Not linked to reality: Bonn climate talks missing urgent action 


Two weeks of UN climate negotiations in Bonn have ended. The next time parties meet will be at COP29 in Baku, Azerbaijan this November. There, they are expected to adopt a new goal for climate finance.  

But the Bonn negotiations, meant to prepare for COP29, have made little progress. Compared to the effects of climate change that faith groups and marginalised communities around the world are experiencing, this is deeply concerning. Global climate leadership is needed now more than ever. Yet, as shown at these talks, global action and cooperation to urgently address the climate crisis is deeply inadequate. 

Nushrat Chowdhury, ACT member Christian Aid’s Climate Justice policy advisor comments: 

  • The climate talks are not related to the reality we see on the ground. The need for action is urgent, and it relates to mitigation, adaptation and efforts to address loss and damage.

The Bonn talks focussed on climate finance. This is a core element of the climate debate, as any of the goals related to green and resilient transition of the world depend on investment and access to climate finance.  

One of the options of the level of finance the goal needs to aim at was put forward by African States. The Africa Group of Negotiators (AGN) proposed that a USD 1.3 trillion publicly mobilized goal is needed every year to address climate change in the Global South. This number may seem high compared to the current target, USD 100 billion per year. However, USD 100 billion was a political compromise. When we talk about climate finance, we must look at the need. And the need for funding is huge.  

One of the deep conflicts in the debate about climate finance is the so-called contributor base. This is the number of countries responsible for mobilizing climate finance. The reality is that many developed countries still are not contributing. Poland, Portugal, the USA and Greece mobilize minimal amounts of climate finance, despite their large historic responsibility in creating emissions.  

Illari Aragon, member of ACT’s Climate Justice group comments: 

  • Countries in the Global North should take the lead and share the burden of mobilizing climate finance. We still wait for substantial contributions from developed countries that lag in delivering their climate finance commitments 

While finance was the focus at Bonn, other elements of the climate debate need attention. By the beginning of 2025 all parties should have submitted new and updated national climate plans (also called NDCs). These plans should show what each country will do to deliver on the Paris Agreement. These plans should refer to mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage. 

The debate about mitigation has been almost invisible in Bonn. This is worrying, as parties are still far from reaching the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.  

Mattias Söderberg, co-chair of the ACT Alliance Climate Justice group, says: 

  • At COP28, last year’s climate summit, negotiating parties agreed to justly transition away from fossil fuels, and to triple investments in renewable energy. These commitments should not be forgotten, and I hope all parties will consider them when they develop their new climate plans. 

While the efforts of parties to develop new and more ambitious plans are important, the question of climate finance remains. Many of the existing plans have still not been implemented. This is largely due to lack of access to funding. The adaptation finance needs of developing countries are 10 to18 times greater than international public finance flows, according to UNEP. There remain huge funding challenges for the Global South to enhance gender mainstreaming in their climate planning development and implementation. 

Julius Mbatia, ACT Alliance, comments:

  • We need new national climate plans to ensure that the world can manage the climate crisis. If there is no finance, plans will never be put into action. The level of ambition and implementation will thus depend on the availability of climate finance. This is why climate finance is at the core of the climate debate. 

The plans will reflect the transition countries must go through to lower emissions. However, the transition must be fair, and this was also addressed in Bonn. Parties unfortunately did not make any significant progress.  

Irene Anena, ACT Alliance Uganda Forum Coordinator, comments: 

  • The Global South is vulnerable and has unique challenges that should not be overlooked. We call for recognition of a fair share by the big polluting countries. We can only have a just transition with a fair distribution of the carbon budget, finance delivery, technology transfer, capacity strengthening and by embracing the principles of human rights.

The talks included a workshop on the Gender Action Plan, specifically on moving from plans to action in fostering gender equality in climate action.  

Says Elena Cedillo of the Lutheran World Federation:  

  • A stronger draft text on gender and climate would urge all Parties to designate and support a national focal point on gender and climate change for negotiations, implementation, and monitoring. … It is essential to align gender responsive Nationally Determined Contributions and National Adaptation Plans with national development planning in a manner consistent with the objectives of the Paris Agreement. 

Speaking at the Interfaith Liaison Committee’s press conference in Bonn, Sostina Takure of the ACT Alliance Zimbabwe Forum spoke of the challenges faced by women and girls in all their diversity and youth with regards to migration caused by the climate crisis:   

  • We must look at the ripple effects of migration and displacement due to climate change. It is not even planned migration in my context. We are just moving people because a disaster has happened. They don’t have food in the new place. They will marry off their children as young as 8 and 9 years old to develop kinship and community, and to share scarce food.  We are destroying a whole generation of young children to survive the effects of climate change. As we go to COP29 let’s remember at the core of Loss and Damage are vulnerable people.

Members of ACT Alliance witness daily the growing effects of the climate crisis on the most marginalized communities in the Global South; those who have done the least to contribute to life-damaging emissions. These effects can only be addressed by a strong commitment to their future by those countries with more resources, who also have a historical responsibility for the emissions that have caused the crisis. This would be climate justice at a global level. 

Mattias Söderberg, co-chair of the ACT Alliance Climate Justice group, comments: 

  • As climate diplomats return to their countries, all governments must remember that the climate crisis is real. Just like the COVID-19 crisis was real. The climate crisis can be handled, but only if efforts are made to ensure a just, equitable, green and resilient transition where nobody is left behind.  

For interviews contact:  

Mattias Söderberg, ACT Alliance Climate Justice group co-chair, DanChurchAid Advocacy lead, WhatsApp: +45 29 70 06 09 

Fiona Connelly, ACT Alliance Communications Coordinator, Tel and WhatsApp: +1 647 210-1238