Last Friday saw the conclusion of the 23rd annual UN climate change conference (COP23) held in Bonn, Germany, and progress was seen in many aspects.

For one, the rulebook for the Paris climate agreement is seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

According to euronews.com, COP23 president Frank Bainimarama said, “We should all be very pleased that COP23 has been a success. We have done the job we were given to do, which was to advance the implementation guidelines of the Paris agreement, and prepare for more ambitious action through the Talanoa dialogue of 2018.”

However, there was talk about the actual achievements of the event.

Opinions were widespread that key issues like cutting carbon emissions were left hanging.

Much debate also arose about the role played by the US, an economic powerhouse that for the first time, sent a delegation from the Trump administration to the Conference of Parties.

COP23

A replica of the Statue of Liberty emitting smoke from the torch created by Danish artist Jens Galschiot and displayed at the Rheinaue park during COP23.

A worrying fact is that the president maintains plans to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement. The billionaire is also deemed uncooperative when it comes to working together towards international climate change.

That said, various climate action plans were committed at COP23, aimed at making the objectives of the Paris Climate Change Agreement and ultimately, the 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals, a reality.

Here are some highlights,  as per the UN Climate Change press release:

1. In terms of finance:
* The InsuResilience Initiative receives an additional US$125mil (RM514mil) from Germany to help provide insurance to 400 more million (poor and vulnerable) people by 2020.

* Germany and Britain to provide a combined US$153mil (RM630mil) to expand programmes to fight climate change and deforestation in the Amazon rainforest.

* The European Investment Bank will provide US$75mil (RM309mil) for a new US$405mil (RM1,667mil) investment programme by the Water Authority of Fiji. The scheme will strengthen resilience of water distribution and wastewater treatment following Cyclone Winston, the world’s second strongest storm ever recorded, which hit Fiji in February 2016.

* World Resources Institute announced a landmark US$2.1bil (RM8.64bil) of private investment earmarked towards restoring degraded lands in Latin America and the Caribbean.

* Ecuador to reduce 15 million tonnes of CO2 emissions in the forest sector.

2. Towards better coordination:

* SIDS Health Initiative by WHO, UN Climate Change secretariat and Fijian COP 23 Presidency to ensure small island developing states have health systems resilient to climate change by 2030.

* America’s Pledge brings together private and public sector leaders to ensure the US remains a global leader in reducing emissions and delivers the country’s climate goals under the Paris Agreement.

* Powering Past Coal Alliance brings together 25 countries, states and regions to accelerate the rapid phase-out of coal and support affected workers and communities to make the transition.

* C40 mayors of 25 pioneering cities, representing 150 million citizens, pledged to develop and begin implementing more ambitious climate action plans before the end of 2020 to deliver emissions neutral and climate resilient cities by 2050.

For more info, go to https://cop23.unfccc.int