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Drafting Group I, considering oceans and atmosphere issues, met briefly for the first time Friday morning. Svante Bodin, Chair of the informal contact group to Drafting Group I presented a progress report and he tabled a consolidated paper on Implementation of International Fishery Instruments.

In the afternoon, the Group considered a draft decision regarding the implementation of the Programme of Action (POA) for the sustainable development of SIDS. TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, on behalf of AOSIS and the G77/CHINA, endorsed the draft with a few technical adjustments. He added a line to the paragraph on a vulnerability index stating that the CSD welcomes the offer by Malta to host the center for the computation of the index. To the paragraph on protection of coastal and marine resources, which recognizes relevant international agreements, he added a reference to decision 2/10 of the Second Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Many other delegations, including the EU, US, SAMOA, AUSTRALIA, and SAUDI ARABIA, generally supported the draft.

The EU proposed a series of amendments, including: adding a reference to regional approaches to implementing the POA to the paragraph on strategy and policy coordination; deleting the paragraph referring to DPCSD’s role as coordinator of the POA; adding language referring to the private sector’s role in sustainable energy and tourism development; reformulating text on disaster reduction urging SIDS to explore mechanisms for regional cooperation between SIDS, and calling upon the international community to support SIDS’ efforts in this area; and deleting paragraphs calling for support from the international community to improve air and maritime transport for SIDS. JAPAN supported DPCSD as coordinator.

SAUDI ARABIA said a paragraph noting conclusions from the second assessment report of the IPCC carries some incomplete facts and he proposed its deletion. He also deleted a reference to SIDS’ dependence on imported petroleum goods “largely for transport and the generation of electricity.” He asked for clarification regarding regulation of air transport and suggested deleting the reference. The CHAIR cautioned that a proposed deletion of an acknowledgment of the DPCSD’s role in coordinating the Barbados POA may take credibility away from the UN.

Delegates also debated text referring to the “expected” effects of global climate change and sea-level rise, including increased tropical storms and inundation. AUSTRALIA proposed “possible” effects, while SAUDI ARABIA proposed “potential” effects. The EU, US, and ICELAND supported “expected.” UNEP quoted from the IPCC assessment report on climate change that “knowledge is currently insufficient regarding tropical storms” and suggested “possible.” The CHAIR bracketed “possible.”

SAUDI ARABIA proposed deletion of two paragraphs referring to human influence on climate, encouraging the Ad Hoc Group on the Berlin Mandate to draft a legal instrument on reduction limitation objectives, and calling upon the international community to support the efforts of SIDS to adapt to sea-level rise. The US, JAPAN, ICELAND and SAMOA “strongly” supported retaining these paragraphs.

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