UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn

Working together for the global climate

At the start of the UN Climate Change Conference, Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks has called for greater efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Following the announcement of the USA that it is to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, it is vital that the rest of the world issue a strong signal of unity, she said.

Opening ceremony at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn

Climate diplomats from 195 countries are meeting in Bonn at the UN Climate Change Conference

Photo: BMUB/Sasha Hilgers

At the start of the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, the German government has announced that it will be providing another 100 million euros to help developing countries adapt to climate change. The Federal Environment Ministry has pledged 50 million euros to the Adaptation Fund, while the Federal Development Ministry is to contribute 50 million euros to the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF), which specifically helps the poorest countries in the world adapt to climate change.

Working together for the climate

"This is a clear signal. Germany will demonstrate solidarity and stand by the people and the countries that are worst hit by climate change," said Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks. "I hope that we can provide a positive initial impetus for a constructive negotiating atmosphere with this pledge. Germany has thus pledged a total of 240 million euros, making it the largest bilateral donor of the Adaptation Fund. We aim to make the Fund an integral part of the financial architecture of the Paris Agreement."

"In international climate diplomacy, we are currently facing a unique situation," said Barbara Hendricks in her opening address. This is the first Conference of the Parties (COP 23) since the USA announced its intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

Robust dynamics for climate change mitigation

"Politically, it is important that in Bonn the rest of the world send a strong signal of unity. Germany’s position is clear: The Paris Agreement is not negotiable," continued Barbara Hendricks. Worldwide political and economic dynamics for climate change mitigation are now so strong that even the Trump administration cannot halt the trend.

The minister stressed, "We will see actors here in Bonn who will prove precisely this: mayors, businessmen and women, scientists, investors from around the world – and even governors from individual states of the USA, who stand shoulder to shoulder with us as we move forward towards greenhouse gas neutrality."

Bonn will set the scene

"While in Paris we adopted a sort of climate constitution, we will now be focusing on the implementation guidelines – the highly complex small print. These guidelines are to be adopted next year at the UN Climate Change Conference in Poland," underscored the minister. "But Bonn should and will set the scene so that this can be done in Poland. Specifically, we will develop a clear structure and proposed wording for these guidelines." Efforts will focus in particular on how the individual states can present their climate action inputs so that they are easy for others to understand and so that they can be compared.

COP 23 will run until 17 November. It is the largest international conference ever staged in Germany. Fiji is the host country. Germany is supporting Fiji in the role of technical host. More than 500 non-governmental organisations and over 1,000 journalists are expected in Bonn. The Federal Foreign Office, the Federal Environment Ministry and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development are providing a total of 124 million euros for the organisation of the conference.

Worldwide signal to address climate change

"It is my expectation that we will genuinely send out a worldwide signal that we intend to join forces and that we will be addressing climate change together – with the opportunities at the disposal of each country," Barbara Hendricks stated in the run-up to the conference in an interview with the German newspaper Bonner Generalanzeiger. "And also that we will not let Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement influence us adversely."

The minister also pointed to the responsibility of the state to put in place an environment which will enable citizens to adopt a more environmentally friendly lifestyle in order to mitigate climate change. She gave the example of a well-organised local public transport system, which means that people can do without private cars.

195 states at the negotiating table

Negotiating groups from 195 states will be working on the implementation of the Paris Agreement in Bonn. Fiji is the first small island state to chair a COP. It is already badly hit by the consequences of climate change.

The two pillars of the conference are reflected in two zones: The Bula Zone ("Bula" means "welcome" in Fijian) around the World Conference Center is a negotiating zone. The Bonn Zone offers space for presentations of existing specific climate change mitigation activities. This area brings together governments, international organisations, local authorities, the private sector and non-governmental organisations, giving them a forum where they can share ideas and experience in the field of climate action.

Climate projects first hand

Large numbers of the German delegation arrived at the weekend, having taken the climate-friendly "Train to Bonn". On Monday the Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji Frank Bainimarama opened the conference, along with the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Patricia Espinosa and Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks.

At a press conference in Berlin before the conference, Barbara Hendricks stressed that more than ever before it is vital to move from the negotiating table to climate action. "It is no longer a case of climate diplomats sparring about the precise wording, it is a question of developing common ideas for a climate-sound lifestyle for tomorrow, of engaging in dialogue on these, and of rolling out the new ideas."

Extensive programme in German pavilion

In the German pavilion, the German government is hosting more than 60 special events to demonstrate the many different facets of Germany’s climate activities. Visitors can also relax there and enjoy a climate-friendly cup of coffee from Costa Rica. There are a total of 250 official side events, which have been organised by the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the pavilions of the individual countries and organisations attending.

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