COP23 – Halftime

The second week of climate negotiations is just starting 384 miles away in Bonn, Germany.

One of my personal areas of interest has been the development of the Gender Action Plan. One can question, why does gender matter when debating climate change? Climate change isn’t fair, meaning, it does not have an even and equal impact in the world. So, for me, raising gender equality as an integral part of the negotiations is about making sure that climate change policies benefit, and not hurt, the most vulnerable. As written by CAN “this is a sprawling challenge, that must recognize human rights”. Mainstreaming gender into climate change policy-making broadens the spotlight to include areas of rights to education and development, rights of indigenous people and migrants, to the right to health, and food security. It allows for a focus on social development alongside technical developments. The latest news is that the delegates have agreed on the text for the Gender Action Plan and that the negotiations are now moving from a “backroom” discussion into the main plenary for approval. I will update you all on my final blog-post in one and a half week’s time!


Another area which has been stressed by developed, as well as developing countries, since the start of the negotiations, is the “Talanoa Dialogue. UNFCCC explains Talanoa as “a traditional word used in Fiji and the Pacific to reflect a process of inclusive, participatory and transparent dialogue”[1]. In reference to the climate change negotiations, this refers to the upcoming talks about what countries have done to reach their goals of reducing carbon dioxide emissions, as well as what has been done in the process towards keeping temperatures below 2°C below above pre-industrial levels. While the Talanoa Dialogue does not officially start until 2018, the groundwork for the rules and design of the process needs to be laid this year. Click here ( if you want more information on the Talanoa Dialogue and its development.

The goal of keeping temperatures below 2°C below above pre-industrial levels is an important part of the Paris Agreement. The negotiations for rules and potential sanctions started on Tuesday morning and have continued over the week. Some main topics have been transparency and the inclusion of stakeholders in climate negotiations. This is important as this gives civil society the opportunity to provide input, lobby as well as hold policymakers accountable. Transparency and participation is a crucial part of making the Paris Agreement democratic. These negotiations are likely to increase in intensity in the last week.

A final note is the great news that Syria has signed up to the Paris Agreement. This currently makes the United States alone in the cold outside. However, despite Trump announcing the US intent to withdraw as soon as possible, this will not be actualised until earliest the 4 November 2020 – that is one day AFTER the next US presidential election. So, there is still hope!




-This blog post was written by Alexandra Arntsen, associate lecturer in the Green Academy, on the UNFCCC negotiations at COP23 in Bonn. 

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