Frequently asked questions on COP 23

Find out all you need to know about the UN Climate Change Conference - Bonn 2017.

Last update as of 11 November 2017.

When and where will COP 23 take place?

The 2017 UN Climate Change Conference will take place from 6 to 17 November at the World Conference Center Bonn (WCCB) in Bonn, Germany, the seat of the UNFCCC secretariat.

Why is COP 23 held in Bonn?

The COP Presidency rotates among the five UN regional groups. According to the established rhythm, the Presidency of COP 23 was to come from the Asia-Pacific States. At COP 22, held in Marrakech, the COP expressed its appreciation for the nomination received from the Asia-Pacific States of a representative of the Government of Fiji to serve as President, the first small island State that would ever do so. According to rule 3 of the draft rules of procedure, the sessions of the COP are to take place at the seat of the secretariat (Bonn), unless the COP decides otherwise. This principle was confirmed by the COP in Marrakech.

What is the division of roles between the Government of Fiji, the Government of Germany and the UNFCCC secretariat?

The conference will be convened under the Presidency of Fiji, which will provide political leadership.  

The Government of Germany, as the host country of the secretariat, provides valuable political and financial support to the organization of the sessions. 

The UNFCCC secretariat, as the host of the conference, is working with the Government of Germany, the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and the City of Bonn to make all the necessary arrangements for the conference.

How can I support COP 23?

The UNFCCC secretariat is seeking to establish partnerships which will be formally recognized and given high visibility through the UNFCCC website and social media channels, conference branding and media engagement activities. More information is available on the UNFCCC website.

Where can I find the COP 23 logo?

Please visit this website for comprehensive information on the COP 23 logo. 

Information on the design competition held in Fiji is available here.

I heard the conference will take place in two different zones. What is the difference between them and how will they be connected?

COP 23 presents a unique opportunity for piloting a new setting for future climate conferences in which the showcasing of climate action by non-Party stakeholders complements the formal meetings. 

A “One Conference, Two Zones” concept has been developed to manage the expected level of participation and events in an inclusive manner. The Bula Zone will include plenary halls, meeting rooms for negotiations, delegation offices and media facilities and is comprised of the World Conference Center Bonn (WCCB), UN Campus facilities and temporary structures built in the immediate surroundings.  

The Bonn Zone will be located in the adjacent Rheinaue Park and will accommodate climate action events, including high-level events, side events, exhibits and media activities, as well as delegation pavilions. 

More information and preliminary overview maps are available here.

What is the distance between the zones and how will they be connected?

The two zones, 1.4 km apart, will be well connected. Options for commuting between the two zones include: 

  • Regular bus lines with enhanced service (estimated commuting time 5 minutes) 
  • Special shuttle service (estimated commuting time 9 minutes) 
  • Walking (estimated total travel time 15 minutes) 
  • Using one of the bicycles that will be available free of charge (estimated total travel time 5 minutes).
Do I need a visa and, if yes, how can I obtain it?

All foreign participants entering the Federal Republic of Germany must have a valid passport. 

Participants requiring a visa should contact the appropriate consular authorities well in advance of the conference to ensure sufficient time for processing. The issuance of a Schengen visa may take up to two weeks from the date of submission of the visa application. 

To facilitate the issuance of a visa, a copy of the acknowledgement letter from the Online Registration System must be attached to the visa application. 

For more information, please visit the English, French or Spanish language pages of the German Federal Foreign Office and the website of the German mission where you are planning to apply for your visa. 

Participants are advised that obtaining a Schengen visa is contingent on the participant securing comprehensive insurance that covers the entire period or periods requested.

How will registration work?

The conference venue has two zones, the Bula Zone and the Bonn Zone, connected by a 1.4 km corridor.  

The concept of “One Conference - Two Zones” calls for a new approach to registration and badge issuance.

Please consult this website for further information, including on applicable deadlines.

Will there be a high-level segment?
  • The high-level segment will be held from the afternoon of 15 November until 16 November 2017. 
  • Each Party will have only one opportunity to deliver a national statement. 
  • Statements must not exceed three minutes. 
  • Statements on behalf of groups where other members of the group do not speak are strongly encouraged and will be accorded additional time. 
  • Parties are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to have their statements posted on the UNFCCC. website in lieu of making a verbal delivery. 
  • There will be one list of speakers for Parties to the Convention, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. 
  • The list of speakers will be open for registration until Friday, 27 October 2017. 
  • The registration form included in the  notification posted on 10 July (265 kB) should be sent to the External Relations Officer, Conference Affairs Services, by email at sessions@unfccc.int
  • Parties are reminded to register their speakers in the ORS to ensure that the speakers have access to the conference premises. 
  • The credentials of representatives of Parties shall be submitted to the secretariat no later than 24 hours after the opening of COP 23. 
Where can I access information on the participation of observer organizations?

Please see "How will registration work" above for information on the registration of delegates from observer organizations.  

Information on side events and exhibits is available here.

Further information on the participation of observer organizations is available on this website.

Where can I find information on commercially rented delegation offices and pavilions?

Similarly to previous UNFCCC sessions, COP 23 offers the possibility for Parties and admitted observer organizations to rent delegation offices (located in the venue’s Bula Zone) and pavilions (located in the venue’s Bonn Zone) on a commercial basis.  

The application period for requesting space on a commercial basis through the website of the general contractor for COP 23 ended on 9 June 2017. Questions may be sent to the COP 23 Commercial Services Team via email at mail@cop23-service.de. 

Additional details can be found in  this information note to Parties (853 kB) . 

Organizers, speakers and other participants must be registered for the conference as representatives of Parties or admitted observer organizations to access the conference venue. Information on participation and registration is available here

Information on events and exhibitions is available here.

How will official side events and exhibits be organized?

COP 23 will host many side events and exhibits by Parties, non-Party stakeholders and the UNFCCC secretariat. These events and exhibits will take place in the Bonn Zone of the official conference venue, making it the conference hub for showcasing climate action, knowledge-sharing, capacity-building and networking.  

As per past practice, it is planned that side events will be clustered around major themes, to be announced at a later stage, with specific days being dedicated to different clusters. 

For more information on the application procedure please click here.  

For assistance in promoting an activity related to the conference outside the official conference venue, please consult this website by the City of Bonn.

How can I reserve a meeting room?

Please visit this website for comprehensive information on reserving a meeting room.

Where can I find information on accommodation?

The UNFCCC website includes comprehensive information on accommodation options.  

Bonn and the surrounding region offer a wide variety of accommodation, from five star hotels to bed-and-breakfast lodging and homestay opportunities. A total of 9,000 hotel beds exist within Bonn city limits, and neighboring counties and cities between Cologne to the north and Koblenz to the south offer another 56,000 beds within a radius of 50 km. 

Participants who have not yet booked for COP 23 may wish to note that the November sessions are expected to attract much larger numbers than the SBs. In addition, lodging could be further limited due to a number of other events that will be held in the region. Therefore, all participants are encouraged to make their arrangements as early as possible. 

Accommodation can be booked directly with hotels and other providers or through travel agencies and online services. Participants seeking personal advice and assistance are invited to contact Tourismus & Congress, Bonn and the region’s tourism agency, which is helping coordinate the distribution of accommodation. Tourismus & Congress also establishes contacts between participants and Bonn residents who are offering free-of-charge homestay opportunities.

How about travel and transportation?

Long-distance travel

Most participants from outside Germany and the neighbouring countries will likely travel to Bonn by airplane, arriving at Cologne/ Bonn, Dusseldorf or Frankfurt airports. From Cologne/ Bonn airport (Terminal 1), an express bus leaves for Bonn Hauptbahnhof/ Central Station every 30 – 60 minutes (30 min. travel time). Fast and high-speed long-distance trains (ICE, EC, IC, RE) take less than 60 minutes from Dusseldorf and Frankfurt airports to Bonn Hauptbahnhof/ Central Station, Bonn-Beuel, or Siegburg/ Bonn. From these train stations, local trains, metros, trams or buses take travellers to their hotels in Bonn and its surroundings as well as the conference venue. Often, hotels offer pick-up services, too – ask when booking.

Volunteers will welcome COP participants at the main points of entry (airports, train stations) and provide directions.

Local transportation

The UNFCCC website features detailed information on local transportation in Bonn and the region. Trains, metros/ trams and buses will be running at short intervals. From most hotels/ places in the region, no more than one change of vehicle needs to be made to arrive at the conference venue. The use of individual means of transportation (rented cars, vans or coaches) is strongly discouraged.

In addition to an already well-functioning and integrated public transportation system, Stadtwerke Bonn and the regional network VRS will increase their capacities to accommodate access to the COP venue. Dedicated electric shuttles will connect the Bula and Bonn Zones with each other, with the closest metro stop (“Heussallee”) and the newly built nearby local train station (“UN Campus”). Bicycles will also be offered on loan at the conference venue.

All local transportation within the VRS network will be free of charge for conference participants during the two-week sessions, courtesy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Government of Germany, and so will regional trains between Koblenz and Bonn.

Please see here for an overview scheme of main local transportation routes in the region and directions to the Bula and Bonn Zones. For more details, go to the Maps and Directions page on the UNFCCC website. The “Directions” and the “Schedule Explorer” tools in the map entitled “World Conference Center Bonn” are most useful to learn about routes, commuting times and time schedules between the conference venue and any place in the region.

Will Wi-Fi services be available inside the conference venue?

Yes, both conference zones will be covered.

What actions are planned to increase the sustainability of the conference?

To achieve the goal of climate neutrality for the conference, the amount of greenhouse gas emissions generated in connection with the conference will be reduced to the extent possible. Unavoidable emissions (such as those associated with travel, which is responsible for the lion’s share of the overall footprint) will be offset. 

Information on planned sustainability actions and the ten focus areas is available on this webpage.

May I distribute publications related to other meetings?

With a view to further reducing paper usage and wastage at the conference, participants are asked to refrain from distributing any printed material, such as publications and information related to other meetings or future conferences. Please note that the secretariat strongly encourages the electronic dissemination of information.

I am a representative of a media organization. Where can I find information on how to participate?

Information for members of the press is available here and here.

What are the options for virtual participation?

All available options for virtual participation are summarized on this webpage.

What is the website of the COP 23 Presidency?

The link to the Presidency’s website is http://cop23.com.fj/.

What is the website of the City of Bonn?

The link to the City of Bonn’s website is http://www.bonn-international.org/.

What are the most important UNFCCC websites I should be aware of?