THE 60th session of the Subsidiary Bodies will take place from June 3-13, 2024, at the World Conference Centre Bonn. As the overall political progress on the road to COP29 remains slow, SB will be key for negotiators to recalibrate their positions and identify areas of compromise, with a view to laying the groundwork for an outcome at COP29.

The upcoming climate conference will be judged on how it delivers on three core tasks: 1) agreement on a new post-2025 climate finance goal that lays the groundwork for the free flow of finance to developing countries to meet their Nationally Determined Contributions commitments; 2) build momentum for the next generation of national climate transition and resilience plans; 3) guide countries on how to follow up and deliver on the outcome of the first Global Stock Take (GST).

The extent to which Bonn can narrow down differences will determine the COP29 outcome. The most important task for negotiators will be to push beyond fixed positions on the new collective quantified goals (NCQG) that can unlock progress in negotiations and pave the pathway for a final solution. To this end, the talks must use UNFCCC processes to continue the implementation of outcomes from COP28 and the GST. This is the time to build pressure on the COP29 presidency and the COP troika of the UAE, Azerbaijan and Brazil to take ownership of the UNFCCC process from Bonn to Baku and steer parties towards convergence across topics under the roadmap of keeping 1.5 alive.

As the most important dialogue before the upcoming Conference of Parties, the Bonn dialogue must initiate several key actions for adoption of a financial package at COP29. As finance remains the most hotly contested and contentious issue, the SB meetings should link the adaptation financial package to the NCQG process, encompassing discussions on categories, scope, contributions, quantum, quality, time frame and frequency.

Before COP29, the Bonn dialogue must initiate key actions.

For developing countries, conversations on loss and damage and the global goal on adaptation (GGA) will be very important. This includes agreement on terms of reference for the 2024 review of the Warsaw International Mechanism and increased profile of L&D in NCQG negotiations as sub-goals with greater clarity on coordination, coherence and complementarity between previous dialogues, and the scale of L&D finance needed to feed into NCQG negotiations.

The GGA progress in Bonn will set the stage for a meaningful outcome at COP29. The UAE Framework for Global Climate Resilience (UAE FGCR) does not have adequate financial provisions for adaptation to give hope of meeting targets. This makes it necessary for parties in Bonn to agree to modalities of the UAE-Belem work programme by developing indicators and targets to ensure that an inclusive and participatory approach is used to guide the process.

At COP28, the overall strategy for advancing the GGA identified dimensional and sectoral targets but weak financial provision remains a stumbling block. SB60 needs to emphasise the need for prioritising public finance that is grant-based and concessional to push the agenda forward.

It is important to use UAE-FGCR and the NCQG on climate finance to create synergies for catalysing adaptation action. The oft-resisted inclusion of Means of Implementation as an integral part of finance will once again come in the way of closing the financial gap for adaptation. This year the issues under discussion must build momentum on decisions taken at Dubai with an eye on giving the agenda a meaningful thrust for concretising action in Belem at COP30.

To restore confidence in the multilateral system, negotiators in Bonn must make cross-cutting conversations an int­egral part of the UAE-FGCR and make efforts towards operationalisation during the work programme to ensure comprehensive and effective implementation.

The SB60 should avoid losing time on fighting agenda battles, and focus on matters relating to resilience and adaptation. The foremost consideration should be narrowing the submission scope guided by experts’ outputs to help receive targeted inputs and generating discussion to capture additional views from parties and stakeholders.

As the planet inches closer to crashing the 1.5 guard rail, the mood in the Global South is souring and platitudes are no longer acceptable to the people. With patience running out for promises without a plan, SB has its work cut out for escalating COP29 priorities into leader-level engagement.

Bonn offers an opportunity for building bridges between developed and developing countries around a shared vision and driving political agendas towards landing zones.

The writer is chief executive of the Civil Society Coalition for Climate Change.

Published in Dawn, June 1st, 2024