledges are focussing e.g. on what elements should be included in the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and what kind of guidance should be established. The transparency item refers to the nature of reporting on action, including support in form of climate finance.

Finance – a lack of predictability: Money is always a crucial element of trust building and there are still quite a number of open questions at the moment. During the negotiations in Bonn in May one could see that it is currently not so much a question of whether there will be sufficient resources available, but how the available resources are reported to ensure some predictability for developing countries. Article 9.5 asks developed countries to review and report on their financial commitments every two years, whereas all other countries should do so on a voluntary basis. Apparently, a number of states are not able or willing to ensure clarity in this regard at the moment, though more transparency could serve as a major builder of trust.

Responsibilities – same, same but different: One of the key reasons for the success in Paris was overcoming the dispute about differentiation of commitments between developed and developing countries. In Bonn, disputes between China, India and others on the one hand and the EU, US and Japan on the other, became obvious – mainly on the question of whether there is to be one set of rules (favoured by developed countries) or two sets, as was proposed for example by India to consider historic responsibilities.

Options to take the lead

In the light of these, partly substantial, differences, renewed leadership is required to create new momentum for the kind of compromises reached in Paris. And there are sufficient opportunities to do so. First, issue-specific round tables will be organised before Bangkok to pave the way toward a concrete negotiating text that is perceived to be party driven. In addition to these more informal formats, there are several high-level opportunities for climate diplomats to enter further discussion and to explain what kind of leadership role they are ready to play:

  • 8 to 9 June: The G7 summit under the Canadian presidency.
  • 13 June: The 'EU for Talanoa' conference organised by the European Commission as part of the EU's contribution to the Talanoa Dialogue, including a high-level segment.
  • 17 to 19 June: The Petersberger Climate Dialogue IX offers the chance for countries to informally exchange views.
  • 20 to 21 June: Ministerial Meeting on Climate Action (MoCA) convened by the EU, China and Canada to advance discussions on the full implementation of the Paris Agreement and to demonstrate continued political commitment to global action.
  • 22 June: EU High Representative / Vice President Federica Mogherini will convene and host a high-level event 'Climate, Peace, and Security: The Time for Action' in Brussels.

There is no doubt that Poland’s COP presidency will be among the first to welcome major progress in the weeks to come, not waiting until December in Katowice for high-level engagement.

Moeen Khan, Pakistan Today

Pakistan’s unprecedented climate shocks make it clear: regional cooperation for managing shared waters is desperately needed. To halt the increasing impacts on agriculture and livelihoods that cripple the country’s economy, diplomacy is of paramount importance. In our interview, Moeen Khan explains how territorial and ethnic tensions with India hinder much-needed transboundary solutions – and how the international community can help.

Biodiversity & Livelihoods
Climate Change
Conflict Transformation
Land & Food
Global Issues
Compiled by Raquel Munayer and Stella Schaller, adelphi

What exactly triggers food riots? At which point does climate change come in? And what can we learn from analyzing the lack and impotence of government action in conflict areas? In our Editor’s Pick, we share 10 case studies from the interactive ECC Factbook that address the connections between food, the environment and conflict. They show how agriculture and rural livelihoods can affect stability in a country, which parties are involved in food conflicts and what possible solutions are on the table.

Biodiversity & Livelihoods
South America
Adriana Erthal Abdenur, Instituto Igarapé

Environmental defenders in Brazil are at risk — last year, 57 were assassinated and the numbers are increasing. The UN has launched a new initiative to address the escalating violence. This article shows the challenges faced by an activist from the Amazon region who fights for justice, and it notes how the Brazilian government can save lives while preventing unregulated exploitation in the region.

Climate Change
Climate Diplomacy
North America
Paul Joffe
Changes are occurring that could make climate action a driver of the domestic agenda for economic and social progress and for international cooperation. With the help of market forces and technological advances, the tide is moving toward climate action. Paul Joffe argues that a key to success is a strategy that draws public support and makes climate policy a force in a larger industrial renaissance.