UCL Public Policy


Reflections from UCL’s academic team at the 60th session of the Subsidiary Bodies

24 June 2024

UCL recently sent four academics to the Bonn Climate Change Conference. Hear how it went as the team shares their reflections.

Bonn conference

Dr Marina Romanello, Dr Susannah Fisher, Professor Catalina Turcu and Dr Simon Chin-Yee recently attended the 60th session of the Subsidiary Bodies. They had a joint mission to engage in dialogue, knowledge sharing and capacity building; embodying UCL’s commitment to making substantial impact and advancing knowledge in the international climate action space.

group photo

After an inspiring and engaging trip, the group shared with us some of their thoughts and reflections. 

Marina Romanello
Dr Marina Romanello, (Executive Director of the Lancet Countdown, Institute for Global Health), had the opportunity of opening the climate change and child health session of the Expert Dialogue on Children and Climate Change.

Speaking on her experience, Marina said;

attending SB60 was a unique opportunity to engage directly with negotiators shaping global agreements on climate change, in the settings in which most of the decisions that will inform the COP outcome are being taken. Attending SB60 allowed me to share our scientific findings with key party negotiators, as well as with influential civil society organisations, supporting a more prominent inclusion of health within the upcoming COP29. Beyond that, it was incredibly useful to engage with other key players in this area, including the Climate Action Network, who are interested in incorporating health within their engagement with the negotiations around Just Transition and Loss and Damage.”

Bonn conference

Dr Susannah Fisher’s (Principal Research Fellow, Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction) area of research followed negotiations on the global goal on adaptation, adaptation finance and enhancing transparency as well as meeting with government officials, NGOs and other researchers. Her work is part of a UKRI-funded programme seeking to enhance ambition and accountability in adaptation finance.

Susannah said,

“It was really valuable to meet many people of the adaptation community in Bonn again and to share ideas and latest developments around how we know if we are succeeding in adapting to climate change. I will now use these discussions to enhance the policy impact and relevance of our ongoing research.”

Bonn conference

Professor Catalina Turcu, (Professor of Sustainable Built Environment, Bartlett School of Planning), shared what she got from the conference as well as what she’ll be bringing back to UCL and her research.

SB60 negotiations focus on the technicalities and implementation of COP processes hence, relying on scientific evidence and guidance, especially IPCC outputs. There is little agreement and clarity among parties regarding the extend of research gaps, needs and capacity across regions; and whether COP and IPCC processes should be linked more intimately in terms of timelines and content. I did sit as an observer at the back of negotiations, biting my lips. Certainly more needs to be done about this!"

Dr Simon Chin-Yee, (Lecturer in International Development, Department of Political Sciences) observed that in global climate governance, most of the attention focuses on the COPs, where 10s of thousands of participants descend on the host country for two weeks of negotiations (later this year in Baku). However, the climate talks continue in the year in Bonn Germany (usually) in the technical and subsidiary bodies – and the 60th Sessions of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies finished last week. One of the reasons for having these negotiations is to set up for the upcoming COP, however, at this particular Bonn conference progressed seems particularly slow.

Simon said:

These intercessionals are an important space to work with countries on very technical aspects of both the texts being negotiated as well as increasing ambition at the national level.”

What is the Bonn Climate Change Conference? 
The Bonn Climate Change Conference is a meeting point for parties involved in the UNFCCC process including: governments, civil society organisations, scientists, and other stakeholders, offering a chance to come together and advance the global climate agenda. Click here to visit the Bonn Climate Change website.

Well done to the team. If you’re interested in representing UCL at the next conference then please stay tuned for more updates in the near future.