Summary of outcomes from the Bonn Conference 2012

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Date produced: 25/05/2012

What were the outcomes from the Bonn Conference 2012?

The Bonn Climate Change Conference took place from 14 to 25 May. The meeting comprised:

• the 36th session of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI),

• the 36th session of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA),

• the 15th session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA),

• the 17th session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP), and

• the first session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP).


The SBSTA has been established to provide advice to the Conference of the Parties (COP) on scientific and technological matters. During the meeting in Bonn it, for example, addressed methodological guidance for REDD-plus. This included forest monitoring systems, technical assessments of forest reference levels and the sharing of information on national social safeguard. SBSTA agreed to continue its work and prepare recommendations for a draft decision for consideration by COP 18 in Doha (Qatar).

SBSTA also agreed to implement a work programme on the impact of the implementation of response measures, and undertook further work with regard to the biennial reporting guidelines for developed countries. It requested the Secretariat to prepare a technical paper on the transboundary effects of certain carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects, and confirmed the importance of collaboration with other intergovernmental organisations such as the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) or the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).


The SBI makes recommendations to the COP on policy and effective implementation of the UNFCCC. In Bonn it adopted text on loss and damage. The text recognises the impact of slow onset events, such as sea level rise and ocean acidification, and acknowledged the importance of local communities.

Governments also confirmed the ranking of three shortlisted hosts for the Climate Technology Center (CTC), with a UNEP-led consortium leading. The Climate Technology Centre, along with its associated Network, is the implementing arm of the UNFCCC’s Technology Mechanism established by the Cancun Agreements in 2010.

The UN Climate Change Secretariat also presented the prototype of a registry that matches information on developing country actions to curb emissions with industrialized country support. The Secretariat will now finalize a working prototype ready for Doha at the end of the year.


The AWG-LCA was established in Bali in 2007 to conduct negotiations on a new international deal on climate change. Its work is expected to terminate in Doha in December this year.

The AWG-LCA discussed the Green Climate Fund which is expected to be a major global channel for long-term financial support to developing countries in building sustainable and climate-resilient futures. During the Bonn meeting, most nominations to the Board of the Green Climate Fund were received. A first board meeting may take place in June/July and the Fund may become operational in 2013.

The parties also confirmed their support for a work programme on long-term finance that aims to deliver a clear report to governments meeting in Doha on the sources of finance that need to generated up to $100 billion per year by 2020.

A draft decision text for Doha on ways to implement National Adaptation Plans for least developed countries, including linking funding and other support was agreed. Governments also submitted nominations for the members of the Adaptation Committee. This paves the way for the first meeting of the committee which is tasked to coordinate international adaptation efforts.


The AWG-KP was established in 2005 by Parties to the Kyoto Protocol to consider further commitments of industrialized countries under the Kyoto Protocol for the period beyond 2012.

Thus, the discussions in Bonn focused on the Protocol’s technical and legal details and options to enable a smooth transition between the two commitment periods. Decisions scheduled to be taken in Doha include whether the second commitment period will be for 5 or 8 years and on the precise emission reduction commitments of industrialised countries that have obligations under the Protocol.

In Bonn, parties discussed the parties’ Quantified Emission Limitation and Reduction Objectives (QELROs) and options to carry-over surplus Assigned Amount Units (AAUs) from the first to the second Kyoto commitment period. They also exchanged views on market mechanisms, national policies implemented to support QELROs and preferences for the length of the second commitment period. While informal consultations enhanced clarity on parties’ positions it was generally acknowledged that “a large amount” of work remains.

An additional intersessional meeting to continue the deliberations of the ad hoc working groups was scheduled to take place in Bangkok (Thailand) from 30 August to 5 September 2012. However, insufficient funds for an such a meeting had been pledged. Parties agreed on a deadline for further pledges of Tuesday, 29 May.


The ADP was established in Durban to adopt a legal instrument or other outcome with legal force by 2015 which will come into effect and be implemented from 2020.

In Bonn, the ADP met for the first time. After two weeks of intense negotiations the ADP agreed on two decisions it was supposed to have made at the beginning: adopting an agenda and electing its co-chairs.

The delay in adopting an agenda reflects the lack of agreement on the focus of the ADP’s work and the role of other subsidiary bodies. While many parties see mitigation as the core of the ADP, some developing countries insisted that all elements of the Bali Action Plan (finance, adaptation, capacity building and technology transfer) are central to the ADP’s mandate. Parties ultimately agreed on an agenda that addresses two work streams – one on the post-2020 regime and the other on the post-2012 work plan on enhancing the level of ambition.

The ADP will be chaired by two co-chairs – one from a non-Annex I country and one from an Annex I country. In 2012-2013, this will be Jayant M Mauskar (India) and Harald Dovland (Norway). Oleg Shamanov (Russian Federation) will be the rapporteur. In 2013, Kishan Kumarsingh (Trinidad and Tobago) will co-chair the ADP with a co-chair from an Annex I country, and the rapporteur will come from a non-Annex I party. In 2015, the non-Annex I party co-chair will be from the African Group and the rapporteur from a non-Annex I country. This interim arrangement will be applied pending its endorsement by COP 18 in Qatar.