What to Expect from the Intermediate Climate Negotiations? 

 What to Expect from the Intermediate Climate Negotiations? 

From June 3 to 13, the intermediate climate negotiations will be held, organized under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in preparation for COP29 scheduled for November in Baku, Azerbaijan. 

From Italian Climate Network*

As every year, the intermediate negotiations will serve to prepare the ground for the next UN Climate Conference (COP29) to be held in Baku, Azerbaijan. The aim is to pick up the threads from where they were left off in Dubai a few months ago, at the end of COP28. 

2024 is considered by many to be the year of climate finance, given that in Paris in 2015, delegates from countries around the world decided that by the end of 2024 a new global quantitative target would be launched for the post-2020 period (later postponed to post-2025 due to the pandemic). 

The previous global quantitative target, established at the COP in Copenhagen in 2009, set the goal of mobilizing $100 billion per year in climate finance for developing countries until the subsequent agreement, which is now under discussion. The history of those $100 billion has been extremely troubled, becoming symbolic of the slowness and inertia of international negotiations when it comes strictly to money and not just policies. 

The $100 billion per year target would have been easily achievable in recent years given the large global mobilization, both public and private, on the topic, but unfortunately never reached: in 2021, according to the latest official data from the OECD, only $89.6 billion were mobilized. This is not about the overall financial volumes that, globally, are invested and lent for investments in mitigation policies, adaptation, and corporate social responsibility, which are certainly much higher: these figures only refer to official climate finance, mobilized by governments in response to international commitments made at the UN level.

(Source: OECD) 

The failure to achieve the global $100 billion per year target by 2020 has shifted the axis of international negotiations over the past three years, leading to increasing polarization between the Global North and South, exacerbated by the pandemic, social and economic crises, and armed conflicts that have erupted since 2020, some with significant consequences for energy markets and, consequently, climate policies. It seems that it was precisely the absence of new Western reassurances after yet another failure to reach the $100 billion per year target that led to the open political opposition between Western countries and the G77 in 2021, culminating in the surprise adoption of the final decision at COP27 establishing the new Loss and Damage Fund, then reiterated and made structural at COP28. 

Work on the new quantitative target began in 2022 and should conclude by the end of 2024. The intermediate negotiations should, therefore, at least in theory, bring new negotiation elements, if not even some initial draft elements for future decisions. We speak conditionally because the widespread impression is that there is still almost no consensus regarding the definition, even numerically, of the new target. In a recent OECD paper by Chiara Falduto, Jolien Noels, and Raphael Jachnik, it is hypothesized, based on existing estimates and projections, that the need for climate finance by developing countries could range between $550 billion and $2.5 trillion per year by 2030 – thus, in fact, within the next 5-6 years. A very wide range. 

Most environmental organizations interested in COP and UNFCCC have not expressed preferences or specific targets in view of the difficult identification of the new symbolic figure, probably to avoid influencing the development of a still very confused debate. In Bonn, we will see almost daily discussion sessions on the new target, including the tenth Technical Expert Dialogue (TED) opening the negotiations on the afternoon of Monday, June 3. Unfortunately, previous TED Dialogues have not led to political conclusions, and for this reason, since the ninth Dialogue in 2023, it was decided to accompany more political negotiation sessions with those already scheduled in the agenda in an attempt to “push” the process. This year’s intermediate negotiations in Bonn will also be the first after the 2023 Global Stocktake, the first global inventory of climate efforts under the Paris Agreement. According to the draft agenda of the work released by the UNFCCC Secretariat in preparation for Bonn, there will be reflection sessions on how to continue building the next negotiations on that solid base, on how to make the best use of the data collected, and on how to better connect the inventory process to the support for countries in view of the presentation of new NDCs, the national plans under the Paris Agreement – also in light of the push forward imparted by the G7, which has indicated that more developed countries should present their plans ahead of the spring 2025 deadline. 

There will also be negotiation sessions on the Secretariat’s budget, which are held every year during the intermediate negotiations. Countries will discuss the results achieved in the 2022-2023 biennium and prepare the budget for the next biennium. It is important to note here that already with these intermediate negotiations, there has been a significant budget reduction, leading to the cancellation of numerous side events organized by civil society and academia, as well as the elimination of the official UNFCCC platform through which it was possible to follow the negotiations remotely since 2021. Therefore, it returns to a less open and less transparent negotiation climate, more similar to the pre-pandemic era than to what has been seen in recent years. 

Lastly, there will certainly be discussions about Loss and Damage, a topic dear to the Italian Climate Network. Although the entire discussion on the functioning of the new Fund launched at COP27 and established at COP28 now takes place within the Fund’s Board of Directors under the World Bank, the discussion is intrinsically linked to the one on the new global finance target and, significantly, many of the national delegates who sit on that Board of Directors will be in Bonn to negotiate at other tables on behalf of their countries. For this reason, in the spirit of last year’s #underoureyes campaign and seeking greater climate justice in managing the new instrument. 

*Italian Climate Network is a partner of Youth Press Agency.

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