March 22, 2018 | Events

The 23rd Conference of Parties (COP) was held in Bonn, Germany. The annual conference provides a platform for negotiations pertaining to climate change. The 2017 conference was important as it was the second to be held after America announced its intention of leave from the Paris accord. As is the norm, COP 23 was quite heated with a Pan African alliance requesting the exclusion of America from the climate change conference. The irony of America’s exit was further highlighted by Syria’s interest in the Paris accord at the conference. America’s exit was contentious as opponents of the country’s exit held simultaneous climate change asserting that the exit decision was not unanimous. Despite these politically inspired hiccups, the 23rd UN climate change conference was successful in advancing the agenda on climate change. 

What were the outcomes of COP 23 in Bonn?

The COP 23 conference had a couple of takeaways applicable to stakeholders in the climate change agenda. These include:

  • The ambiguity of the role of America as a member of the conference of parties. Although America had signaled its intention to leave the Paris accord, its delegation was still present at COP 23.  The Trump administration had clearly stated its opposition to climate change talks. Pro-climate change Americans on the other hand argued that they deserved to be part of the COP 23 based on an alignment of their goals with those of the UN conference on climate change. It was thus interesting to see American delegation at the climate change conference pushing on the transparency of the Paris accord. 
  • The launch of the coal-phaseout alliance. In climate change talks, coal has for long been criticized for aggravation of the carbon footprint. As a result, over twenty countries signed their participation in the alliance. Notably, a key opponent of coal such as Germany was not a signatory of this alliance at the COP 23.
  • Climate financing in relation to the pre- 2020 climate action. The Bonn climate change conference focused on the analysis of the extent to which rich countries had met their pre-2020 commitments such as delivering 100 billion dollars a year. Notably commitments past 2020 are covered in the Paris accord. Countries such as China felt that failure to meet their commitments was affecting the creation of mutual trust that is a recipe for the successful implementation of climate changes
  • Fiji made a compelling case for mainstreaming gender into climate change. The country also highlighted the benefits of sharing experiences as COP 23 members. This could act as a good strategy of learning workable mitigation strategies- an underlying objective of the UN climate change conference.

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