Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development
Vol. 12 No. 114
Wednesday, 27 October 1999
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE FIFTH CONFERENCE OF THE
PARTIES TO THE FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON
TUESDAY, 26 OCTOBER 1999
Delegates met all day in a joint session of the
Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and
the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) to consider: FCCC
Articles 4.8 and 4.9 (adverse effects); compliance; capacity building;
activities implemented jointly (AIJ); and the Protocol mechanisms. A
Joint Working Group on compliance met in the evening and contact
groups were convened on non-Annex I communications and guidelines for
Annex I communications.
JOINT SBI/SBSTA SESSION
ADVERSE EFFECTS: Former SBSTA Chair Kok
Kee Chow (Malaysia) reported on a workshop on implementation of FCCC
Articles 4.8 and 4.9 (adverse effects) held from 21 - 24 September
1999 in Bonn. Many delegates said the workshop was a useful exercise.
The G-77/CHINA said it had highlighted the need for another workshop
prior to COP-6.
Regarding information gaps on adverse effects,
the MARSHALL ISLANDS called for more robust research on policies and
measures in Annex I countries. AUSTRALIA, with CANADA and the GAMBIA,
said the absence of information on the effect of policies and measures
should not be an obstacle to meeting the needs of the truly
vulnerable. CANADA and SAMOA highlighted the need to act through the
national communications process. SENEGAL called for an evaluation of
vulnerability in Africa by COP-6.
On the impact of response measures on the
economies of oil producing and other countries, SAUDI ARABIA referred
to recent studies suggesting oil producing countries will suffer
economically from response measures and, with KUWAIT and LIBYA, said
developed countries should remove market distortions in the energy
sector. The US said there was uncertainty over the impact of
implementation of response measures. JAPAN and the MARSHALL ISLANDS
said consideration of compensation was unacceptable as it is not
provided for in the FCCC or the Protocol.
On the status of negotiations, several delegates,
including SAUDI ARABIA, KUWAIT, QATAR and the UNITED ARAB EMIRATES,
said equal progress must be made on all issues, and the Buenos Aires
Plan of Action (BAPA) should be achieved as a complete package.
UGANDA, BURKINA FASO, the MARSHALL ISLANDS and SAMOA said not all
issues could be advanced simultaneously and stated that waiting for a
package would delay action.
Numerous delegates stressed prioritization of the
needs of least developed countries. BANGLADESH suggested that the GEF
establish a separate fund to meet these countries’ needs. A contact
group will be convened on this issue.
COMPLIANCE: On procedures and mechanisms
relating to compliance under the Kyoto Protocol, Espen Rønnenberg,
Co-Chair of the Joint Working Group on compliance (JWG), made a brief
report of the informal exchange of views on compliance held in Vienna
between 6 - 7 October 1999. Issues discussed included: design of and
factors triggering the compliance system; role of the expert review
team and COP/MOP; and the consequences of non-compliance.
CAPACITY BUILDING: On capacity building,
many delegates welcomed the G77/CHINA draft decision on capacity
building for developing countries, containing a list of developing
country needs, as a basis for adopting a decision at COP-5.
On recipients of capacity building, the G77/CHINA
said these are developing countries only, while the EU, KAZAKHSTAN and
others said it included countries with economies in transition.
The MARSHALL ISLANDS with the SUDAN, the GAMBIA,
AOSIS and CHINA said the process had to be country driven rather than
agency driven and must follow the guidance of the COP. The PHILIPPINES
recommended that capacity building be “for,” “by” and “in”
developing countries and said the GEF initiative was the antithesis of
capacity building. CANADA, supporting the GEF initiative, urged the
GEF to further develop its interagency approach.
The G77/CHINA referred to its draft decision
that, inter alia, requests the Secretariat to prepare a plan to
facilitate capacity building for developing countries. He underscored
the importance of workshops being undertaken with the participation of
developing countries. The CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC highlighted the
futility of short workshops, as developing countries needed continuous
ones. The EU suggested: identifying non-Annex I Parties’ needs by
analyzing their national communications; identifying existing
capacities; agreeing on a process to ensure that priority areas
receive appropriate support; and providing guidance for establishing
an assessment of capacity-building activities on climate change.
CANADA supported a coordinated response among existing efforts in
capacity building and proposed three steps: assessment of needs;
overview of actions currently undertaken by various actors; and
definition of a clear scope for action. AUSTRALIA sought information
from the Secretariat on current support for developing countries in
order to identify gaps and needs for future work. NORWAY favored an
integrated approach for the identification of needs. SWITZERLAND
endorsed a practical approach focused on identifying appropriate needs
in specific areas. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION offered technology transfer
On capacity building needs, the G77/CHINA
referred to its draft decision calling on the COP to, inter alia:
conduct capacity building activities; provide the necessary financial
and technical support to strengthen national focal points; promote
climate-related research and studies; and promote capacity building of
national institutions and expertise. AUSTRALIA, CANADA, JAPAN and
UZBEKISTAN said that capacity building was necessary to take full
advantage of the clean development mechanism (CDM). The US highlighted
the need for an integrated approach to all capacity-building efforts.
CLIMATE ACTION NETWORK supported a bottom-up approach to capacity
building based on local and regional initiatives involving the NGO
community, as many criteria for the mechanisms are still unknown, it.
A contact group will be convened, co-chaired by SBI Chair John Ashe
and Dan Reifsnyder (US).
ACTIVITIES IMPLEMENTED JOINTLY: On the
experience with AIJ, the G-77/CHINA underlined the imbalance of the
geographical distribution of pilot projects and urged extension of the
pilot phase. AOSIS said carbon sequestration projects may not
guarantee measurable and long-term effects and expressed concern over
the possible inclusion of sinks. With the MARSHALL ISLANDS, BOTSWANA
and SAMOA, he opposed linking AIJ to the Protocol mechanisms. JAPAN,
supported by the EU, said the experience gained is sufficient for a
comprehensive review. With POLAND, he stressed that an AIJ project
should be eligible under joint implementation (JI) or CDM if it meets
the criteria for eligibility and if the Parties involved agree. The
MARSHALL ISLANDS urged discontinuation of temporary carbon storage
projects under AIJ. The US proposed exploring the eligibility of AIJ
projects under CDM or JI.
Opposed by AOSIS, BOTSWANA and IRAN, the EU, with
SWITZERLAND, proposed that AIJ should be credited retroactively. She
identified the lack of crediting and capacity in the host countries
and high transaction costs for small projects as barriers in the pilot
phase. SWITZERLAND and AUSTRALIA said that without credit, industries
would be cautious about AIJ.
IRAN noted the absence of criteria for assessing
and elaborating the benefits of AIJ projects and said these were
subject to different interpretations by the Parties. He called for a
continuation of the pilot phase without preconditions or credits.
BOTSWANA said introducing crediting would confuse the process. AOSIS drew attention to the inaccuracies, under-reporting and
procedural complications that make it inappropriate to credit
The REPUBLIC OF KOREA said that since most AIJ
projects are financed though official funds like ODA and the GEF,
credits certification should be treated carefully. The AFRICAN GROUP
underscored the need to involve local communities in the design and
execution of such projects.
On the reporting format, SWITZERLAND stressed
simplicity. The US suggested that the Secretariat convene a technical
meeting on the common reporting format. A contact group will be
convened chaired by Yvo de Boer (Netherlands).
PROTOCOL MECHANISMS: Former SBSTA Chair
Chow introduced the revised synthesis of proposals by Parties on
principles, modalities, rules and guidelines on Protocol mechanisms
and noted that they could form the basis for a draft negotiating text.
The G-77/CHINA said a CDM decision must precede
decisions on other mechanisms. AUSTRALIA noted the need for
considerable technical work prior to COP-6. The EU noted significant
areas of convergence among Parties but said a ceiling on the use of
mechanisms has to be defined. The US supported parallel progress on
the mechanisms with priority given to the CDM. With NORWAY and
SWITZERLAND, he suggested refining the synthesis into a draft
negotiating text. NORWAY further identified the need to decide on a
work plan in the run-up to COP-6. AOSIS highlighted the need for the
mechanisms to be based on sound environmental principles and, with
VENEZUELA, called for adequate time for consideration. He added that
AOSIS would not permit mechanisms that allow Annex I Parties to
offload domestic responsibilities. UZBEKISTAN, with the RUSSIAN
FEDERATION, sought clear definitions of core concepts. CHINA opposed
taking a single decision on all mechanisms as this was not supported
by the Protocol. He recommended that there be three distinct decisions
on the mechanisms. SAUDI ARABIA stressed that progress on this issue
is conditional on progress on other equally important issues. A
contact group, to be chaired by Kok Kee Chow, was asked to revise and
consolidate the views into a draft negotiating text and agree on a
work plan in the run-up to COP-6. The G-77/CHINA said that the
reference to the draft negotiating text was unwarranted at this stage.
JOINT WORKING GROUP ON COMPLIANCE
The JWG met in a night session to adopt its
organization of work and hear an oral report of the informal exchange
of views and information on compliance at an event held on October 6 -
7 1999 in Vienna. It then considered elements of the design, coverage
and functions of a compliance system under the Protocol. The JWG will
reconvene on 29 October at 10:00 am.
GUIDELINES FOR ANNEX I COMMUNICATIONS: The
contact group on Annex I communications considered the second part of
a revised draft text on Guidelines for Annex I communications. The
group discussed sections in the text on: objectives of the guidelines,
preparing national communications, definitions, coverage and structure
of national communications; the executive summary; national
circumstances; GHG inventory information; and policies and measures
(P&Ms). Delegates agreed to delete the section on coverage. The EU
submitted a proposal to re-structure the section on national
communications. On selection of P&Ms, the group agreed on the
differentiation of policies ï¿½adopted,ï¿½ ï¿½implementedï¿½ and at a
ï¿½planning stage,ï¿½ for reporting purposes and called for
definitions of these terms.
NON-ANNEX I COMMUNICATIONS: The contact
group on non-Annex I communications discussed proposals submitted by
the G-77/China and the EU on consideration of non-Annex I
communications. The G-77/CHINA, opposed by the EU and others, insisted
that its proposal serve as the basis for the groupï¿½s discussions.
Some delegates proposed identification of common elements between the
two proposals. The G-77/CHINA, supported by others, drew attention to
contentious elements, including technical assessments of non-Annex I
communications contained in the EU proposal. She questioned the
purpose, nature and usefulness of these assessments. The EU and others
said the purpose of technical assessments is to improve non-Annex I
communications. The group agreed to work on a draft text compiling the
IN THE CORRIDORS
While it was business-as-usual in the Plenary on
Tuesday, land use, land-use change and forestry was the subject of a
stimulating side event convened at the behest of the Parties. At the
event, the IPCC took the innovative step of providing an in-depth
progress report on its work on LULUCF that was requested by SBSTA.
Participants, including NGOs, welcomed the long awaited exchange with
IPCC expert authors that shed light on an issue previously shrouded in
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
JOINT SBI/SBSTA: SBI and SBSTA will meet
in Plenary at 10:00 am.
CONTACT GROUPS: Contact groups will be
held throughout the day. Consult the announcement board for details.