Guten Nacht from Bonn! On Wednesday, we got to see a lot of negotiations going on in the Bula Zone. As you (may) already know, the COP is split up in to two seperate zones which are in different buildings, the Bula and Bonn zone. The Bonn Zone is more accessible (as in, more people are allowed in) and is where most side events take place, which are the kind of events you would expect from a traditional conference where speakers present about all kinds of topics from gender/climate issues to indigenous rights and climate change to the science behind our climate. This is also where the country ‘pavillions’ are (pictured below).
The other zone, the Bula Zone, is where the actual negotiations between parties take place. This zone is connected to the Bonn World Conference Center, and fewer people are allowed access. Today, we spent our whole day in this zone taking in negotiations. Today was an exciting day because it marked the end of formal negotiating and a launch in to more of a fine-tuning process on the final agreement. There are several working aspects of the agreement that will produce documentation (see more info here: http://unfccc.int/meetings/bonn_nov_2017/in-session/items/10498.php), but the one I have been following the most closely is Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement, or APA.
The APA is split up in to different agenda items. I got to see a working session on agenda item four yesterday, and saw two of the closing plenary sessions today. In both, South Africa played a prominent role in blocking up negotiating. It appears that South Africa has several issues with the current APA informal notes (see above link) specifically in agenda item 8a. This led to them requesting an adjournment on a technicality in the closing session, which led to the session being temporarily suspended not once, but twice. They plan to meet later in the week even as the fine tuning negotiating begins.
In the high-level session tonight, Angela Merkel (Chancellor of Germany) and Emmanuel Macron (President of France) both spoke about the necessity of climate action. Chris got a ticket into the room, while Shiv and I watched on a screen in an overflow conference area. Macron went so far as to say that the rest of the world is moving on without the US and France has no qualms about stepping up to fill the gap. He also said that he is considering a ‘border tax’ against the US to help fund the Green Climate Fund, which is a fund that is pooled by richer nations to give grants to developing countries to help them get renewable energies off the ground (read more here: http://www.greenclimate.fund/who-we-are/about-the-fund).
After a long day at the conference, Shiv, Chris and I had dinner at a nice German restaurant near our hotel before heading back. Check back tomorrow for another update!