Bonn talks: Negotiators, others seek action for climate empowerment


International negotiators, representatives of civil society and youth put their heads together at climate talks in Bonn, Germany, this week to look for ways the Paris Climate Change Agreement can boost education, awareness, engagement and cooperation in the fight against climate change.
Some 150 participants gathered in the former German federal government chamber hall with flip charts, sticky notes and markers, challenging one another to come up action items that negotiators might agree on at the next UN Climate Conference in Katowice, Poland, in December.
The outcome of a workshop requested by Parties to the Paris Agreement, ranged from suggestions to place climate issues in school curricula, to bridging environment and other ministries with education ministries, to suggestions for building education and public participation concerns more solidly into the planning and reporting requirements of governments cooperating in the international response to climate change.
Under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, countries recognized the critical importance of education, training, public awareness, public participation, public access to information and international cooperation to the success in tackling climate change, together called Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE). The youth constituency is central to the work.
“Action for Climate Empowerment is about transforming values and behaviors; enhancing public participation in climate change decision-making and action; fostering access to information, empowering new generations,” said Emmanuel Dlamini, Chair of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation, a key body holding negotiations here in Bonn until 10 May.
Countries are in Bonn for two weeks of negotiations centered mostly on coming up with a work programme to implement the Paris Agreement, and allow countries to meet their commitment of limiting global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius and to work towards the safer target of 1.5 degrees Celsius. The work programme is expected to be adopted in Katowice and include means of enhancing ACE.
On the Sunday before start of negotiations, youth delegates from 70 countries met for a one-day forum to share and package ideas that could be brought forward to negotiators through the workshop. Since the Paris Agreement was reached in December 2015, the youth constituency and other non-State actors have taken an increasingly important, active role in informing policy under UN Climate Change.
ACE is described under Article 6 of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Negotiators are looking at how ACE work, under Article 12 of the Paris Agreement, can be enhanced and coordinated.