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Sixth Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
The Hague, The Netherlands; 13 - 24 November 2000

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Highlights from Monday, 13 November:

Opening Ceremony
The Sixth Conference of the Parties (COP-6) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the resumed thirteenth sessions of the UNFCCC's subsidiary bodies opened on Monday, 13 November, in The Hague, the Netherlands. Delegates met in the morning for a welcoming ceremony. This was followed by the opening COP-6 Plenary, during which Jan Pronk, Dutch Minister of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment, was elected COP-6 President. Participants then considered organizational matters, adopted the meeting's agenda, and heard general statements by delegates. The thirteenth sessions of the UNFCCC subsidiary bodies resumed late afternoon in a joint session to consider adverse effects, the Protocol mechanisms, a compliance regime, and capacity building. The Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) convened in the evening to consider several agenda items, including land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF), guidelines under Protocol Articles 5 (methodological issues), 7 (communication of information) and 8 (review of information), and policies and measures. The Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) addressed organizational matters, national communications, the financial mechanism, and administrative and financial matters. In addition, contact groups met to discuss the mechanisms and technology transfer. Above photo (L-R): UNFCCC Executive Secretary Michael Zammit Cutajar, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, and UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer

Extended Photo Coverage of COP-6


COP-6 President-designate Jan Pronk welcomed participants. Noting the "unmatched success" achieved by negotiators at Kyoto in reaching agreement on quantified emissions targets, he said COP-6 participants face the greater challenge of agreeing on the instruments and details to achieve these targets. He noted that developing countries are the least culpable for problems resulting from climate change and have the least economic resilience, yet will suffer the most devastating consequences. While acknowledging the significant differences between countries' positions on key issues, he said that reasonable compromises are possible on all issues, and urged delegates to take principled, balanced and credible decisions.

RealAudio of Pronk's welcoming statements:  part one  part two

Wim Deetman, Mayor of The Hague, expressed the hope that this would become the city where history will be made in the development of climate change management. He particularly welcomed young participants and said it was important that their voices are heard.

Real Audio of Wim Deetman's welcoming statement


Dutch actor Aus Greidanus of short quatrains on climate change written by Dutch national poet Gerrit Komrij.


In a pre-recorded video message to delegates, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan stated that the task of reducing greenhouse gas emissions was enormous, and would require "radical change." He said success would require a credible rulebook on climate change, a new path and commitment to development, and a convincing signal to the business community that reducing greenhouse gases is in their best interests. He drew attention to support at the recent United Nations Millennium Summit for every effort to be made to bring the Kyoto Protocol into force by 2002.

RealAudio message of Kofi Annan

Robert Watson, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), described the current state of scientific understanding of the Earth's climate system, highlighted the vulnerability of ecological systems, and underlined the need for effective policy and technological responses. Noting that the last two decades have been the warmest in 1000 years, he said the question is no longer whether the climate is changing in response to human activities, but rather how much, how fast, and where. He noted a projected increase in global mean surface temperatures of about 1.5oC - 6oC by 2100 (almost double the previous IPCC predictions), an increase in sea levels, and increases in the frequency and magnitude of the El Nino effect, and outlined the negative implications of these increases for water resources, agriculture, natural ecosystems and human health.

RealAudio of Robert Watson's presentation:
Part 1  Part 2

Plenary: Opening Session of COP

The dias during the official opening of the COP

Jan Szyszko, President of COP-5, opened COP-6, stating that it was possible to reach agreement and ensure that the Protocol entered into effect before the end of 2002, but that many difficult issues had still to be resolved. He expressed his gratitude to those who had provided assistance during his presidency.

Real Audio of Jan Szyszko's opening statement

Jan Pronk, Minister of Housing, Spatial Planning and Environment of the Netherlands, was elected President of COP 6.

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Michael Zammit Cutajar drew attention to the evidence presented by Robert Watson, and underscored that action to deal with climate change cannot be delayed. He said developing countries should feel supported in their efforts to address climate change and its impacts, and all Parties should consider the Protocol to be ratifiable. He said substantive results should be reached during the first week of COP-6 so political agreements could be sealed by mid-next week, allowing technical drafting to take place before close of the meeting.

Real Audio of Michael Zammit Cutajar's opening statement

NIGERIA, on behalf of the G-77/CHINA, said COP-6 discussions should be based on equity and justice. Noting that many Annex I Parties had not fulfilled their UNFCCC commitments on reducing emissions or on technology transfer and financial assistance, he said his group rejected the proposal by a "key Annex I country" tying the provision of financial assistance for developing countries to some form of new emissions reduction commitment by these countries. He urged provision of funding through a mechanism other than the GEF.

FRANCE, on behalf of the EU, stressed that domestic actions should be the main means for fulfilling developed country commitments.


Extended Photo Coverage of COP-6

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Version fran�aise: BNT
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