Optimism after Bonn climate talks

24 June 2014

by Dean Tony La Viña and Purple Romero

The UN climate change talks held from June 4-15 in Bonn, Germany, was an instrumental opportunity in laying the building blocks of the legally-binding 2015 climate change agreement. There was a sense of positivity as countries moved to advance the negotiations towards drafting a text for Paris, where the deal is expected to be finalized. More than anything, however, the intersessionals in Bonn were a reminder of how integral the values of transparency and participatory decision-making are in coming up with a credible climate change agreement in 2015.

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REDD+ is one of the opportunities for decreasing greenhouse gases in the forestry sector. After negotiators agreed on seven decisions in Warsaw that covered results-based payments and identified drivers of deforestation, among others, a contact group was tasked to come up with guidance on non-carbon benefits and non-market approaches. Bolivia pushed for joint mitigation and adaptation as a non-market based approach in REDD+, which was supported by Ecuador and the Philippines but was heavily opposed by Brazil. Philippine negotiator Victoria Tauli-Corpuz said it will be “premature” for the parties to say that they cannot make a decision on non-market based approaches and that this will be tantamount to “closing the door.” The Philippines added that they could conduct a workshop for “deeper analysis.”

The United States, Brazil, Ecuador and Mexico said there is enough guidance for the implementation of REDD-plus and there is no need for further decisions or conclusions. Brazil said that REDD-plus is not a “silver bullet to address all issues related to forest” and that it is “not interested in engaging in everlasting negotiations on REDD-plus.”

There was also disagreement on providing international guidance for non-carbon benefits, or social, environmental and governance gains from implementing REDD+ projects. Some countries such as Indonesia, Mexico, Colombia and the United States said NCBs should be defined at a national level.

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