ENB on the side
published by IISD, the International Institute for Sustainable Development
in cooperation with the Climate Change Secretariat

Special Report on Selected Side Events at UNFCCC COP-10

6 - 17 December 2004 | Buenos Aires, Argentina

Daily Web Coverage & Daily Reports:

6 December 2004

7 December 2004

8 December 2004

9 December 2004

10 December 2004

11 December 2004

13 December 2004

14 December 2004

15 December 2004

16 December 2004

17 December 2004

Brief Analysis



Events convened on Monday, 6 December 2004

Country experiences in implementing national capacity self assessments

Presented by the Secretariat of the UNFCCC

Diana Harutyunyan, UNDP-Armenia, highlighted broad stakeholder participation in the NCSA process, and evaluation of process outputs through targeted surveys and participatory discussions.

Diana Harutyunyan, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-Armenia, outlined benchmarks along the path to completing her country’s National Capacity Self Assessment (NCSA) with respect to three global conventions, namely the UNFCCC, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. She stressed the importance of strong national ownership, as well as the involvement of high-level decision makers and convention focal points in the process. She said the process had identified capacity gaps relating to: the incorporation of adaptation to climate change in the strategies of key sectors; the inclusion of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions data in the emissions inventory; a lack of awareness in the administration; and low levels of monitoring and evaluation. She said the cross-cutting assessment revealed the need for increased cooperation between central, regional, and local governing bodies, and identified the need to promote environmental education, technology transfer, and scientific cooperation.

Heidi Hallik, Estonia’s Ministry of the Environment, highlighted institutional capacity gaps identified during the NCSA process, including weak systems for implementing obligations, poor cooperation between local and national governments, and shortcomings in inter-ministerial cooperation. Relating expertise, and a weak capacity for undertaking applied research. Teofilus Nghitila, Namibia’s Ministry of Environment and Tourism, said the NCSA process had demonstrated the need to develop an integrated approach to capacity building for implementation of the three conventions. He highlighted the need for technical, institutional and organizational capacity building, and for support for implementation of activities at the local level. He highlighted the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in his country, and stressed the need to stabilize this problem and engage in succession planning to replace lost capacity.

Bubu Pateh Jallow, Gambia’s Department of Water Resources, emphasized that stakeholders were consulted at all levels of the NCSA process, and indicated that Gambia’s Climate Committee had conducted a national validation workshop to review and confirm findings. With regards to capacity gaps identified by the process, he highlighted: limited expertise; weak institutional frameworks; and a paucity of scientific information. He stressed the need to develop and strengthen institutional and human capacity, enhance negotiation skills, develop a national action plan and implementation strategy, and improve access to data.

Joyceline Goco, Department of Environment and Natural Resources of the Philippines, highlighted national policies and local initiatives related to climate change and a public campaign to raise awareness about climate change. On the development of a GHG emissions inventory, she identified capacity gaps relating to local emission factors and data collection, analysis and archiving. She said the NCSA had identified cross-cutting capacity gaps relating to: coordination among agencies; information sharing; and data management. She highlighted greater collaboration among stakeholders and heightened awareness as key outcomes of the NCSA process.

Luis Santos, Uruguay’s Ministry of Housing, Territorial Regulation and Environment, indicated that his country had completed its NCSA in November 2004. He noted a number of complementary activities that increase contact with local groups and institutions, including: training programmes, and research and management assistance. He highlighted several capacity gaps, including: coordination difficulties within and among institutions; insufficient awareness among decision makers; a dependence on foreign financial resources; and low public awareness.

Bo Lim, UNDP, introduced the Global NCSA Support Programme, noting that the programme is jointly implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme and UNDP. She said the programme will support partnerships with regional centers and aims to provide a learning mechanism for sharing experiences, capture intellectual capital, and build capacity.

Discussion: Participants highlighted the importance of the participation of economic ministries in the NCSA process, ensuring financial support for the implementation of action plans. They also discussed how national assessments can feed into regional assessment for capacity-building needs, and considered what steps should be taken to address the priorities identified by the NCSA.

Pacific Island Global Climate Observing System: description and progress

Presented by the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme

Howard Diamond, NOAA, identified key ingredients for success in implementing observation systems, including broad participation in observation systems and establishing regional steering groups.

Alan Thomas, Global Climate Observation System (GCOS), introduced the principles and goals of GCOS, highlighting the development of a coordinated multi-governmental approach to providing stable long-term funding for observation systems.

Mark Morrissey, Pacific Island GCOS (PI-GCOS), overviewed the goals of PI-GCOS, its history and current activities. He said PI-GCOS’s governance strategy focuses on regional capacity building for observation, communication, and socioeconomic development.

Arona Ngari, Cook Islands MetService, presented a case study on the Cook Islands’ activities, including climate observations, capacity building, and the use of PI-GCOS activities for forecasting.

Russell Howorth, South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC), gave an overview of SOPAC’s involvement in regional institutions and activities related to resource management, research, education and capacity building. He presented case studies on the black pearl industry in Manihiki and water management in Samoa, and lamented the shortage of cost-benefit analyses. Jai Gawander, Fiji Sugar Corporation, described economic analyses of the negative impacts of climate change on sugar cane production in Fiji. Noting that island States’ economies depend on subsistence agriculture and tourism, he highlighted the severe impacts of drought on all socioeconomic sectors.

Howard Diamond, U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), outlined the implementation of PI-GCOS, and identified key ingredients for success, including: fundraising; broad participation in partnerships; full-time regional program officers; consolidated planning mechanisms; and regional steering groups.

Andrew Matthews, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, stressed the importance of national-level sector coordination for resource management.

Opportunities for sustainable climate change projects and the biomass energy market

Presented by the Ministry of Ecology, Province of Misiones, Argentina

Luis Jacobo, Minister of Ecology of the Province of Misiones, Argentina, emphasized the commitment and potential of his region regarding climate change mitigation and sustainable development.

Luis Jacobo, Minister of Ecology of the Province of Misiones, emphasized the potential of his region for Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects. He explained that the Province has both the institutional capacity and political commitment to implement CDM projects, and noted that the Province of Misiones aspires to becoming a model region in sustainable development and climate change mitigation.

Juan Gauto, Province of Misiones, presented opportunities for CDM projects in his province, noting that the region has identified potential projects in the fields of energy and land use, including: small-scale hydro projects with low environmental impact; biomass projects benefiting from the forest biomass available in the region; capture and utilization of methane from landfills; building of wooden houses; and sink projects.

Brian Dawson, UNDP, provided an overview of UNDP’s activities related to climate change. He underscored the fundamental link between adaptation and mitigation, and indicated that UNDP will focus on building capacity to mainstream climate change into policy making related to economic development. He emphasized that mitigation activities can benefit economic activity and contribute to sustainable socioeconomic development. He also noted that the CDM is a complex mechanism, and that it is likely to take a few years before its full potential can be realized.

Fernando Cubillos, Carbon Finance Unit of the World Bank, reviewed the status of the carbon market resulting from the upcoming entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol. He indicated that demand for credits from CDM projects is likely to exceed supply, and emphasized that developing CDM projects is a lengthy process. He introduced the carbon funds administrated by the World Bank, and explained the benefits and requirements for project owners wishing to sell carbon credits to these funds. 


Carmen Longa Virasoro <cvirasoro@arnet.com.ar
Brian Dawson <brian.dawson@undp.org>
Fernando Cubillos <fcubillos@worldbank.org

Implementation Plan for the Global Observing System for Climate in Support of the UNFCCC

Presented by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

Paul Mason, GCOS, presented the Implementation Plan for the Global Observing System for Climate in Support of the UNFCCC.

Paul Mason, GCOS, presented the Implementation Plan for the Global Observing System for Climate in Support of the UNFCCC. He noted that the Implementation Plan responds to the Second Report on the Adequacy of Global Observing Systems for Climate in Support of the UNFCCC. Mason underscored the contribution of the plan to understanding and mitigating climate change, and said it can also benefit adaptation. He noted that the plan has a wide scope, including 43 essential variables from atmospheric, oceanic and terrestrial domains and their associated products. Mason stressed that the Parties to the UNFCCC both collectively and individually are the key actors in the Plan’s implementation.

Carolina Vera, University of Buenos Aires, presented the Regional GCOS Action Plan for South America. She indicated that the objective of the Plan is to meet GCOS needs for observation data for South America, and explained that the Plan reviews the current status of South American systematic observation programmes, identifies 11 Action Plan projects, and contains recommendations and action plans, as well as anticipated impacts and benefits. She emphasized that the implementation of South America’s Regional GCOS Action Plan requires long-term commitment from South American nations, as well as technical and financial assistance from external donors.

Miguel Angel Rabiolo, Servicio Meteorológico Nacional Argentina/WMO, described the status and functions of the GCOS observation systems in Argentina.


Carmen Longa Virasoro <cvirasoro@arnet.com.ar
Brian Dawson <brian.dawson@undp.org>
Fernando Cubillos <fcubillos@worldbank.org>

Keep Kyoto on track

Presented by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

Lloyd Wright, GTZ, described a range of complementary measures implemented in Bogotá to encourage a shift to public and non-motorized transport, including: a bus rapid transit project; street closures; restraints on car use; and creation of cycle lanes.

Noting that transport emissions represent a major and steadily growing source of GHG emissions in industrialized countries, Harald Diaz-Bone, UNFCCC, indicated that the main growth in transport emissions results from increased transport activity. He explained how a shift toward high-tech industries and the implementation of an integrated environmental policy led to the successful decoupling of economic growth from increasing carbon dioxide emissions in Finland.

Lloyd Wright, Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), said that, to date, the transport sector has not played a major role in mitigation under the UNFCCC mechanisms. Noting that measures relating to fuel switching are generally not cost competitive in the short term, he highlighted low-cost projects that increase the share of public transport and non-motorized transport. He emphasized the success of Bogotá’s bus rapid transit project, Transmilenio, in facilitating a switch from private to public transport.

Mads Bergendorff, UIC, indicated that rail transport has a lower average external cost than its competitors for passengers and freight. He stressed the need to facilitate the modal shift toward rail through the creation of a level-playing field, where prices reflect the real cost of each transport mode. He called for substantial investment in rail infrastructure and political leadership to catalyze a modal shift toward rail. Robin Carruthers, World Bank, described four projects funded by the Global Environment Fund and aimed at reducing transport emissions. He indicated that these projects seek to maintain the modal share of public transport, and noted that the success of transport-related projects, such as Transmilenio in Bogotá, is challenging the perception that transport projects necessarily entail high investment.

Fernando Petersen, Estudio Ariza y Asociados, explained that reducing emissions is not an immediate priority for people who lack access to basic needs in Argentina.

Susana Martins, Union of European Railway Industries, stressed the commitment of European railway industries to sustainable transport, stating that the railway should be the backbone of public transport.


Harald Diaz-Bone <hdiaz@unfccc.int>
Lloyd Wright <lfwright@usa.net>
Mads Bergendorff <bergendorff@uic.asso.fr>
Robin Carruthers <rcarruthers@worldbank.org
Fernando Petersen
Susana Martins <susana.martins@unife.org>

Hotspots analysis for climate change impact warning

Presented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Michael Glantz, National Center for Atmospheric Research, said auditing is important for identifying potential problem areas before they become hotspots.

Michael Glantz, National Center for Atmospheric Research, spoke on environment and climate-related hotspots. He defined hotspots as a location or activity where human interaction with the environment is considered adverse to the sustainability of an ecosystem or human activities relying on it. He said that auditing allows for the identification of problem areas before they become hotspots.

Igor Zonn, Caspian Sea Bulletin, outlined economic, social and environmental problems in the Caspian Sea basin. Noting that more than 125 000 square kilometers of the Caspian Sea’s coastline are severely damaged, he underscored two new transboundary problems for the region, namely invasive species and increased pollution caused by off-shore gas and oil extraction.

René Gommes, FAO, presented a hotspot analysis of climate and HIV/AIDS. He said HIV/AIDS spreads more rapidly with high population density, poor living conditions, and in areas with a high migration rate, all of which can be exacerbated by climate change.

Discussion: Participants enquired about the contribution of climate change to the spreading of HIV/AIDS compared to other social and economic factors. Gommes stressed that HIV/AIDS is part of a complex of interconnected variables resulting from limited access to natural resources, and noted that many of these variables strongly depend on climate.


Michael Glantz <glantz@ucar.edu>
Igor Zonn <igorzonn@mtu-net.ru>
René Gommes <rene.gommes@fao.org>

Watch the UNFCCC webcast of Side Events




The Earth Negotiations Bulletin on the side (ENBOTS) © <enb@iisd.org> is a special publication of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) in cooperation with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat. This issue has been written by Rado Dimitrov, Ph.D., Catherine Ganzleben, D.Phil., Kati Kulovesi, Charlotte Salpin, and Christoph Sutter, Ph.D. The photographer is Leila Mead. The Digital Editor is Diego Noguera. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. Funding for the publication of ENBOTS at UNFCCC COP-10 is provided by the UNFCCC Secretariat. The opinions expressed in ENBOTS are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD and funders. Excerpts from ENBOTS may be used in non-commercial publications only with appropriate academic citation. For permission to use this material in commercial publications, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <kimo@iisd.org>. Electronic versions of issues of ENBOTS from COP-10 can be found on the Linkages website at http://enb.iisd.org/climate/cop10/enbots/. The ENBOTS Team at COP-10 can be contacted at Pabellón 9 and by e-mail at <charlotte@iisd.org>.





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