Earth Negotiations Bulletin

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 A Reporting Service for Environment and Development Negotiations

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Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

Vol. 12 No. 173
Wednesday, 25 July 2001

UNFCCC COP-6 PART II HIGHLIGHTS

TUESDAY, 24 JULY 2001

The Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) met to take up the agenda of work for their fourteenth sessions. Delegates also met in a brief Plenary.

SBI

ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: The SBI adopted its agenda and the list of NGOs recommended to participate in its work as observers. On election of officers, SBI Chair John Ashe said he and SBSTA Chair Harald Dovland were undertaking consultations.

ADMINISTRATIVE AND FINANCIAL MATTERS: On administrative and financial matters, SBI first considered the financial performance for 2000-2001. The Secretariat highlighted that a revised indicative list of contributions was presented for 2001, pursuant to the adoption by the UN General Assembly in 2000 of a revised scale of assessment. He noted the special annual contribution of DM 3.5 million made by the host government. CANADA, NORWAY, the RUSSIAN FEDERATION and LATVIA expressed concern over the fact that, contrary to indications contained in the document on the status of contributions, they had taken the necessary steps to make their 2001 contributions. The G-77/CHINA said the relevant UN General Assembly resolution provides that the revised scale should not automatically affect the scale of assessment of other UN bodies. Chair Ashe said a draft decision would be prepared on this issue.

On implementation of the Headquarters Agreement, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Michael Zammit Cutajar noted the need to move an increasing number of staff to temporary accommodation, as the Secretariat continues to grow. An initial offer by the German Government for part of the former Bundeshaus complex was deemed insufficient to meet ongoing needs. However, he hoped the situation would be resolved shortly. Some progress on visa and other issues was also noted. GERMANY highlighted its commitment to guarantee adequate accommodation and the best possible working conditions for UN personnel. He said talks are ongoing to accommodate all UN organizations in Bonn in a single location.

ARGENTINA expressed concern at these visa and accommodation difficulties. He suggested a small committee might be established to consider these issues, without being involved in micro-management. GERMANY said most difficulties have been addressed during the past one and a half years, and undertook to take all steps necessary to deal with problems as they arise. CANADA noted Argentina’s "interesting" proposal but indicated some reservations.

On the institutional linkage of the UNFCCC Secretariat to the UN, the SBI agreed to recommend to the COP the adoption of a Note by the Executive Secretary containing the recommendation that the UN General Assembly and the COP approve the continuation of the current institutional linkage, and related administrative arrangements, for a further five-year period. On the juridical personality of the Secretariat on the international plane, the Secretariat noted that its UN linkage had enabled it to function without it, and that it did have a juridical personality in Germany. Chair Ashe said relevant draft conclusions would be prepared.

Regarding the programme budget for the biennium 2002-2003, Executive Secretary Cutajar outlined details of the proposed programme budget. He noted that the formal adoption of the budget is scheduled for COP-7. He said income would include indicative contributions of US$27.5 million, in addition to the host Government’s contribution and carry-over from previous periods. Delegates subsequently met in the afternoon in a small closed group, chaired by John Ashe, to continue discussions on the programme budget in greater detail.

REPORTS ON INTER-SESSIONAL ACTIVITIES: On reports on inter-sessional activities, SBI considered the work of the Consultative Group of Experts (CGE) on National Communications from Parties not included in Annex I. In presenting the preliminary report of the Group, Chair Vute Wangwacharakul (Thailand) said that, in an examination of 50 national communications, the Group had identified a number of problems that may be addressed, inter alia, through the provision of adequate financial and technical assistance. The G-77/CHINA said the recommendations of the CGE were based only on a limited number of national communications, and that a more comprehensive aggregate analysis was needed, while the US said such recommendations should form the basis for the development of new guidelines for national communications to be adopted at COP-7. Chair Ashe said consultations on this issue, facilitated by Philip Weech (The Bahamas), would take place later during the day.

On ongoing activities on reporting and review of greenhouse gas inventories in Annex I Parties, the Secretariat said detailed information on this issue would be provided during a side-event on Wednesday. The US suggested a more comprehensive testing of the guidelines by all Parties during the trial phase and that revised guidelines be adopted at COP-8. Chair Ashe said SBSTA-15 will have a substantive consideration of this agenda item.

SBSTA

ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: Delegates adopted the SBSTA agenda. On the election of officers, Chair Dovland noted that consultations are ongoing.

COOPERATION WITH RELEVANT INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS: Chair Dovland noted ongoing initiatives between the UNFCCC and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), including: a CBD discussion note and responses submitted by the UNFCCC Parties; a CBD Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group to carry out a pilot assessment on advice to integrate biodiversity into UNFCCC implementation; and a proposed joint liaison group between the two Secretariats. Jan Plesnik, Chair of the CBD Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice, reported on initiatives in the CBD to address interlinkages between biodiversity and climate change. Bob Watson, IPCC Chair, reported on the preparation of an IPCC Technical Paper on linkages between climate and biodiversity. The G-77/CHINA called for a joint CBD-UNFCCC programme to further assess interlinkages. The EU emphasized developments with regard to international environmental governance. With UGANDA, ZIMBABWE and AUSTRALIA, he stressed cooperation with the Convention to Combat Desertification and the UN Forum on Forests.

On the proposed joint liaison group, ZIMBABWE, with RWANDA and JAPAN, said it should be equitably and geographically representative. AUSTRALIA, with the US, questioned the establishment of such a group, but welcomed informal coordination. NORWAY supported screening LULUCF activities for biodiversity according to "agreed norms." JAPAN called for caution with regard to international norms, noting differences between national circumstances. SENEGAL emphasized the link to poverty alleviation. The FAO highlighted a December 2001 workshop on forest-related definitions.

Chair Dovland said the Secretariats’ coordinators would continue to meet informally. He requested Colombia and Australia to undertake informal consultations to formulate draft conclusions/ decisions, noting that much of the further work will be referred to SBSTA-15.

On cooperation with scientific organizations, the EU took note of the IPCC Third Assessment Report (TAR) and its results "that give an additional sense of urgency" to further climate change work. The Global Climate Observation System outlined a prospectus for the preparation of a second assessment of the adequacy of the global climate observing systems, and said that a further report on the deficiencies of the observation systems would be provided at COP-7.

REPORTS ON INTER-SESSIONAL ACTIVITIES: On emissions resulting from fuel used in international transportation, the Secretariat highlighted inter-sessional work as contained in a joint report with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization. A discussion on this is scheduled for SBSTA-15. The EU expressed concern about rising emissions from air transportation and noted that ICAO is scheduled to meet in September with a view to reaching decisions on this question. The Secretariat reported on the workshop on methods and tools to assess climate change impacts and adaptation. The EU provided answers to the specific questions contained in the workshop report.

On issues related to emissions from forest harvesting and wood products, Chair Dovland said the topic would be referred to SBSTA-15. New Zealand reported on a workshop for estimating and accounting for carbon dioxide emissions from forest harvesting and wood products, and said it is coordinating a further study. On progress related to a technology information system, Chair Dovland said the system is being regularly updated, and is taken up in the consultative process on technology transfer.

On UNFCCC Article 6 (education, training and public awareness), the EU, supported by many other Parties, outlined a proposal to the SBSTA to consider further work. AUSTRALIA supported the dissemination of the IPCC TAR results in a manner accessible to the public.

BRAZILIAN PROPOSAL: On Brazil’s proposal on reductions toward an overall emission ceiling for Annex I Parties allocated on the basis of each Party’s relative share of responsibility for climate change, Chair Dovland said a workshop had been held to identify scientific and methodological aspects of the proposal. The EU noted progress in addressing the technical basis of the proposal, but identified several outstanding issues. CHINA, supported by BRAZIL, SAUDI ARABIA and INDIA, warned that the work should not go beyond the COP’s mandate. The US noted the workshop’s narrow focus, called for consideration of other models and indicators, and supported continued research. Chair Dovland said informal consultations on draft conclusions would be undertaken.

POLICIES AND MEASURES: On "best practices" in policies and measures among Annex I Parties, Chair Dovland noted Party views submitted on a proposed workshop’s Terms of Reference (TOR), which will be determined at the current SBSTA session. SAUDI ARABIA, opposed by the G-77/CHINA, CG-11, the EU, AOSIS and others, requested that the issue be deferred, as a decision regarding the workshop had not been officially adopted at COP-6 Part I. Chair Dovland said he would consult with President Pronk and said informal consultations on the TOR would be facilitated by Switzerland and Tanzania.

PLENARY

In a late-afternoon Plenary, COP-6 President Pronk explained that the remaining negotiations at the resumed COP-6 would be based on The Hague text and the consolidated negotiating text (the "Pronk text"), while incorporating the political agreements reached by the Ministers on Monday, 23 July. He proposed that the remaining work be conducted in negotiating groups on finance, mechanisms, LULUCF, compliance and Protocol Articles 5 (methodological issues), 7 (communication of information) and 8 (review of information). SAUDI ARABIA, for the G-77/CHINA, said that the work on Articles 5, 7 and 8 should start only after the adoption of the decisions on the Buenos Aires Plan of Action. President Pronk said there would be daily meetings with the negotiating groups� Chairs to provide clarity on the timing and structure of the remainder of the session. He then suspended the meeting early at the request of the RUSSIAN FEDERATION and UKRAINE, due to lack of interpretation facilities.

IN THE CORRIDORS

Reality returned on Tuesday as controversy over Monday�s political decision dampened delegates� earlier exuberance. Behind the scenes, concern surfaced over so-called "technical" and "editorial" changes made overnight Monday to the latest version of the decision, with some participants suggesting that several alterations had substantive/political implications. In the section on mechanisms, the removal of a reference to the principles guiding afforestation and reforestation projects under the CDM reportedly made some delegates "shudder." There was also controversy in this section over new language on the mechanisms� eligibility requirement related to compliance. While some argued that the change affected the possible future legal nature of procedures and mechanisms relating to compliance, others said both texts accommodate the possible adoption of either a decision or an amendment on such procedures and mechanisms.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY

PLENARY: Plenary is likely to meet in the morning to decide on the organization of work for the remainder of the week, and is expected to formally adopt the decision on Pronk�s "core elements" text. See the Notice board for further details.

This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin � enb@iisd.org is written and edited by Jon Hanks jon@iisd.org, Lisa Schipper lisa@iisd.org, Malena Sell malena@iisd.org, Chris Spence chris@iisd.org and Juliette Voinov cedrickohler@msn.com. The Digital Editor is Franz Dejon franz@iisd.org and the photographer is Leila Mead leila@iisd.org. The Operations Manager is Marcela Rojo marcela@iisd.org and the On-Line Assistant is Diego Noguera diego@iisd.org. The Editor is Pamela S. Chasek, Ph.D. pam@iisd.org and the Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James "Kimo" Goree VI kimo@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 (SAEFL), the United Kingdom (through the Department for International Development - DfID, and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office), the European Commission (DG-ENV), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Government of Germany (through German Federal Ministry of Environment - BMU, and the German Federal Ministry of Development Cooperation - BMZ). General Support for the Bulletin during 2001 is provided by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Environment of Finland, the Government of Australia, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Environment of Norway, Swan International, and the Japan Environment Agency (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies � IGES.) 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 Director of IISD Reporting Services. Electronic versions of the Bulletin are sent to e-mail distribution lists and can be found on the Linkages WWW server at http://enb.iisd.org. The satellite image was taken above Bonn �2001 The Living Earth, Inc. http://livingearth.com. For information on the Earth Negotiations Bulletin or to arrange coverage of a meeting, conference or workshop, send e-mail to the Director, IISD Reporting Services at kimo@iisd.org.

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