Other / 29 Mar, 2009
Bonn Climate Change Talks

Bonn Climate Change Talks

Bonn, 29 March – 8 April 2009


Opening remarks by
Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change



Ladies and gentlemen, colleagues, friends,

Welcome to the last eight months in the negotiations towards an ambitious agreed outcome at Copenhagen! Within these eight months, you have so far agreed to six weeks of real negotiating time. As you can see, the clock is continuously ticking down to Copenhagen. Time has never been scarcer! It needs to be used wisely!

I see a huge desire for these negotiations to succeed, and I hear many world leaders from the North and the South voice strong commitment for an ambitious outcome at Copenhagen. Many of the submissions reflect that a lot of careful work and thinking has been put into preparing for this session, as well as for upcoming sessions. I sense a deep desire to make progress.

The process has a very broad agenda, with many aspects that are all closely interlinked. There is a need to focus on the essential elements of an agreement. All these elements need to be advanced and then pulled together to make Copenhagen the success that the global climate needs.

Under both Ad Hoc Working Groups, Parties need to focus on solutions for moving the process forward. The secretariat has assisted the Chairs of both AWGs to prepare documents that help Parties focus on the key components of a Copenhagen outcome.

For the LCA, documents have been prepared to help Parties focus their discussions. One issue that stands out is the urgent need to make progress on how the necessary financial and technological support for adaptation and mitigation actions in developing countries will be generated. Additionally, there is still insufficient clarity on the provisions, mechanisms and institutions to be contained in the agreed outcome. My hope is that both issues can be significantly advanced over the coming days.

Under the AWG-KP, urgent progress needs to be made regarding new commitments for Annex I Parties, as well as on the means to reduce emissions. Here too, documents have been prepared to help Parties focus their work. There is a clear need to move from general discussions to real negotiations based on texts. I look forward to the emergence of proposals for amendments to the Kyoto Protocol in this regard.

It is through cooperation that your greatest success will be derived

Resolving the broad agenda on the road to Copenhagen will only be possible if Parties work together. Purposeful cooperation is the only way to reach an ambitious agreed outcome that will propel the world into a climate-resilient future.

The first new opportunity for true cooperation is here at this session, which was made possible with the generous financial support of the Government of Germany. The negotiating schedule for this busy year of course shows further opportunities. Yet funding is still required for the session to be held in Bangkok at the end of September. Full funding, including for participation, is also required for any additional negotiating session.

There is some good news on the funding of participation from the Trust Fund: For the June session, as well as for the Bangkok session, it will be possible to finance two delegates from each eligible Party. My thanks go to the contributors for their generous voluntary contributions.

Around the world, millions of people in thousands of cities switched their lights off last night in order to send a clear message that we must act on climate change. Earth hour was probably the largest public demonstration on climate change ever. Its aim was to tell every government representative to seal the deal in Copenhagen.

The world’s concerned citizens have given the negotiations an additional clear mandate!

Thank you.


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Please note: This is prepared text of the speech and may differ from the delivered version.