Published by the
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 12 No. 208
Friday, 1 November 2002
UNFCCC COP-8 HIGHLIGHTS
THURSDAY, 31 OCTOBER 2002
Parties to the UNFCCC’s COP-8 met in two final
high-level Round Tables, hearing statements from Ministers and heads
of delegation on "Climate Change and Sustainable Development" and
"Wrap-Up." In the morning, delegates convened in a contact group on
non-Annex I issues, and in the afternoon in a high-level contact
group, to discuss the improved guidelines for the preparation of
non-Annex I national communications. In the evening, Parties met
briefly in the SBI to consider organizational matters, and began
considering non-Annex I national communications, adjourning without
completing their work. Informal consultations on the Delhi
Declaration also took place, continuing late into the night.
ROUND TABLE II "CLIMATE CHANGE AND SUSTAINABLE
DEVELOPMENT:" COP-8 President Baalu opened the session and
Co-Chair Valli Moosa (South Africa) said the Delhi Declaration
should draw links between COP-7, the WSSD, and COP-8. He highlighted
consumption, and energy supply and access as issues where climate
change and sustainable development meet. He supported adaptation,
operationalization of the CDM and the new Funds.
UGANDA recalled the Millennium Development Goals
and said climate change "cripples" developing country economies,
hindering sustainable development. SLOVAKIA stressed the need to
move beyond politicized negotiations to real action. COLUMBIA said
that climate change is both a development and environment issue.
NAMIBIA announced its ratification of the
Protocol, and a number of countries urged entry into force.
GREECE, BELGIUM, SPAIN and SLOVENIA supported
renewable energy and energy efficiency. GERMANY said the EU would
build a coalition of like-minded countries willing to commit
themselves to timetables and targets for increasing renewable energy
use. Stressing that combating poverty is the agreed priority, KUWAIT
said issues related to renewable energy should not be introduced at
PORTUGAL said progress at COP-8 had been
constructive, particularly regarding the completion of guidelines
for reporting and review under Protocol Articles 5 (methodological
issues), 7 (communication of information) and 8 (review of
information). FRANCE recognized the work of the IPCC Third
Assessment Report (TAR) as pivotal to the UNFCCC process.
NIGERIA emphasized social development and poverty
alleviation. PERU, RWANDA and GAMBIA called for concrete measures to
support and enhance capacity in vulnerable countries, and MAURITIUS
called for Parties to give practical meaning to technology transfer.
MOZAMBIQUE urged financial support for implementing NAPAs and
strengthening existing national focal points.NAMIBIA said developing
countries must be allowed to expand their per-capita energy
consumption. GUYANA said the new Funds should be made operational.
KIRIBATI underscored the need for development projects to
incorporate climate change considerations. ISRAEL said that it was
developing a greenhouse gas emissions reduction policy.
On the CDM, UGANDA said the poorest and most
vulnerable countries, many of which are in Africa, may not attract
profit-driven CDM projects. The INTERNATIONAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
cautioned that CDM modalities are becoming too complex, and stressed
the need for regulatory certainty for businesses to make
investments. BANGLADESH supported a multilateral CDM programme for
The US said that its climate approach is grounded
in sound economic policy and noted its commitment to reduce the
greenhouse gas intensity of its economy by 18% over ten years. The
US claimed that economic growth is the key to environmental
progress. GERMANY responded by calling for "absolute" emissions
reductions, noting that a failure to address climate change will
result in economic harm.
Regarding future actions, GERMANY said it would
commit itself to a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from
1990 levels by 2020 if all developed countries committed themselves
to further reductions, and the EU committed itself to emission
reductions of about 30%. SWEDEN, supported by the RUSSIAN FEDERATION
and BELGIUM, and opposed by OMAN and NIGERIA, called for a dialogue
on developing country commitments. ARGENTINA said that Annex I
countries have yet to take the lead on climate change. Co-Chair
Moosa summarized the discussions and closed the session.
ROUND TABLE III "WRAP-UP:" In the afternoon,
COP President Baalu opened the third and final Round Table.
Addressing the Delhi Declaration, ITALY said it should consider
action beyond 2012. NORWAY called for a broader climate change
regime. CANADA said it should consider, inter alia:
ratification of the Protocol; recommendations of the IPCC TAR;
efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and the UNFCCC’s
ultimate objectives. The COOK ISLANDS called for a World Climate
Day. Stressing that the UNFCCC is not an energy convention, SAUDI
ARABIA said that the Declaration should be a consensus document
prioritizing adaptation to climate impacts and impacts of Annex I
On non-Annex I commitments, the G-77/CHINA
opposed any text that would infer new commitments. VENEZUELA
observed that action on technology transfer and finance by Annex I
countries had been unsatisfactory and called on the COP to address
compliance under the UNFCCC and the Marrakesh Accords. Claiming a
right to development, CUBA opposed new commitments for developing
countries. The EU underscored that mitigation has proven to be a
powerful force for technological change and economic development.
ICELAND addressed carbon intensities and the need to stimulate the
development of technologies to avoid wasteful emissions. INDIA
called for the provision of sufficient environmental "space" for
developing countries to develop. THAILAND asked Parties to
differentiate between luxury and survival emissions.
LIBYA called on all Parties to honor their
commitments under the UNFCCC. Noting that biodiversity, coral reefs
and the existence of some cultures are threatened by global warming,
PALAU called for immediate greenhouse gas emission reductions by all
QATAR, EGYPT and ALGERIA opposed new commitments
and urged Parties to operationalize UNFCCC Articles 4.8 and 4.9
On the need to address sustainable development,
MALAYSIA called upon the COP to develop a work programme
addressesing climate impacts on food security, water resources,
coastal zones and oceans and renewable energy. BRAZIL said polices
and measures must be linked with actions to promote renewable
energy, technology transfer and capacity-building. The EU stressed
that renewable energy exemplified the synergies between sustainable
development and climate change.
AUSTRIA drew links between climate change and
energy consumption patterns, renewable energy and natural resources.
CHILE emphasized that national strategies for sustainable
development must address adaptation and mitigation policies. CHAD
stressed that the only legally valid instrument for reducing
greenhouse gases is the Protocol and, with TANZANIA, SENEGAL,
AUSTRIA, MALAWI, and NORWAY, called for ratification by all
On the CDM, PAPUA NEW GUINEA called for greater
forest and biodiversity incentives. BRAZIL supported projects in
large cities. EGYPT said its national strategy for CDM would include
provisions for environmental integrity, sustainable economic
development, and conservation of natural resources. TANZANIA
stressed equity in the distribution of projects.
On capacity-building, NEPAL, for LDCs, stressed
that institutional capacity-building is a priority need and called
for the immediate implementation of the work programme under UNFCCC
Article 6 (education, training and public awareness).
COP President Baalu invited spokespersons from
regional groups to attend an open-ended informal discussion on the
Declaration and closed the high-level segment.
NON-ANNEX I ISSUES: This contact group,
chaired by José Romero (Switzerland), met throughout the day. In the
morning, delegates discussed the structure of the improved
guidelines. In the afternoon, SBI Chair Estrada convened a
high-level contact group and introduced a new draft of the
guidelines. BRAZIL, for the G-77/CHINA, accepted the text as a basis
for discussion. The EU, with AUSTRALIA, asked for additional time to
consider the text. Chair Estrada suspended the meeting for informal
consultations. Upon reconvening, Parties aired several concerns,
which Chair Estrada said could not be integrated into the
guidelines, but could be mentioned in his oral report to the COP.
The US proposed moving a paragraph into the decision text that
states that non-Annex I Parties can use elements from the guidelines
for Annex I national communications on a voluntary basis.
On decision text adopting the improved
guidelines, the EU, supported by the US and opposed by the
G-77/CHINA, asked for text noting the need for review of the
guidelines. JAPAN, opposed by the G-77/CHINA, preferred stating
language that the guidelines "shall be used" instead of "should be
used" to ensure the comparability of national communications.
AUSTRALIA, opposed by the G-77/CHINA, proposed adding a procedural
paragraph that would list work to be done. Chair Estrada said that
there was no consensus on any of these proposals. The G-77/CHINA
opposed a three-year time frame for completion of national
communications after receipt of funding. Parties disagreed on,
inter alia, whether developing countries should use the
guidelines "to the extent that financial resources and their
On decision text regarding new terms of reference
for the Consultative Group of Experts on non-Annex I national
communications (CGE), the EU called for the initiation of a process
for the voluntary review of national communications. Chair Estrada
noted that the review of national communications was a key
difference between the processes of Annex I and non-Annex I national
communications. Following a query from JAPAN on the funding for CGE
meetings, the US said she was surprised to hear that funding came
from the core budget, and that she could not agree to the text
without further consultations. Chair Estrada said that he would take
the text as it stood to the plenary for Parties to accept or reject.
Chair Estrada convened the SBI late in the
ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: On election of
officers other than the Chair, Chair Estrada noted that conclusions
will be completed by Friday morning and announced by COP-8 President
NON-ANNEX I NATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS:
Consideration of the fourth compilation and synthesis of initial
national communications: Parties agreed the draft decision for
consideration by the COP (FCCC/SBI/2002/L.23).
Improvement of the guidelines for the preparation
of non-Annex I national communications: Chair Estrada said the
draft decision was not yet available. Noting that delegations had a
number of suggestions, additions and proposals for the document, he
said Parties had agreed to adopt the guidelines "in a spirit of
compromise." The EU requested to see the decision. Chair Estrada
suspended the meeting for 30 minutes. Upon reconvening, the EU
repeated her request to see the text. CANADA stressed "normal" UN
procedures by which documents are seen before they are adopted.
Chair Estrada adjourned the meeting, saying the text would be ready
for consideration Friday.
IN THE CORRIDORS
The abrupt adjournment of the SBI Thursday night
left many observers "astonished" at Chair Estradaï¿½s proposal to
adopt a decision on non-Annex I issues without the final text being
available. Some observers expressed further concern at the "weak"
leadership of the COP-8 Presidency, and wondered whether the Delhi
Declaration would be withdrawn in the end.
On another note, there was news that a new
interest group consisting of research NGOs, RINGOs, would be
officially announced on Friday.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
COP PLENARY: The COP plenary is scheduled to
meet in the Main Plenary Hall at 10:00 am, and again at 3:00 pm to
SBI: The SBI will meet at a time to be
announced, to agree conclusions on work on non-Annex I national
communications and the financial mechanism. Please consult the
monitors for further information.