Presented by the
Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE MEETINGS OF THE FCCC SUBSIDIARY BODIES
20 OCTOBER 1997
The seventh sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Implementa-
tion (SBI-7) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and
Technical Advice (SBSTA-7) of the UN Framework Convention
on Climate Change (FCCC) opened on 20 October 1997 in Bonn,
Germany. Delegates to SBI-7 considered national
communications from non-Annex I Parties and activities
implemented jointly (AIJ). SBSTA-7 discussed AIJ,
methodological issues, national communications from non-
Annex I Parties and the roster of experts.
SUBSIDIARY BODY FOR IMPLEMENTATION
SBI Vice-Chair José Romero (Switzerland), on behalf of SBI
Chair Mohamed Ould El Ghaouth (Mauritania), reminded dele-
gates of the short time allocated for SBI negotiations at
this session and urged them to conclude negotiations in a
FCCC Executive Secretary Michael Zammit-Cutajar noted the
need for support in developing initial national
communications and strengthening national capacities. He
noted that projects for national communications can "prime
the pump" for future investments as much as pilot projects
for lowering emissions. Regarding the FCCC core budget, he
noted that a number of contributions were still unpaid and
additional contributions to the trust fund for
participation were needed.
Delegates accepted the Vice-Chair's proposal to establish a
joint SBSTA/SBI drafting group on the financial mechanism,
to be chaired by John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda). A contact
group on a consultation mechanism for NGOs may be
The Secretariat summarized a progress report (FCCC/SBI/
1997/INF.3) including an update on preparation of initial
non-Annex I national communications. Nine Parties have
reported no activities on communications, and no
information is available from 15. The conclusions included
recommendations for, inter alia: accelerated submissions;
reference by Parties to COP guidelines; appropriate
institutional mechanisms; GEF procedural streamlining;
provision for reproduction and dissemination of reports; a
coordinated strategy for the transfer and development of
technologies; and regional workshops.
The Chair noted that Parties would also consider input from
the GEF and the process for considering non-Annex I
communications. On the latter, he invited the US and
MALAYSIA to chair a reconvened informal meeting to
consider, inter alia, submissions by the EU and Uzbekistan
(FCCC/SBI/1997/MISC.8). The EU said that reviews of
communications have built confidence and helped in
developing second national communications. BRAZIL reported
the conclusions of a recent workshop to share Latin Amer-
ican experiences in developing national communications.
Participants there highlighted, inter alia, problems with
developing methodologies and the need for financial
SENEGAL hosted an African regional workshop that brought
together more than 100 participants. The US commended the
Secretariat's progress report, but cautioned that
consideration of some of its recommendations should follow
submissions by a broader sample of non-Annex I countries.
MEXICO announced plans for a regional workshop on
preparation of national communications in Central America.
JAPAN said it was willing to cooperate with developing
countries preparing national communications and noted its
recent contributions. ZIMBABWE called for assistance to the
African region in making digital information available.
MALAYSIA encouraged the Secretariat to continue its role in
coordinating regional activity and suggested that the COP
provide guidance to the GEF. CANADA underlined the
importance of capacity building, supported more expeditious
financial provision by the GEF and noted the importance of
an in-depth review of communications in the context of
Article 4.1 commitments. JAMAICA supported a GEF-sponsored
regional workshop for CARICOM countries in November. The
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO announced receipt of funds for
the preparation of its national communication, to be
submitted by October 1998.
On activities implemented jointly (AIJ), the Vice Chair
said Diego Malpede (Argentina) would chair a working group
to prepare recommendations for both SBI and SBSTA. The US
said delegates could recognize that the pilot phase is
still underway but agree that Parties can take credit from
AIJ toward post-2000 commitments, congruent with decisions
on methodological issues. The issue is not whether, but how
credit is taken. He suggested adopting uniform reporting
procedures and work programmes on methodological issues,
financing and additionality of financing. LUXEMBOURG, on
behalf of the EU, said AIJ reporting needs further
elaboration. Project baselines, scenarios and emissions
reductions should be more detailed. CANADA noted progress
in methodologies and benefits gained. She said the lack of
incentives for private sector engagement and of methodology
for transparency and consistency slowed some areas. She
looked forward to a US draft decision, especially on
credits and methodologies.
BRAZIL said given parallel negotiations on QELROs and
associated methodological issues, the review must be done,
but he will not support any COP-3 decision that prejudges
methodology work necessary to determine emissions
reductions. MALAYSIA said experience so far is not
comprehensive enough to make an assessment of AIJ. Only
after reporting, baselines and methodologies are addressed
can delegates consider credits. CHINA said developing
country participation, GHG abatement results and investment
in AIJ have been limited, so it is premature for COP-3 to
make a decision based on "scanty" estimates and analysis.
Partners should come forward with secure funding. SAUDI
ARABIA said the issue of credits is at the heart of AIJ and
should be ruled out for COP-3. ZIMBABWE noted only one
project among 53 African governments and said it is
premature to talk about trading or credits.
Regarding technology transfer, the Vice-Chair suggested
establishing a contact group. The US said it would submit a
draft decision requesting that the Secretariat continue
disseminating information and expand the technology needs
survey, that SBSTA examine government and private sector
activities, and that Parties encourage market policies
promoting trade and investment in climate-friendly
technologies and improved reporting on technical needs and
SUBSIDIARY BODY FOR SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL ADVICE
Chair Tibor Faragó (Hungary) urged delegations to make
progress on outstanding issues as this would be the last
SBSTA session before COP-3. He proposed the establishment
of informal contact groups on AIJ and technology transfer.
He also invited delegations to focus on the methodological
issues related to inventories by Annex I Parties to the
Convention as contained in the annex to document
On methodological issues, LUXEMBOURG, on behalf of the EU,
noted that the Secretariat had listed various issues that
needed further study but indicated that the list might not
be complete. He said other issues were likely to come up in
the near future, based on new Annex I national
communications and experiences gained during in-depth
reviews. He stated that FCCC guidelines for Annex I
national communications would need regular maintenance and
improvement if necessary. INDIA raised points on the types
of gases that ought to be included in inventories and
criteria to ensure transparency and comparability.
The US called for recommendations on how to use the IPCC
methods and noted that Global Warming Potentials (GWPs),
although not perfect, may be a suitable method for drawing
comparisons. He asked the Secretariat to prepare a list of
issues that could be addressed by SBSTA in preparing rules.
MALAYSIA questioned the scientific basis for using GWPs and
said they do not provide clear GHG inventories. The
MARSHALL ISLANDS called for the inclusion of developing
country experts on the review teams. The Chair asked the
Secretariat to prepare a text for consideration by the
joint SBI/SBSTA contact group on this issue.
On national communications from non-Annex I Parties, the
Chair noted that discussion on the provision of support to
developing country Parties had taken place at the SBI and
any conclusions would be reported to SBSTA.
On AIJ, the Secretariat introduced a synthesis report on
the AIJ pilot phase (FCCC/SBSTA/1997/12, Add.1, Corr. 1,
and Corr.2). He said there had been 67 AIJ projects during
the pilot phase and further project offers were contained
in document FCCC/SBSTA/ 1997/Inf.3.
The G-77/CHINA noted the limited spread of projects and
suggested that COP-3 would be unable to reach any
conclusions on the exercise. He supported a joint contact
group. The EU called for clearer guidance regarding the
definition of a number of information items required during
the AIJ pilot phase. Among these items were: the
compatibility with and supportiveness of national economic
development, socio-economic and environmental priorities;
emissions reduction calculations; project lifetime;
uncertainty in establishing estimates and measurements;
baseline definition; and estimating mitigation costs. He
also called for new project types. ZIMBABWE called for a
good distribution of AIJ projects by sector, country and
region and supported the view that current information
could not provide the basis for decisions at COP-3. INDIA
noted the absence of precise information on the amount of
GHG reductions and costs and agreed that current data were
insufficient to reach a judgment on the pilot phase.
MALAYSIA expressed concern that problems still prevail in
terms of assessing the pilot phase and underlined the
importance of methodological issues. UZBEKISTAN called for
the inclusion of a methodological item on determining
socio-economic benefits and noted that there were almost no
AIJ projects in his region. SRI LANKA noted the poor
response to his country’s attempts to find a partner in a
developed country for AIJ, despite the interest of several
parties in his country. VENEZUELA supported the idea of a
working group to discuss the issue.
The US said the COP should endorse the progress made on
AIJ. He said delegates should bear in mind that many
projects have yet to receive host country approval, even
those meeting all criteria and not seeking credit. He urged
SBSTA to address the complexity of the guidelines, and said
it should prioritize requirements rather than wait until
all complexities are resolved. MAURITIUS said AIJ must be
given the chance to expand to more countries and sectors.
SWITZERLAND supported the development of a priority work
programme that could be endorsed by the COP. She noted that
the lack of capacity in the potential host countries
creates a barrier for AIJ's progress. CENTRAL AFRICAN
REPUBLIC supported deferring decisions on AIJ to later
meetings when projects are more equitably distributed.
UNEP/IEA reported on a recent AIJ workshop held in Paris,
in which participants noted, inter alia, that AIJ should
not be seen only within the context of GHG abatement, but
also as part of global development.
BHUTAN said despite its very low capacity, it hopes
delegates keep an open mind regarding methodological
issues. BURKINA FASO said COP-3 should extend the process.
NEPAL said AIJ could be a small but indispensable tool for
countries' national programmes and technical training. The
RUSSIAN FEDERATION said COP-3 could take the necessary
decisions on issues such as new forms of AIJ. COSTA RICA
said the possibility of credits would bring a desirable
number and type of new projects.
The Secretariat introduced the document, FCCC/SBSTA/1997/
11, on the experience with the roster or experts. Delegates
will discuss the issue at SBSTA's next meeting.
At a press conference held in the afternoon, FCCC Executive
Secretary Michael Zammit-Cutajar underscored the crucial
role of AGBM-8 in the success of the Kyoto meeting. He
expected that the “Chairman’s text” produced by AGBM Chair
Raúl Estrada-Oyuela would serve as a basis for negotiating
an instrument containing legally binding targets and
timetables for emissions reductions. He pointed out that
the text intended to cover all the proposals currently on
the table, including a recent proposal by Japan.
The Executive Secretary noted that the Japanese proposal
was based on a differentiated approach and attempted to
bring on board as many Parties as possible. He expressed
his hope that the US would table a proposal at this
session. Responding to a question on the implications of
failure at Kyoto, the Secretary said that lack of progress
would hinder attempts to address climate change in the
future. He defined failure as the inability of developed
countries to take the lead in addressing global warming.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
SBI: SBI will meet at 10:00 am in the Grosser Saal.
SBSTA: SBSTA will meet at 3:00 pm in the Grosser Saal.