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The Least Developed Countries Group reflect on the UN Bonn Climate talks

Date: 15 June 2023

 15 June 2023, Bonn, Germany – “Progress here in Bonn has been slow and subtle, it doesn’t seem like everyone is ready to address this climate crisis with the urgency it requires” said Madeleine Diouf Sarr, Chair of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Group, as the UN’s Bonn Climate Conference drew to a close. 

“Here in Bonn, parties couldn’t even agree to an agenda until yesterday, while at home, our people are facing the impacts of climate change every day, and we know that every fraction of a degree of warming will result in more devastation in our countries.”

On the Global Stocktake, LDC Chair Sarr stated “taking stock of our collective progress on the implementation of  the Paris Agreement will be a critical outcome for COP28. In Bonn, we successfully completed the technical phase of our work but progress on shaping global stocktake outcomes fell short of expectations. We need outcomes at COP28 that guide us in ratcheting up ambition  – towards achieving the 1.5°C warming limit, while also strengthening resilience, responding to loss and damage, and vastly scaled-up climate finance.”

Reflecting on the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA), LDC Chair Sarr stated “We came here expecting to advance in our work towards adopting the Framework on GGA at COP28 but negotiations had limited progress until the very last minute – this is concerning, given that GGA stands as one of our group’s main priorities, which is to enhance adaptation action and support for our countries”. Despite the lengthy process, the LDC Group found reason for cautious optimism. “We are pleased that the views shared by parties over the last two weeks has been captured in the final text. But we sincerely hope for more flexibility and stronger commitment to engagement from all parties going forward,” she stated.

While talks progressed under the Mitigation Work Programme, the agenda item was not formally adopted. Ms Diouf Sarr said, “Deep global emissions reductions are urgently needed within this critical decade. We are keen to advance discussions on how to accelerate action to limit warming to 1.5°C, including through countries submitting new, more ambitious emissions reduction plans that reflect their fair share of the global effort.”

On climate finance, she said, “The technical expert dialogue on the New Collective Quantified Goal was useful to better understand party views, but we still worry that some seem to want to disconnect developing country needs – which are in the trillions – from the quantified goal. For us, the quantum of the new goal must reflect the needs of our countries to leap-frog to low-carbon development pathways, adapt to the worsening impacts of climate change, and address the inevitable loss and damage that we are already experiencing.”

“We’re also concerned about the increasing focus on Article 2.1c, which is creeping into various rooms, and the goal being reframed from being about the delivery of climate finance that developed countries have committed to, to a nebulous goal around general global finance flows, which fail to reach or to support the most vulnerable.”

The 2nd Glasgow Dialogue provided an opportunity for delegates to discuss how the new loss and damage fund should operate. Ms Diouf Sarr emphasized, “The loss and damage fund must be equipped to quickly deliver new and additional money – as grants – to our vulnerable communities who are increasingly impacted by extreme weather events and slow onset events as a result of a climate crisis they did not cause.”

Reflecting on the many procedural conclusions without any substance, Ms Diouf Sarr said, “this will only increase our workload in the UAE, and further delay the urgent action that is necessary on all fronts to properly address the worsening climate crisis. It’s clear we need to shift gears before COP28 so that in Dubai we can deliver the fair and ambitious outcomes that the world desperately needs, and we can return home with hope for our people and generations to come.”

Background information  

The Least Developed Countries Group is made up of 46 countries across Africa, the Asia-Pacific and the Caribbean, with a joint population of over one billion people. Incredibly vulnerable to environmental and economic shocks, and disproportionately affected by the climate crisis, our countries negotiate together as a bloc at UN climate talks to advance our shared interest of a fair and ambitious global response to climate change.  

Madeleine Diouf Sarr is the current Chair of the Least Developed Countries Group, and the Head of the Climate Change Division in Senegal’s Ministry of Environment, Sustainable Development and Ecological transition. 

The Bonn Climate Change Conference is a meeting of parties to the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) held in Bonn, Germany from 5 – 15 June 2023. It marked the 58th meeting of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies (SB58), to advance discussions and decisions on the global response to the climate crisis.  

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