Published by the International
Institute for Sustainable Development
Vol. 12 No. 103
04 June 1999
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE FCCC SUBSIDIARY BODIES MEETINGS
THURSDAY, 3 JUNE 1999
The Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) considered
administrative and financial matters. The Subsidiary Body for
Technological and Scientific Advice (SBSTA) discussed
development and transfer of technologies. A contact group met to
consider guidelines for Annex I communications. There were
informal consultations on research and systematic observation.
On administrative and financial matters, Chair Kante invited
delegates to consider the following agenda items together: the
programme budget for the biennium 2000-2001; income and budget
performance in the biennium 1998-99; and arrangements for
administrative support to the Convention.
Many delegates said they did not support the proposed 50%
budget increase or the proposed 59% rise in the number of staff.
The G-77/CHINA stated that, although it has often been a
proponent of strong and steady growth in Conventions budgets,
it cannot support the extent of the proposed increase, and noted
the current trend among many Parties to support zero-growth
budgets. He expressed concern that budget proposals anticipated
outcomes of COP decisions that had not yet been made. The EU,
supported by the US, CANADA and RUSSIA, suggested that the
Secretariat could prepare several other options for a draft
budget. He proposed scenarios based on increases of 0%, 5% and
7.5% per annum, and suggested deferring a decision on the budget
until COP-5. The US and CANADA preferred resolving the issue at
this session, given COP-5s heavy workload.
RUSSIA drew participants attention to political realities,
stating that it would be very difficult to justify asking for
such a substantial increase in funding from decision makers back
in delegates respective countries. CANADA emphasized that the
Secretariat should focus on its facilitative function. IRAN
suggested that the Secretariat provide at least two reports on
biennium budgets, thus allowing later drafts to take into
account additional expenses resulting from COP decisions. He
expressed concern over the number of consultants hired and the
criteria applied to their selection. The PHILIPPINES noted that
a budget increase does not necessarily benefit the Parties. She
said greater South-South coordination on capacity building could
take some pressure off the Secretariat.
In reference to certain programme activities outlined in the
budget, CHINA stated that the Secretariat was not mandated to
provide policy guidance to Parties but rather the other way
around. He noted the need for the budget to reflect the clean
development mechanism (CDM) as a priority. EGYPT pointed to
streamlining FCCC programme activities with those undertaken in
other fora as a means to reduce expenditures. INDIA inquired
about the Secretariats policies on gratis personnel and
suggested that the Secretariat prepare a table comparing the
proposed budget to previous ones.
On contingencies for conference services, the G-77/CHINA said
the UN General Assembly (UNGA) should be asked to include the
FCCCs requirements in its budget. The US said Parties should
pay for conference servicing, and suggested requesting the UNGA
to take a decision on this matter.
Michael Zammit Cutajar, Executive Secretary of the FCCC,
referred to the Secretariats predicament when preparing the
budget given that it had not received guidance from the Parties.
He said this discussion would help remedy this lack of guidance
and noted that the proposed budget for the 2000-2001 biennium
followed previously used methodology. He noted difficulties in
preparing a table or chart allowing comparisons of activities
from biennium to biennium. He emphasized that while delegations
did not agree to a 50% budget increase, most had acknowledged
the increase in the Secretariats workload. He suggested
delegates consider deferring consideration of anticipated
budgetary outcomes of upcoming COP-6 decisions until COP-6.
The Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technological Advice
(SBSTA) met to continue consideration of development and
transfer of technology. On regional workshops to be organized by
the Secretariat, JAPAN announced that it would give US$100,000
for the Asia and Pacific workshop. He noted the important input
the forthcoming IPCC Special Report will make to the
Consultative Process on development and transfer of technology
and stressed the need for close coordination between SBSTA and
The G-77/CHINA, with NIGERIA and CHINA, underscored the
importance of technology transfer to developing countries. While
recognizing the difficulties of making it work outside open
market mechanisms, he reiterated that technology transfer could
not be undertaken under the market process. He stressed the need
to address technology transfer in the broadest sense and
incorporate elements of capacity building, public awareness,
installation and smooth transfer from the donor to the
recipient. He highlighted the need for rules and procedures to
govern the transfer of technology and called for an increase in
the Secretariats budgetary allocation to fund capacity building
for technology transfer.
CANADA stated that technology transfer is critical to
achieving the long-term goals of the Convention and Protocol.
She described the private sector as the main vehicle for the
transfer and said the challenge is to create an enabling
environment and implement enabling activities leading to
continuous transfer. She added that investments associated with
the mechanisms (CDM and JI) will be instrumental in the transfer
of efficient and effective climate change technology to non-
Annex I Parties and economies in transition. CHINA cautioned
against redefining technology transfer and stressed that
transfer under the Convention should occur on non-commercial
terms. She said existing transfers of technology were inadequate
to meet the objectives of the Convention and stated that the
main barrier is the political will of developed countries.
Regarding technology transfer under the CDM, she said this
should be additional to that occurring under the Convention.
CONTACT GROUPS AND INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS
The contact group on Annex I Party national communications
met to consider draft guidelines for reporting on non-inventory
issues. The group adopted a number of amendments to the text
that had been drafted at an earlier workshop held in Bonn. There
was a divergence of views regarding whether Parties should
include gross domestic product (GDP) and greenhouse gas
emissions measurements per capita in their national
communications. The paragraphs including such reference were
bracketed and deferred to a smaller group for consideration.
Delegates also discussed the use of the terms should and
shall in the draft guidelines. They agreed to bracket them
pending further discussion.
The informal consultation on research and systematic
observation met to discuss and make largely textual amendments
to a Chairs draft of conclusions for SBSTA. The conclusions
recognize the continued degradation of observation capacity in
developing countries; urge Parties to provide enhanced support
to capacity building; and require the Global Climate Observing
System (GCOS) Secretariat to prepare regional implementation
plans and options for improving observation capacity. Delegates
pointed out the lack of emphasis on research in the conclusions
and decided to make it clear that only systematic observation
was covered. They decided to reconvene on Friday to discuss a
IN THE CORRIDORS
While negotiators report that they are in Bonn to, among
other things, work out the operational details of the Kyoto
mechanisms, some NGO analysts have suggested that debates
continue to reflect a lack of resolution on the bigger political
questions. In discussions on LULUCF and the revision of
guidelines for national reporting by Annex I Parties, observers
detect that overarching political debates about where the burden
of responsibility for tackling GHG emissions should lie continue
to skew interventions.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR
SBSTA: SBSTA will meet at 10:00 am in the Maritim Room.
For other meetings, please consult the meeting board.
Editors Note: In the afternoon, the subsidiary bodies meetings
were interrupted by a bomb threat to the Maritim Hotel. All
meetings for the remainder of the day were cancelled.