Earth Negotiations Bulletin

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Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

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 meeting’s 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 meeting’s 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-5’s opening, to ensure stronger developing country participation. On guidelines for the workshop’s 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 workshop’s 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.

SBSTA

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 "resources permitting."

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.

SBI

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 group’s 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 amended.

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 SBSTA’s 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.

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@iisd.org). 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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