Over the course of a two week UN climate change conference in Bonn, Germany, member nations of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) discussed wide ranging plans for initializing the work necessary to achieve the targets of the Paris Agreement, set out at COP21 in December, 2015 and later ratified at the UN in New York. The UNFCCC has near universal membership, a total of 197 nations, and advances global activity in reducing greenhouse gas concentrations.

With a total of 177 signatories agreeing to the agreement and a group of 17 nations already taking the final step to formally join the agreement, detaining their instruments of ratification, the Bonn conference marked a pivotal point on the road towards implementing the Paris Agreements. As the UN awaits formal ratification from the remaining 38 nations necessary for full enforcement of the agreement, the Bonn conference provided a much needed show of support. Among the important signs of encouraging development were signs of the first contributions of funding towards the targeted 2020 goal of USD 100 billion per year. Among the plans under preparation were those presented by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

The GCF announced a goal of USD 2.5 billion for 2016 in support of adaptation and mitigation programs and projects, urging countries to put plans into action and submit applications as early as possible. Announcing its own plans to support mitigation and adaptation projects, the GEF stated it would contribute USD 450 million towards new project on mitigation in addition to the USD 106 million it had already implemented. Furthermore, they will allot another USD 250 million towards adaptation projects. The conference hosted a number of discussions on support mechanisms and the work necessary to implement the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), ensuring that they are included in national economic plans and the governments’’ efforts consider the potential for cooperation with other bodies active in this work.

Meanwhile, the UNFCCC’s technical bodies are engaged in developing the tools and mechanisms necessary to implement the Paris Agreement, establishing a foundation to kick start long-term, strengthened climate action. Such foundations include Technical Expert Meetings which seek to identify successful practices and innovations through individual stakeholders’ success stories and disseminate this information to the wider network. The Bonn conference also launched a new effort aimed to support such shared development among developing nations as well, noting the difference between conditions among them and more developed nations.

These first signs of progress in implementing funding mechanisms, ensuring the engagement of nations, and developing tools and mechanisms to support new activities both nationally and internationally pave the way for concrete action among national governments to engage their local economies and policy makers.

Read more about the UNFCCC Bonn conference.

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