This article is a reflected analysis of the results of the UNFCCC international SB58.
Intersessional negotiation of SB58 has been took place in the german city of Bonn from June 5th to 16th.
As Osservatorio Parigi, in this analysis we will report and comment the main outcomes of the negotiations and then provide a final comment on that.
The SB58 has been the first appointment to relevantly discuss UNFCCC agenda items after COP27 to better prepare the path toward COP28.
The negotiations has been a very dense one and has been resulted into a very complicated and deluding ones.
The SBs (Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA)) featured over 20 items on their respective agendas and more than 20 mandated events had to be crammed into the schedule, including on big ticket issues such as loss and damage, the new collective quantified goal on climate finance, and the first Global Stocktake under the Paris Agreement 
Even with such a great number of items, the final agenda has been agreed only one day before the closure of the negotiations, with the main streamlines continuing to be discussed in informal consultations.
The sessions has been opened by the Executive Secretary Simon Stiell stating that discussions on mitigation are key to unlock innovation, which must be used to revise and strengthen NDCs and long-term strategies.
He also stressed that a strong agreement on just transition can enable action, build trust, and drive transformative development
However, the final results fall in having, mitigation, just transition and finance to be elements of high contrast among parties and trust building as a desire far from the reality.
2. Main results
In this paragraph we will report in synthesis the main results from SB58 divided per workstreams
A full analysis is available HERE.
Mitigation work program
The element of the mitigation work program (MWP) , after the waterages of the last two COPs, was requested to be in the provisional agenda by the European Union and the Environmental Integrity Group. This element that should be one of the core under the Paris Agreement but has beens surely one of the most controversial and conflictual one, putting the block of the developed countries and the LIKE MINDED DEVELOPING COUNTRIES on the two sides of the bench.
The element was not in the agenda at beginning for an “error” , but actually this element was finally not inserted in the approved agenda, leaving still the process in the mist of “phase down” , “phase out debate. The element will be surely reproposed by EU for the COP28 Agenda.
Loss and damage
The two main arguments on discussion has been the Santiago Network on loss and damage (SNLD)
Loss and Damage Fund (LDF). Great debate has been on the definition of Economic and non Economic Loss and Damage and how the fund should be created, especially considering the role of multilateral banks fostered mostly by developing countries. Strong debates has been on the role the current humanitarian system need to play on this and if or not this new stream needs to be included or splitted into the already existing frameworks, and also on which differences there are between Extreme weather events (EWE) vs. slow onset events (SOE) to be considered into the loss and damage mechanisms. Discussion on the phases of identification and financing (Preparedness, Response, Recovery, Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, (Resettlement)). Another element under decision was the definition of the hosting entities for the secretariat of (SNLD). Two candidates has been a joint action between UNDDR+UNOPS and the Caribbean Development Bank but no consensus was achieved, mainly due to problems related to location, independency and cost associated. All has been deferred to SB59.
Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA)
In COP26 the Glasgow Sharm el Sheik work program on Global Goals on Adaptation was launched by the decision 7/CMA.3 to foster activation and momentum on Adaptation implementation to enhance capacity, increase resilience and reduce vulnerability toward Climate Change. The program has consisted in a series of workshops.
The SB58 comes after the 6th meeting Global Goals on Adaptation was still in the agenda and 2 next meeting will be provided under the program towards COP28. Next one will be in Argentina: From Bonn negotiations no relevant results has been achieved, leaving SB58 to be a simple venue for exchange of vision rather that a decision making setting point.
The draft conclusion produced was not agreed by the parties and send to COP28 for further decisions.
Being clear : the 1.3 billion of dollars per year to cover climate finance has been not yet achieved and this element is another strong element of contracts between developed and like minded developing countries (Annex I vs Non Annex I countries). This element for certain extents is the counterpart argument in the conflict for the Non Annex I countries , and too much time it is used as MWP contrasting element. FInance and MWP are indeed interrelated and mutually controversial. Two arrows on the bows of two contrasting blocks or two keys to open the doors of the achievement of Paris Agreement in a multilateral way.
Global Stocktake (GST)
The Global Stocktake, happening in Bonn in 2023 for the first time ever. The Paris Agreement’s Global Stocktake process is designed to assess the global response to the climate crisis every five years. It evaluates the world’s progress on slashing greenhouse gas emissions, building resilience to climate impacts, and securing finance and support to address the climate crisis.
In GST all NDCs are presented and harmonized. The Global Stocktake tool presents several indicators to track progress in implementing the Paris Climate Agreement.
GST 1.3 Technical Dialogue at SB58, has been resulted into 4 roundtables and 2 plenaries and will continue at COP28.
Round table has been performed into the very well accepted facilitation methodology of world cafè (Fig. 1)
The technical dialogue brought big wins like
• request the co-facilitators of the technical dialogue to prepare the summary report on the third meeting of the technical dialogue by 15 August 2023 and the factual synthesis report by 8 September 2023;
• take note of the views exchanged on the indicative draft structure of a decision on the GST to be adopted by CMA 5 and noted the indicative draft structure of the CMA 5 decision contained in an informal note by the Co-Chairs of the contact group;
• invite parties and non-party stakeholders to submit views on the elements for the consideration of outputs component by 15 September 2023; and
• request the Secretariat to prepare a synthesis report on these submissions and to make it available on the UNFCCC website three weeks before the October workshop
The synthesis report has mandated the current draft structure in five sections
• context and cross-cutting considerations;
• collective progress towards achieving the purpose and long- term goals of the Paris Agreement, including under Article 2, paragraph 1 (a-c), in the light of equity and the best available science, and informing parties in updating and enhancing, in a nationally determined manner, action, and support; enhancing international cooperation for climate action; and guidance and way forward.
At least here the best available science has been recognized.
However bracketed and open elements has been still the matter related on finance and financial flows.
Sharm el Sheik Joint work on implementation of climate action in agriculture and food security
Since COP27 the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture has been substituted by the 4 year program, Sharm el-Sheikh Joint Work on Implementation of Climate Action on Agriculture and Food Security (SSJW/SJWA). During SB58 the main discussion has been about the future steps of the workplan and about the next workshop topics. A new knowledge sharing portal was presented and G77 proposal for a coordination group has been proposed.
Several concerns and debates has been raised especially on introduction on the topics “Biotech”, “AI” , “precision agriculture” and climate smart agriculture.
However in all these discussions no consensus was reached and just a procedural document of 4 point will be presented for COP28.
Just transition mechanism
COP27 establishment of a work program on just transition.
The “Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan” asserts that Just Transition is founded on Social Dialogue.
In SB58 it has been the first meeting of the Just Transition Pathways Work Programme
The goals of this first streamline has been to identify the programme’s scope, objectives, modalities, etc.
Even if was just at the start, also this brand new negotiation stream was conflictual on the topics on the topics just transition should be applied to workforce only or whether it should be more wide, on focusing on just transition economy-wide or just energy and especially if net-zero should be included in the scope, as well as the phase-out of unabated fossil fuels (or just fossil fuels).
The draft conclusions and an informal note resulted in a collection of expressing all viewpoints
Article 6 of the Paris Agreement recognizes that some parties choose to pursue voluntary cooperation in the implementation of their NDCs. Article 6.2 relates to direct cooperation between parties. Among others. Developing countries underscored the need for rapid capacity building to empower them to contribute to the technical discussions on the development of the agreed electronic format (AEF) for reporting annual information. Parties agreed a manual should be developed to assist with the preparation of the AEF, with some groups calling for featuring illustrative examples, such as on assumptions and information on leakage, and others emphasizing the non-binding nature of the manual and preferring to not include country-specific examples[1,2].
A deeper analysis from Osservatorio Parigi will come in a next article
Not recognition of IPCC AR6
The SB 58 draft decisions doesn’t that AR6 represents a more comprehensive and robust assessment of climate change than AR5, without welcoming or acknowledging it.
This has of course two importance : one geopolitical, this has been another element of contrast between developed countries and developing countries . The plenary session was echoing “Science is not negotiable” from the concern of EU and the Integrity Group (IG).
The second is more technical and scientifical: of course IPCC AR6 contains all the science base for science based decision making, and especially the reference tables to count emission for Art.6 , GST, NDC and so on and so forth (check figure)
Without this the phase out/phase down debate became more evadable.An element of great
reflection for the full process.
The SB58 has been one of the most conflictual observed.
The first indicator on this has been the late adoption of the agenda.
But this just scratched the surface.
For whom assisted the plenary, rather than a conclusion of a consensus process was seeming more a political arena or a judgment court.
The tension among party was standing clear and, never so far since before the Paris Agreement the contrast between two geopolitical was clear: Annex I vs non Annex , Developed countries against LIKE MINDED DEVELOPING. One blaming each other to do not respect the mandate of the process.
The lace of finance, against the knife of Mitigation watering, just transition axe responded with “Science is not negotiable” shield.
Sad to say, and should never happen : the geopolitical tension around the current world is reflecting on the unique attempt to have a multilateral process.
The Third World War in pieces , as Pope Francis is defining, unfortunately affected also the negotiation.
If fact in this uncertainty done by post pandemic period, war , and of course climate impact the raising geopolitical powers seems to challenge the old regimes with the balance between discussions on ambition
and means of implementation and underscored the “record of broken promises and failed commitments” “Nobody can tell how to mitigate, nobody can use science to control us” … .seems the underneath message.
As well, “we have the money, but we will not give you since you’re not obedient to our standards” like on the other hand.
Maybe this can be seen a bit strong interpretation, but even with the legit requests from every country, a situation like this would never happen so hard if we were near the years of 2015.
“The credibility of the process is at risk” were the strong war of Simon Stiell at his closing intervention at the last plenary. An Executive Secretary visibly concern and disappointed , that enter like a referee in an unquiet football match.
That is indeed and the feeling that Paris agreement vision and spirit was far, has been dangerously tangible in these SB58. Unexpectably, like when the hard problem erupts after a time of attempts to ignore them.
All erupted in this hot and inflamed geopolitical scenario.
Like a fever during an inner infection.
COP28 needs to be the firemen, and with unprecedented burden of work due to the increasing number of negotiation streams, and the delays acquired from SB58, have a very kafkian mission to restore the accountability of the process in Dubai.
Little note on that: due to harassment episodes in Bonn, the Secretariat decided a more strict control on the badges provision, where observers need to declare their profession and relation with the organization that is giving the badge. This measure occurs as an antidote to the strong probability of fossil fuel lobbies to interfere into the next negotiations in COP28.
In conclusion beside the several inconclusive negotiations SB58 has been a fire-alarm.
We have not to underestimate what happened in returning back to our routing.
UNFCCC Paris Agreement process showed the fatigue limit, and as many who deal with engineering can understand, in this case is important to accompany the relaxation and fit in the proper initial state.
We have indeed to rediscover the Spirit of the Paris Agreement, that unique moment where Annex I and non Annex I , despite the mutual differences, dreamed together to face a common but differentiated challenge.
Of course PEACE is a precondition of that, no doubt on that
And the appetites for new geopolitical orders need to be left out from climate negotiations. The framework convention need to be the multilateral process as Obama was dreaming.
Moreover SB58 showed the lack of financial capacity of the secretariat: these intermediate negotiations have shown that it is now more necessary than ever to invest politically in the multilateral process under the aegis of the United Nations, the only place, the only context in which dialogue is still possible.
Peace, multilateralism and climate action are now the global commitment that states need to face.
2. A Brief Analysis of the Bonn Climate Change Conference