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Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

Vol. 12 No. 100
Tuesday, 01 June 1999

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE FCCC SUBSIDIARY BODIES
31 MAY 1999

Delegates to the tenth session of the FCCC subsidiary bodies discussed compliance under the Kyoto Protocol during informal consultations and attended a briefing on the Technical Workshop on the Protocol Mechanisms. The Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) discussed, inter alia: cooperation with international organizations; education, training and public awareness; and research and systematic observation. The Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) considered non-Annex I communications.

INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS

Delegates exchanged views on compliance during informal consultations and were presented with a synthesis of submissions by Parties. Australia, Canada, the EU, New Zealand, AOSIS, South Africa and the US made submissions. Harald Dovland (Norway) and Espen Rønneberg, (Marshall Islands) were nominated to co-chair the joint working group on compliance.

BRIEFING ON THE TECHNICAL WORKSHOPS

SBSTA Chair Kok Kee Chow (Malaysia) and SBI Vice Chair Mohammad Reza Salamat (Iran) briefed delegates on the Technical Workshop on Protocol Mechanisms held from 9-15 April 1999 in Bonn-Bad Godesberg, Germany. Key topics at the workshop included reference to case/baseline methodologies, additionality, verification and reporting in relation to the clean development mechanism (CDM) and Article 6 (joint implementation) projects. Further issues discussed included the validation and funding of projects under the CDM, the adaptation component and reporting, verification and accountability related to emissions trading. Participants also exchanged views on capacity building for developing countries.

SBSTA

Chair Chow emphasized SBSTA’s role in ensuring that the Buenos Aires Plan of Action’s goals are met. He drew attention to the election at COP-4 of Lambert Gnapelet (Central African Republic) as SBSTA Vice Chair and Andrej Kranjc (Slovenia) as Rapporteur. Michael Zammit Cutajar, FCCC Executive Secretary, emphasized COP-5’s importance as a potential “stepping stone” to produce outcomes that strengthen and maintain national capacities for developing countries and economies in transition. He said the subsidiary body sessions should identify what COP-5 needs to achieve and what other meetings and workshops are needed to help implement COP-6’s objectives.

Regarding SBSTA’s agenda (FCCC/SBSTA/1999/1), Chair Chow noted that both SBSTA and SBI would consider agenda items on adverse effects, compliance, AIJ in the pilot phase, and mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol. He reported the proposal to defer consideration of the impact of single projects on emissions in the commitment period and the scientific and methodological aspects of the proposal by Brazil (allocation of responsibilities among emitters based on historical emissions) to SBSTA-11. ICELAND supported this proposal.

SAUDI ARABIA, supported by CHINA and INDIA, said some issues may not be adequately dealt with and suggested SBSTA and SBI jointly address common agenda items. CHINA expressed concern over the possible closure of the activities implemented jointly (AIJ) pilot phase and smooth transition to project implemented under Protocol Articles 6 (joint implementation) and 12 (CDM), stating that current experience is inadequate. He questioned how AIJ can make a transition to Article 6 and Article 12 projects, noting that AIJ is supposed to be between Annex I and non-Annex I Parties and does not result in credits, while Article 6 projects are between or among developed country Parties.

On cooperation with relevant scientific organizations, Robert Watson, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), noted that IPCC now has its most intense work programme ever, largely in response to requests from SBSTA or the FCCC, and said it now faces a significant budget problem that will require more funding from governments. He noted IPCC’s acceptance of the Special Report on “Aviation and the Global Atmosphere,” as well as the list of Policy-relevant Scientific Questions that will be addressed in the Synthesis Report of the Third Assessment Report (TAR). He also noted significant progress on preparation of the TAR. Several delegates, including AUSTRALIA, the EU, and JAPAN, called for steps to resolve IPCC’s funding problems.

On cooperation with other UN bodies, the Secretariat drew attention to collaboration with UNCTAD, UNDP, UNEP and UNIDO. SAUDI ARABIA and SWITZERLAND called for the scope of future efforts to be widened beyond the Protocol mechanisms. The GAMBIA, the MARSHALL ISLANDS, and ZIMBABWE emphasized the importance of capacity building, particularly for non-Annex I Parties. TANZANIA and ZIMBABWE called for elaboration of what capacity building means and said the focus should be on strengthening national capacities. UNEP said it had been collaborating with the FCCC Secretariat on a capacity-building project relating to CDM and directed at developing countries and economies in transition.

On cooperation with other conventions, Chair Chow noted the emphasis placed on cooperation with the Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD) and the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD). Gregoire de Kalbermatten, CCD Secretariat, said as the issues addressed by FCCC, CCD and CBD are intimately connected, initiatives to build stronger links should be encouraged. He stated that the benefits of inter-Convention synergies would not be fully realized as long as resources were lacking, particularly in developing countries. Kalemani Mulongoy, CBD Secretariat, highlighted areas where SBSTA-10 could assist the CBD’s work programme, including: considering the best modalities to address coral bleaching, possibly through the organization of a joint expert activity; furthering the understanding of forest biological diversity and climate change interactions; and contributing climate-related content to CBD’s work on education and public awareness.

On education, training and public awareness, Chair Chow noted that since only three submissions had been received, the Secretariat was unable to formulate proposals on how to integrate this issue into SBSTA’s work programme and proposed setting a new date for submissions. The EU suggested further pursuing education and public awareness in the work on “good practices” in policies and measures. He called on the Secretariat to advise on the likely costs of undertaking further work on education, training and public awareness. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA noted the need for a technical guide to support developing countries and welcomed the participation of the private sector in promoting awareness activities.

On research and systematic observation, Kirk Dawson, Global Climate Observatory Systems (GCOS) reported on activities undertaken in response to the decisions of SBSTA-9 and COP-4. He stressed the need for, inter alia: greater guidance for Parties’ submissions on national plans and programmes for systematic observation; long term funding for ongoing operations; and systems consistent with infrastructural levels in developing countries. He said GCOS was exploring the establishment of an intergovernmental board to provide guidance on addressing priority issues and proposing a series of implementation meetings that could also be used to identify regional scientific policy or funding issues. He called for SBSTA’s assistance in mobilizing the necessary resources.

SBI

Chair Bakary Kante introduced the new officers, Mohammad Reza Salamat (Iran), Vice-Chair of SBI and Klaus Radunsky (Austria), Rapporteur. He said that, following consultations with the COP Bureau, the second review of adequacy of commitments would be addressed at COP-6; Turkey’s request to be taken out of Annex I would be discussed in the run-up to COP-5; and Kazakhstan’s request to amend Annex I would be on the provisional agenda for COP-5.

The PHILIPPINES, supported by CHINA, objected to wording in the agenda item on non-Annex I communications referring to the “process” for considering national communications, suggesting instead “matters related to the consideration of non-Annex I communications.” CHINA, with the PHILIPPINES and the REPUBLIC OF KOREA, said the item on the timing of second non-Annex I communications was premature, as only 11 developing countries had submitted first national communications. He attributed this delay to the GEF. SAUDI ARABIA, supported by BOTSWANA, said the implementation of FCCC Articles 4.8 and 4.9 and Protocol Articles 2.3 and 3.14 (adverse effects) should be dealt with in a joint session.

SWITZERLAND stated that while this SBI session should advance as many elements of the Buenos Aires Programme of Action as possible, it should also strive to make progress on implementation of the Convention, particularly Articles 4.8, 4.9 and 12. He called for a strong and enforceable compliance regime and reliable procedures for verification and certification.

On the consideration of non-Annex I Parties’ communications, the PHILIPPINES questioned the purpose of this agenda item, as the Convention calls for consideration of national communications by all Parties. The EU, with the US, said proper consideration of initial national communications should result in improved second national communications. He stated that national communications can help identify further means to assist non-Annex I Parties in their efforts to implement Article 12 (communication of information) and indicated the need for a COP decision on the consideration process before the timing of second national communications is decided. The US said the revision of guidelines was key to improving second national communications and proposed expanding the guidelines to provide for, inter alia, broader coverage and disaggregation of greenhouse gases (GHG) inventories and information on GHG emission trends. AUSTRALIA supported revision of guidelines for non-Annex I communications and said it should conclude before the lodgement date of second national communications. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA said consideration of non-Annex I Parties’ communications should identify their financial and technical difficulties in GHG limitation and should be undertaken when more non-Annex I Party communications are available.

On provision of financial and technical support for the preparation of non-Annex I communications, the G-77/CHINA inquired about the non-inclusion of an agenda item on the financial mechanism and said timing of second national communications for non-Annex I countries was subject to availability of financial resources. The EU highlighted benefits to developing countries from preparation of national communications. JAPAN expected the GEF to be utilized effectively but would consider other means to enhance developing country capacity building to accelerate the preparation of national communications. TOGO emphasized the need to involve local experts. The US proposed a technical assessment of individual GHG inventories and a forum for countries that have submitted communications to exchange experiences. BRAZIL stressed the need to involve all the relevant sectors creating national inventories as it would generate awareness and contribute to more credible numbers. At the request of several Parties, Chair Kante agreed to resume discussion of this topic on Tuesday afternoon.

On inputs of Parties to the GEF review of enabling activities, the EU and US supported Switzerland’s written proposal that all bilateral and multilateral contributions, not just GEF efforts, be taken into consideration. The G-77/CHINA requested more information on the review process. Chair Kante said the Secretariat would take these comments into consideration in preparing its report.

On implementation of Articles 4.8 and 4.9 (adverse effects), the Chair conveyed the decision of the SBI/SBSTA Chairs to set up a Friends of the Chair group, consisting of the Vice-Chair of SBI, Coordinator of the G-77/China, the EU, EIT and JUSCANZ, to finalize the workshop’s terms of reference on the issue.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY

JOINT SBI/SBSTA: SBI and SBSTA will meet in the Maritim Room at 10:00 am.

SBI: SBI is expected to meet in the Maritim Room at 3:00 pm.

SBSTA: SBSTA is expected to meet in the Beethoven Room at 3:00 pm.

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), publisher of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin, is pleased to announce the appointment of David Runnalls as its new President and CEO.

This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © (enb@iisd.org) is written and edited by Paola Bettelli (pbettelli@iisd.org), Chad Carpenter (chadc@iisd.org), Angela Churie (churie@l.kth.se), Valerie Colas (vcolas@iisd.org), Lavanya Rajamani (lavanya.rajamani@hertford.ox.ac.uk) and Chris Spence (spencechris@hotmail.com). The Editor is Pamela Chasek, Ph.D. (pam@iisd.org) and the Managing Editor is Langston James "Kimo" Goree (kimo@iisd.org). The WWW Content Editor is Peter Doran (pfdoran@ecology.u-net.com). Digital engineering by Andrei Henry (ahenry@iisd.ca) and David Fernau (david@virtualstockholm.net). Electronic Posting by Jeffrey Anderson (janderson@iisd.ca) and Kevin Cooney (kcooney@uclink4.berkeley.edu). French translation by Mongi Gadhoum (mongi.gadoum@enb.intl.tn). Logistics coordinated by Molly Rosenman (mrosenman@iisd.org). The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Canada (through CIDA), the United States (through USAID), the Swiss Agency for Environment, Forests and Landscape, and the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID). General Support for the Bulletin during 1999 is provided by the the German Federal Ministry of Environment (BMU) and the German Federal Ministry of Development Cooperation (BMZ), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Community (DG- XI), the Ministries of Environment and Foreign Affairs of Austria, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Environment of Norway, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Environment of Finland, the Government of Sweden, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Ministry for the Environment in Iceland. Specific funding for this meeting has been provided by the UNFCCC Secretariat. The Bulletin can be contacted by e-mail at (enb@iisd.org) and at tel: +1-212- 644-0204; fax: +1-212-644- 0206. IISD can be contacted by e-mail at (info@iisd.ca) and at 161 Portage Avenue East, 6th Floor, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0Y4, Canada. The opinions expressed in the Earth Negotiations Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD and other funders. Excerpts from the Earth Negotiations Bulletin may be used in non-commercial publications only and only with appropriate academic citation. For permission to use this material in commercial publications, contact the Managing Editor. Electronic versions are sent to e-mail distribution lists and can be found on the Linkages WWW server at http://enb.iisd.org/. The satellite image by The Living Earth, Inc. http://livingearth.com. For information on the ENB, send e-mail to (enb@iisd.org).

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