The first round of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) talks for the year concluded on Sunday with an agreement to intensify the negotiating schedule to enable a strong outcome in the Mexico meeting at the end of the year.
Being the first meeting since the conference of the parties in Copenhagen in December 2009, delegates decided that in addition to the negotiating sessions already scheduled for 2010, governments would hold two extra one-week sessions between June and December 2010.
"At this meeting in Bonn, I have generally seen a strong desire to make progress. However, whilst more meeting time is important, it is itself not a recipe for success," cautioned UNFCCC executive secretary Yvo de Boer.
De Boer called on governments to overcome differences, and work for greater clarity on what could be decided in the course of 2010 in the climate change negotiations.
"We need to decide what can be agreed at the end of this year in Cancún and what can be put off until later," he said.
According to De Boer, negotiators would need to tackle three categories of issues in the course of this year: issues which were close to completion in Copenhagen and could be finalised at the UNFCCC conference in Cancún at the end of 2010; issues where there were still considerable differences, but on which the Copenhagen Accord could provide important political guidance; and issues where governments were still far from agreement.
"The UN Climate Change Conference in Cancún must do what Copenhagen did not achieve: It must finalise a functioning architecture for implementation that launches global climate action, across the board, especially in developing nations," said De Boer.
"Specifically, negotiations this year need to conclude on mitigation targets and action, a package on adaptation, a new technology mechanism, financial arrangements, ways to deal with deforestation, and a capacity-building framework," he said.
However, many member nations party to the UNFCCC were already voicing skepticism at the ability to reach a binding agreement in Mexico, and were looking more hopefully toward the negotiations scheduled for South Africa at the end of 2011.
At the April Bonn meeting, the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention invited its chairperson to prepare, under her own responsibility, a text to facilitate negotiations among Parties, in time for the May/June sessions in Bonn.
The Bonn talks were attended by more than 1 700 delegates from 175 countries, including a delegation from South Africa.
As a part of the Brazil, South Africa, India, and China (Basic) negotiating bloc within the negotiations, South Africa had also committed to attending Basic group meetings throughout the year. The first of these meetings was scheduled to take place in South Africa in April.