SB50 Meetings in Bonn - Week One


By Ayuska Motha, June 21, 2019

The first week of so-called Subsidiary Body (SB) meetings at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bonn are coming to a close and it has been another blur of meetings, workshops and events. Stacey Kimmig and I started out with the Women and Gender Constituency (WGC) Strategy meeting last Sunday to reconnect and learn which issues would be critical in this round of negotiations. 

WGCstrategyMonday and Tuesday brought the Workshop on Gender and Climate Change – the impact of the Lima Work Programme on Gender and its Gender Action Plan. These multi-day workshops seek to receive feedback on how gender considerations have been incorporated into the work of the UNFCCC at many levels. This will function as a basis for review and possibly renewal of Gender Action Plan to continue the work that is just beginning. This current Gender Action Plan is scheduled to come to an end in December.


Many events run parallel to each other so it is difficult to choose which ones to attend. Luckily some are recorded and you can view them from home here. The topics cover a very wide range from the Koronivia Workshop dealing with agriculture and climate change, to side-events on long term emission strategies, fossil fuel subsidy reform, making food compatible with the Paris agreement, and indigenous peoples contribution to climate action.

An interesting session that I have been following is dealing with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report on Global Warming of 1.5C. This report focuses on the impacts of a 1.5C change in global temperature versus 2C. Last December not all countries wanted to recognize the scientific report and this was one of the topics that was postponed to be resolved at this June session. There will be a total of 5 hours over the next 2 weeks for countries to come to an agreement. So far, I have attended 2. The USA has made a statement that further research is necessary, questioning the science behind some of the report. Saudi Arabia also stated that science requires time in the last session and this session were very verbal and persistent in requesting that the notes on the last session be taken down from the website. The UNFCCC agreed to Saudi Arabia’s request at the last minute and have taken them offline. We will report back on what takes place at the remaining sessions.

Yesterday there was a very special side-event called #YouthRising- the power of social media and mass mobilization for climate action. During this event, many youth activists from all over the world were part of an inspiring panel that brought a fresh wave of energy and optimism into the UN space. They held a beautifully organized, entertaining and informative session and followed it up today with a #Fridays for Future protest in Aachen, coordinated by a wide variety of international groups as well as a smaller one outside the conference center here in Bonn too. Youth activists across the globe are getting the attention of the public, and politicians are beginning to take them more seriously.