Bridges Needed from Bonn to Paris

21 October 2015

Bonn, Germany – Wednesday, October 21, 2015: Midway through the final negotiating UN climate negotiations session ahead of Paris COP21, delegates are settling in to the hard work of discussing the updated draft text of the agreement, delving into the details and nuances of the many proposed options. Expert observers from Climate Action Network provided their perception of the pace and progress of the negotiations. 

In Bonn, countries have moved to take ownership of the text, inserting a more balanced roster of options into the starting draft developed by the co-chairs, but progress in the spin-off groups has been mixed and slow. To achieve a good result by the end of the session on Friday, delegates will need to work more quickly towards multilateral compromise and begin to submit bridging proposals to create a more focused text. The mixed and sluggish progress comes as civil society observers have been barred from observing the negotiations in the spin-off groups, preventing NGOs from contributing their expertise to the process. 

On the ground in Bonn, CAN members made the following comments: 

"Yesterday morning, we saw rays of sunshine breaking out in the negotiations, but in the last 24 hours, there have been some scattered thunderstorms and some dark clouds on the horizon. If we want to get where we need to be by the end of the week, countries need to move past just re-proposing their well-known national positions, and instead start working hard to craft bridging proposals on as many issues as possible. Negotiators need to earn their pay by actually beginning to build these bridges—not just by continuing to bring more construction materials to the building site.  On crunch political issues where agreement can't be reached here in Bonn, negotiators need to craft limited sets of clear options for ministers to grapple with in advance of or during Paris."

-Alden Meyer, Union of Concerned Scientists

“We appreciate and respect the fact that there is a time when it is appropriate and necessary to close the negotiations to observers, but that time has not yet come. Civil society observers can help facilitate the creation of robust draft Paris agreement by using our expertise to bridge gaps, and provide a voice to the parties least represented in this process.”
-Alyssa Johl, Center for International Environmental Law
Webcast: The press conference was webcast live and is available on demand here:

CAN will be holding a press briefing tomorrow, Thursday October 22, at 11:00 CEST. For a one-to-one interview with our spokespeople, please contact Ria Voorhaar, CAN International on +49 157 3173 5568 or email:

Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 900 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. More at: 


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