The UN Climate Change Conference convened in Bangkok on Tuesday amid calls for greater progress and increased responsibility from developed countries.
More than 2,000 delegates from 196 countries joined the six-day talks at the UN compound in Bangkok focussed on implementing guidelines of the Paris Agreement.
Signed in 2016, the Paris Agreement committed 195 countries to keeping rising global temperatures well below two degrees Celsius and as close to 1.5 degrees as possible within this century.
The Bangkok session is deemed a “final leg” for the agreed basis for negotiations at the COP24 conference, the 24th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to be held in Katowice, Poland in December.
Delegates at the Bangkok meeting have been urged to accelerate the negotiations given the “modest” progress made so far.
“We have not progressed far enough. It [the Bangkok meeting] is not just an additional session; it is an urgent session,” said COP23 President Frank Bainimarama as an opening remark in Bangkok.
Both the UN agency and non-governmental organizations have also urged developed countries to play a bigger role in tackling climate change.
“Highly inadequate climate finance compromises the capacity of the developing world to survive a [natural] crisis that rich countries are responsible for,” said Harjeet Singh of ActionAid International in a statement.
The NGOs also expressed pessimism that the Bangkok conference and the COP24 will yield any concrete solutions to climate change, calling instead for multi-level actions particularly at home.
“We see that trust in this global process is at an all-time low. We need to be pressuring our governments at home. We need to be implementing real solutions ourselves,” Lucy Cadena of Friends of the Earth environmental network told dpa.
“[The meetings] are much more about creating loopholes and escape routes for developed countries in particular from … taking actions,” said Meena Raman of Third World Network at a sideline news conference on Tuesday.
Held annually, the COP conference was first held in Berlin, Germany, in 1995, with the first ever joint measures in international climate action being agreed upon.
This year’s conference in Katowice is set to finalize the implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement which will become fully operational in 2020.