Climate conference in Bonn
The 23rd Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the 13th Session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol and the 2nd part of the 1st session of the Conference of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (COP 23) took place from 6 to 17 November 2017 in Bonn, Germany. For the first time, the Conference of the Parties was presided over by an island state – Fiji.
The Polish delegation to the meeting was led by Professor Jan Szyszko, Minister of Environment, as well as Paweł Sałek, Secretary of State, Government Plenipotentiary for Climate Policy as a deputy leader. The delegation comprised representatives of the Ministry of Environment, as well as its subordinate and supervised units, representatives of the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Energy, the Polish Parliament, the capital city of Warsaw and industrial circles. Representatives of Katowice, the city hosting next year's climate conference (COP 24) were also participating in the discussions.
COP 23 objectives
The main objective of COP 23 was to make progress on the package of implementing decisions regarding the Paris Agreement, which is supposed to be adopted during the 24th session of the Conference of the Parties, slated to take place in December 2018 in Katowice. The parties were given the opportunity to discuss the progress achieved to date, present their views on specific substantive issues and to establish procedures for further work on the projects to be finally adopted at COP 24.
In Bonn, Poland boasted its achievements in reducing CO2 emissions to the atmosphere. “Among the things we should feel proud of are the State Forests, which play a significant role in the absorption of this gas”, emphasized Professor Jan Szyszko during a press conference at the Ministry of Environment.
Solutions developed at the Bonn Conference
During the conference, nearly 30 decisions defining the course of work on the Work Programme for the Paris Agreement were adopted for 2018. All of these decisions will culminate in the 24th Conference of the Parties in December 2018 in Katowice. In this context, the effects of COP 23 should be assessed positively, as in many areas the Parties have managed to identify the crucial elements of the implementing decision package. The work on this package will continue during the next technical session of the Convention's subsidiary bodies in May 2018.
The position represented by Poland during COP 23 served to continue the climate negotiations in the spirit of the adopted Paris Agreement – ensure the universal participation of all countries in the Agreement while maintaining the voluntary approach and the choice of the method of reducing emissions, as well as using natural resources. In addition, Poland organised a series of side events aimed at presenting the Polish approach to climate protection in detail. They were devoted, among others, to the role of forests in the Paris Agreement, the Polish system of financing environmental protection, and geothermal energy.
Poland to organise next year’s climate conference
As the next Presidency of the Conference of the Parties, the Polish delegation had a significant influence on the arrangements for next year's working schedule, as well as the development of common approaches, including within the Eastern European Group, which appointed a Polish representative as one of their two representatives assigned to work at the Conference Office as Vice-President of COP23. Poland's efforts as one of the world's leaders in climate action, have been appreciated by other parties, due to a significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the past and the country’s active participation in the international negotiations.
As a country, Poland enjoys great respect and authority worldwide, which is proved by the fact that we are going to host a climate summit for the third time”, said Professor Szyszko.
In preparation for taking the Presidency of the Conference of the Parties, the leaders of the Polish delegation met with representatives of Saudi Arabia, Austria, China, Japan, Canada, Russia, Singapore, the United States, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, Marshall Islands and the European Commission.