Notes from the Bonn Zone: Days 2 and 3


The climate negotiations in Bonn are off to a promising start in advancing the implementation of the Paris Agreement, with Syria pledging to sign the Paris Agreeement on Tuesday.  Side events and exhibitions in the Bonn Zone on Tuesday and Wednesday highlighted the significance of what is at stake in these negotiations.  


China opened its Tuesday sessions in the Bonn Zone with a side event on China’s Energy Conservation and its Contribution to Addressing Climate Change.  This talk focused on China’s conservation and emission reduction efforts as well its conservation policies and measures.  Panelists discussed the link between energy efficiency and economic prosperity as well as China’s energy conservation plans for 2050.

 At the same time, the World Wildlife Fund’s pavilion hosted a Spanish-speaking side event, Challenges and Opportunities for Climate Action in Latin America and the Caribbean in the New Political Context. Adrian Martinez of La Ruta del Clima served as the panel’s moderator while other panel members included representatives from Mexico, Colombia and Peru. 

Topics included how to involve local governments in climate action plans, the connection between climate change, development and education, the importance of civil society in climate change governance and the effect of political transitions on climate policy.  

“Climate change is not something that just affects us personally or physically,” said Anne Dunn of Fiji. “It’s something, that as islanders, as a Fijian, affects the very core of who we are.  It affects my identity.”

At the close of the meeting, Fiji’s Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources, Mereseini Vuniwaq said: “We have seen here today how six people from different countries in the Pacific, who did not even know each other a short time ago, can come together to produce beautiful and insightful videos, uniting as one voice. They are not video professionals and they are not professional entertainers.  They are six very intelligent young people with good ideas and generous hearts.  They are happy to devote themselves to something much larger than they are, much greater than all of us.”

Vuniwag went on to say: “I am thrilled to send these voices forth with a message to the world from the Pacific.  The crisis is now, the solution is now and the commitment must be now.”

On Wednesday afternoon, a panel of British scientists convened at the United Kingdom pavillion for the side event: Ocean Options: Climate Challenges and Science Responses for Seas and Society.  Panelists discussed the effects of ocean acidification, sea level rise, ocean temperature change and oxygen loss.

IMG_2806 (1)
Philip Williamson of the University of East Anglia discusses the effects of change in ocean temperature over the past several decades.

They also discussed their projects that included looking at offshore carbon dioxide storage deep below the seabed and studying blue carbon, the process by which plants move carbon dioxide into living biomass.

Late Wednesday afternoon, panelists from various NGOs throughout Latin America discussed their role in challenging the status quo and implementing innovative and sustainable technologies in their respective countries.





 One of the panelists was Luis Pérez, who works for Sailcargo Inc., a carbon negative transportation company based in Costa Rica.  

The Sailcargo Inc. team is developing a ship powered by wind and solar that seeks innovative and sustainable solutions to the shipping industry.  Pérez explained that Costa Rica, with its proximity to the Panama Canal, supply of sustainable wood resources and reputation as an eco-friendly country, serves as an optimal base for the company.

Notes from the Bonn Zone: Day 1 


The United Nations Climate Change conference (COP23) kicked off yesterday in Bonn, with the island nation of Fiji presiding over the negotiations.


COP23 is divided into two zones: the Bonn Zone and the Bula Zone.  The Bula Zone is where the actual climate change negotiations are being held, while the Bonn Zone is holding an array of climate action events and exhibitions. 

This year, nations such as Fiji, France, India, Korea, Malaysia, Norway, Russia and the United Kingdom are hosting pavilions in the Bonn Zone, as well as international organizations and NGOs such as the World Bank, International Union for Conservation of Nature and the World Wildlife Fund.  

No where to be seen…

WhatsApp Image 2017-11-07 at 10.58.31 PMA United States pavilion was noticeably absent this year in COP23.  In these pavilions  countries and organizations present on issues related to what happens in the climate negotiations. Unlike what has been seen in the last summits this year there is no visible presence of the United States and leaves a certain vacuum in  COP23.

However, abandoned spaces are soon embraced by new actors such as China and other countries that fill these spaces assuming leadership.


COP23 the  Pacific Climate Change Conference

The island-nation of Fiji play a prominent role in the Bonn Zone.  The Fijian pavilion is hosting multiple side events and live Fijian music is heard at the conference throughout the day.


La Ruta del Clima was fortunate to co-host a side event on the first day of the conference, Pacific COP 23: Yardsticks for Success. 

La Ruta del Clima co-hosted COP23 Yardsticks for Success

invitation-jpg-social-media1-e1509556187939In addition to La Ruta del Clima, panel members included representatives from the Climate Action Network, World Resources Institute, and the Green Education Center. Topics covered were climate finance, public participation in climate governance and environmental education.  Panel members discussed their hopes for COP23, the link between access to climate funding for island nation and justice, key elements to progress at COP23 and the next steps for reaching the $100 billion goal set forth in the Copenhagen Accord and reaffirmed in the Paris Agreement. 


Role of Women as Healers of the Ocean at the Frontlines of the Climate-Development-Nature Nexus.

Following the Yardsticks for Success meeting, I attended a second side event: Role of Women as Healers of the Ocean at the Frontlines of the Climate-Development-Nature Nexus. It was presented in English and, at times, Fijian by representatives from Fiji, Germany and the Netherlands.  The role different women play along the front lines of climate change was highlighted.  A community leader, professor and WWF representative were among those who discussed the importance of gender sensitivity in developing climate policy and the role of women in the community with respect to climate mitigation and adaptation. 

Role of Women as Healers of the Ocean at the Frontlines of the Climate-Development-Nature Nexus.

“I ask that we come together in harmony.  One spirit. One heart,” said Penina Moce, a WWF Ocean Climate Witness from Kabara Island, a 30-square kilometer island in Fiji that has already been strongly impacted by climate change.  “We work together so that the future of our children and future generations can be restored.”

Carol Puha, the facilitator of this event, closed with a quote by German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “The person who loves their dream of community will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community.”