Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development
Vol. 12 No. 109
Friday, 11 June 1999
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE MEETINGS OF THE FCCC SUBSIDIARY BODIES
THURSDAY, 10 JUNE 1999
The Joint Working Group on compliance met in the morning to consider the draft report
of the meeting. The Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and the Subsidiary Body for
Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) met in the evening to adopt draft conclusions
and decisions. Contact groups were convened on the budget and Annex I communications.
JOINT WORKING GROUP ON COMPLIANCE
The Joint Working Group (JWG) on compliance discussed the meetings draft report.
Co-Chair Rønneberg proposed including a paragraph noting that the JWG had agreed on the
need for a workshop on compliance after COP-5 and between the 11th and 12th sessions of
the subsidiary bodies (SB-11 and SB-12). SAUDI ARABIA sought clarification on the
meetings arrangements and agenda. The G-77/CHINA, supported by the MARSHALL ISLANDS,
SAUDI ARABIA, INDONESIA and BRAZIL, proposed convening the workshop immediately prior to
COP-5s opening, to ensure stronger developing country participation. On guidelines
for the workshops agenda, she called for a general exchange of views on principles
and experiences with other conventions. There would be no negotiated outcome. The EU,
supported by JAPAN and the US, proposed de-coupling the workshop with the COP-5 process,
noting that there will be too many competing responsibilities. AUSTRALIA, with CANADA,
proposed holding the workshop well in advance of COP-5 to ensure that participants will
have time to fully benefit from the discussions. RUSSIA suggested exercising caution in
approaching the experiences of other conventions, as the FCCC is unique. Co-Chair
Rønneberg suspended the meeting to allow for informal consultations.
Based on these consultations, Co-Chair Rønneberg produced a draft text that: requests
the Secretariat to convene a workshop prior to COP-5; notes the need to facilitate
developing country participation; and outlines the workshops agenda. The G-77/CHINA,
with SAUDI ARABIA and IRAN, stressed the need to ensure that those developing country
participants interested in attending are sponsored. In the afternoon, delegates reconvened
to consider the draft report and debated references to, inter alia, the type of report
resulting from the workshop. Delegates agreed to paragraphs stating that the Co-Chairs
will organize a workshop in early October 1999. The purpose of the workshop will be to
informally exchange views, including experiences under other conventions. The Co-Chairs
will make a factual, informal report, with no recommendations, on this workshop. The JWG
urged all Parties in a position to facilitate developing country participation to make
voluntary contributions. The JWG also agreed that a workshop is needed after COP-5 and
between SB-11 and SB-12.
Chair Chow invited Parties to consider guidelines for the preparation of national
communications (FCCC/SBSTA/1999/L.5 and Add.1). He informed delegates that discussion on
the non-inventory part of the guidelines relating to projections, policies and measures,
financial resources and transfer of technology, and other matters, was not concluded in
the contact group convened at this session, and will continue at SBSTA-11.
In a section of the draft conclusions requesting Parties not using the common reporting
format for certain sectoral background data tables on LULUCF to specify alternative
formats, CHINA added a specific reference noting that this request included Annex I
Parties. On the proposed title for the non-inventory part of the guidelines, the EU
suggested shortening it to read "UNFCCC reporting guidelines on national
reports," as agreed in the contact group. ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA said the title should
not be amended until consideration of the content had been completed. Delegates agreed to
retain the current title but with a note that it will be subject to further discussion at
SB-11. In addition, CHINA deleted reference to an instruction that a document reflecting
the status of discussions on the non-inventory part of the guidelines be produced "in
English only." Delegates adopted the documents as amended. Chair Chow noted that they
will be forwarded to SBI for its consideration.
On the draft conclusions on cooperation with relevant international organizations,
(FCCC/SBSTA/1999/L.7), the EU and ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA inquired about the joint project on
capacity building between the UN agencies and the Secretariat, noting that Parties were
not aware of the details. The EU deleted text that she said implied approval by Parties of
the joint project. She suggested referring to "the development of a joint
project" and proposed that SBSTA request the Secretariat to provide further
information for consideration by Parties no later than SB-11. ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA,
supported by the EU, deleted references to "within available resources" and
Regarding cooperation with other conventions, SWITZERLAND said cooperation should not
only be limited to the secretariats. CANADA, with ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA, stated that whereas
broad cooperation between the conventions was desirable, it is still unclear how it would
work, and preferred retaining the current language. Delegates adopted the draft
conclusions as amended.
On the draft conclusions on LULUCF (FCCC/SBSTA/1999/L.9), ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA
questioned a sentence he said could be interpreted as signaling that substantive
decision-making on LULUCF will take place at SBSTA-11. After lengthy discussions,
delegates agreed to delete the text that some delegations said was ambiguous. The draft
conclusions were adopted as amended.
Delegates met in an evening session to consider draft conclusions on aspects of
national communications from non-Annex I Parties. On the input from Parties to the GEF
review of enabling activities, delegates adopted conclusions requiring: the GEF to include
in its annual reports to the COP information about progress made on the GEF review; and
the Secretariat to prepare a report on efforts to assist developing countries in the
implementation of enabling activities. The PHILIPPINES deleted a reference to the scope of
enabling activities, including various activities that facilitate the implementation of
Convention Articles 4.1 (national inventories) and 12.1 (national communications).
On the provision of financial and technical support, delegates adopted conclusions
asking the Secretariat to request GEF to provide dates of disbursement of funds for
enabling-activity projects for preparation of non-Annex I initial national communications.
The PHILIPPINES, with the EU, suggested continuing consideration of this issue at the next
session. The conclusions also suggested that the list of projects submitted by non-Annex I
Parties be brought to the attention of GEF and "as appropriate" other financing
agencies, and required the contact groups Co-Chairs to prepare a framework on
elements of a draft decision, based on proposals by the G-77/CHINA and the EU. Debates
centered on the positioning of the words "as appropriate," whether it should be
before or after "GEF" and the nature of information the Secretariat should
require of the GEF, whether it should be "dates of disbursement of funds" or
"the status and factors of implementation of" enabling activity projects.
On timing for non-Annex I national communications, the SBI considered draft conclusions
by the Co-Chairs of the contact group, including proposed draft decisions by the
G-77/CHINA and the EU as annexes. An amendment was proposed by the PHILIPPINES requesting
the Co-Chairs of the contact group on non-Annex I communications to prepare a document
providing a framework for "elements for draft decisions," based on the
G-77/CHINA and the EU proposals contained in the annexes. The EU requested that the
annexes reflect the proposals as originally submitted. The conclusions were adopted as
Delegates also considered draft conclusions on different aspects of national
communications by Annex I Parties. Conclusions were adopted on annual inventories of
national greenhouse gas data for 1996 and on a future review process, including that under
Articles 7 and 8 (communication and review of information) of the Kyoto Protocol.
Conclusions referred by SBSTA to SBI were also considered. On FCCC reporting guidelines on
projections, policies and measures, financial resources, transfer of technology and other
matters, CANADA noted SBSTAs agreement to hold further discussion. Conclusions
referred by SBSTA on review processes for GHG inventories of Annex I Parties and a work
programme on methodological issues relating to Articles 5 (methodological issues), 7 and 8
of the Protocol were adopted.
CONTACT GROUPS AND INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS
Budget: The contact group met in a morning session to continue discussing
proposed SBI conclusions and a draft decision to COP-5 on the programme budget for the
biennium 2000-2001. The group also considered two tables. One summarizes the proposed
budget for the 2000-2001 biennium amounting to a total of US$25.277 million. The other
outlines the budget for Secretariat staffing. The FCCC Executive Secretary, indicated that
the proposed budget reduces funds allocated to programme activities in 2000 and increases
those available in 2001. He noted that the staffing table reflects a proposed reduction of
staff from 100 to 81. A group of countries requested that the revised proposed budget
reflect the priority to be given to the CDM through inclusion of a separate programme.
Several delegations noted the need for more detail on programme activities and staffing in
the budget. The group undertook a paragraph-by-paragraph discussion of the proposed SBI
conclusions and draft decision. The discussion focused on bracketed text in the draft
decision approving carry-overs to cover part of the budget period and approving a
contingency budget for non-Annex I communications. The group agreed to text approving a
draw-down of US$2 million from the unspent balance or contributions (carry-overs) from the
previous biennium to cover part of the 2000-2001 budget. The provision on a contingency
budget for non-Annex I communications remained bracketed.
Annex I Communications: The contact group on Annex I communications met in the
afternoon to consider the non-inventory part of the draft guidelines. The group accepted
wording on several paragraphs and exchanged views on text and a table relating to policies
and measures. Participants suggested numerous amendments to the table. Several delegates
noted the need to consider this complex issue further. In considering how to advance the
issue, the group agreed that one document should be produced containing Parties
ideas and remaining brackets, as well as any redrafting considered necessary by the
Co-Chairs to reflect and synthesize ideas emerging from discussions. The contact group is
scheduled to continue its deliberations.
IN THE CORRIDORS
As negotiations at the subsidiary bodies draw to a close, observers have noted that an
undeclared truce between the EU and the Umbrella Group on the issue of ceilings has held
up. Participants report that the issue is unlikely to be tackled until it forms part of a
negotiated package at COP-6. Later in the day, many delegates also indicated that
agreement had been reached on a way to proceed on the Protocol mechanisms, despite
conflicting rumors throughout the day.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
Joint SBI/SBSTA Plenary: The joint session is expected to meet at 10:00 am.
Annex I Communications: The group is expected to convene at 1:00 pm.
SBSTA Plenary: SBSTA is expected to meet at 3:00 pm.
SBI Plenary: SBI is expected to meet at 3:00 pm.
For other meetings, consult the meeting board.