Climate Change Conference in Bonn in 2017

The 2017 Climate Change Conference (COP 23) will take place in Germany under the Fiji Presidency. From 6 to 17 November 2017, diplomats, politicians and representatives of civil society from all over the world will come together in Bonn. This international UN conference, the Conference of the Parties (COP), will be convened for the 23rd time; hence the acronym COP 23. Five other bodies also convene under the framework convention. Up to 20,000 people are expected to attend.

Why is the UN Climate Change Conference taking place in Bonn?

The United Nations take an internal decision on which country will hold the next UNFCCC Presidency based on rotation. According to the rotation cycle, the 2017 conference would be hosted by a country from the Asian group. The rule in previous years was that the holder of the COP Presidency also hosts the conference.

The Republic of Fiji, a small group of islands in the South Pacific, was prepared to hold the Presidency, but unable to host the conference in Fiji. Hosting a conference of this magnitude would have surpassed Fiji’s capacities.

UNFCCC's Rules of Procedure stipulate that in such cases, the Climate Change Conference shall be held at the headquarters of the UNFCCC Secretariat in Bonn. Fiji’s offer to hold the Presidency was accepted by the Parties during the last Climate Change Conference in November 2016 in Marrakech and it was decided on 18 November 2016 that the conference would be held in Bonn.

What preparations are being made by Germany?

The UNFCCC Secretariat and current holder of the Presidency are responsible for organising the conference and setting the conference agenda. This year, UNFCCC in its capacity as organiser, Fiji as COP 23 President and Germany as the technical host are cooperating closely to make the conference a success. The Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and the city of Bonn are organising initiatives and activities of their own to help make the conference a success.

On behalf of the German government, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) is in charge of the climate negotiations and the conference and in cooperation with the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is also preparing Germany’s role and contribution during COP23. Germany and Bonn will make use of this opportunity to showcase Germany as a UN location. Bonn is home to around 20 United Nations institutions with almost 1,000 employees- the UNFCCC Secretariat is the largest of these. In addition, the climate diplomats meet in Bonn every year during the summer for the COP preparatory conference. This year, the meetings of the UNFCCC subsidiary bodies were held from 8 to 18 May.

What topics will be addressed by COP 23?

Firstly, the governments will work on further elaborating the details regarding the implementation of the Paris Agreement of 2015, which will allow for the so-called “book of rules” to be adopted at the next conference at the end of 2018 in Poland. As in previous years, various players from politics and civil society will come together during the conference to present their climate initiatives and projects. The objective is to demonstrate that promising activities are being implemented to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, adapt to climate change, redirect investment flows towards low-carbon economic practices and improve resilience against the consequences of climate change. Participants in such projects and initiatives include governments, representatives of local authorities, Federal States and civil society including the business community and industry. There is already keen interest in participation.

What activities are planned for the conference premises in Bonn?

The conference premises will be centred around the World Conference Center Bonn (WCCB). Final plans regarding the exact layout are still being developed. The objective is to provide a platform for governments, representatives of local authorities, Federal States and NGOs, for example, environmental associations, economic associations and representatives from other parts of civil society including the business community and industry to present their projects and initiatives. Interested members of the public will also be involved. In addition to the zone for official COP 23 negotiations, there will be another zone in the Rheinaue Park in Bonn called the Bonn Zone. Here national and international climate players such as governments and NGOs will have the opportunity to showcase their activities and participate in side events. The focus here will be on the exchange between players. The German Pavilion will outline the work of the German government and its partners in the fields of national and international climate policy. Information on the conference will be continuously updated.