Presented by the
Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE MEETINGS OF THE FCCC SUBSIDARY BODIES
30 OCTOBER 1997
Delegates to the eighth session of the Ad Hoc Group on the
Berlin Mandate (AGBM-8) met in Plenary in morning,
afternoon and evening sessions.
Chair Raul Estrada-Oyuela convened the AGBM Plenary to
address non-group outcomes. He said that although positions
were still far apart, some progress had been made in what
was the first round of negotiations on a consolidated text.
He wondered whether the nature of diverging views, enclosed
in brackets in the papers produced by the non-groups, could
be explained to "an intelligent public not imbued with the
subtleties of negotiations.”
POLICIES AND MEASURES
The Chair of the non-group on policies and measures (P&Ms),
Bakary Kante (Senegal), introduced a paper and said the
group reached consensus on one of five sub-paragraphs in
the AGBM Chair’s draft text. On the chapeau, he noted that
a reference to a specific article had been bracketed
pending outcomes on voluntary commitments. He said the
group had agreed on the first part of a sub-paragraph on
the implementation and adoption of P&Ms by Annex I Parties
to achieve QELROs but had disagreed on a part listing P&Ms
under an annex. Two bracketed alternatives appeared for a
sub-paragraph addressing the need to "try to avoid" or
"take into account" adverse effects when implementing P&Ms.
No agreement was reached on language indicating that Annex
I Parties shall coordinate the implementation of P&Ms
listed under an annex. Two proposed annexes listing P&Ms
were attached to the document.
The US, supported by CANADA, JAPAN and AUSTRALIA proposed
bracketing text that "the COP/MOP shall assess the
application of P&Ms.” The EU proposed merging two bracketed
alternatives referring to P&Ms listed in an annex. CANADA,
the US and JAPAN said that proposals on annexes had not
been negotiated. JAPAN favored an alternative stating that
P&Ms shall be adopted in accordance with national
circumstances. HUNGARY noted its acceptance of coordinated
P&Ms. The EU, the G-77/CHINA and AUSTRALIA agreed that P&Ms
should not be listed in an annex but should be incorporated
into the Protocol. The US expressed its preference for
listing P&Ms under an annex. CAMBODIA called on all Parties
to show some flexibility.
The Chair asked for comments on the COP/MOP assessment
sentence. The US, CANADA and AUSTRALIA preferred removal or
brackets. The EU disagreed. SLOVENIA said the sentence
could be moved.
The Chair ruled that there was consensus to retain the text
except for three countries. CHINA asked if the text would
be communicated to Kyoto with brackets. The Chair said
nothing is agreed until everything is.
The US raised a point of order that there was no consensus.
The Chair said delegates could challenge his decision under
the rules of procedure. The US, CANADA and VENEZUELA said
there could not be consensus if delegations objected.
VENEZUELA challenged the ruling. The Chair noted that a 2/3
vote was required to overcome the ruling and called for a
EGYPT said delegations were referring to unanimity. The
Chair’s ruling on consensus reflected his sense of the
negotiations. The Chair said it was necessary to
distinguish between unanimity and consensus. IRAN and
KUWAIT requested a legal opinion. The US proposed that the
Chair produce a text of his conclusions. He said he feared
voting on every paragraph and bracket. VENEZUELA accepted
that the Chair had taken the sense of the meeting. The
Chair said his ruling meant this. MAURITANIA said every
decision should be left to Kyoto. HUNGARY asked delegates
to "cool down."
SAUDI ARABIA said adoptions at this stage were meaningless.
All amendments will be forwarded to Kyoto. He asked the
Chair to relax. The Chair said with the challenge
withdrawn, there would be no vote. He said it was clear
that a group of countries was trying to stop the Convention
and the protocol, but he would not be "held hostage" to
countries methodically trying to stop progress.
The non-group Chair noted two alternatives for a paragraph
on adverse effects of P&Ms. The US proposed a reformulation
calling for assessment of the overall effect on climate
change and Parties' social, environmental and economic
situations. The G-77/CHINA requested a footnote linking the
issue to a clean development fund.
On cooperation between Parties to enhance effectiveness,
the EU agreed to take up the question of voluntary
application of P&Ms in discussions on voluntary
commitments, and discuss voluntary accession by non-Annex
I countries on a basis easier than quantitative targets.
After a Japanese amendment, the Chair wondered if Parties
would eventually decide to reduce emissions “as
EXISTING COMMITMENTS IN ARTICLE 4.1
The Chair of the non-group on FCCC Article 4.1, Evans King
(Trinidad), introduced a report on his group’s work
(FCCC/AGBM/1997/CRP.I) on Articles 12 and 13. He said there
has been substantial progress and that the text can
establish the boundaries for future negotiation. There is
no agreement on: mitigation and adaptation programmes,
technology transfer, and taking account of climate change
in policy. He said that specific measures to advance
existing non-Annex I Party commitments and their relation
to financial provision and technology transfer is a
substantive issue cutting across the work. Once a common
understanding emerges, other brackets will also be
A representative of the environmental NGOs said the FCCC
article applies to all Parties. The Chair of the non-group
has failed to adequately advance implementation as
obligations must be tightly defined and measurable,
producing text riddled with qualifications and weak
language. Advancement of Article 4.1 commitments are linked
to technology transfer and supportive policies including
innovative approaches to lever private sector involvement.
Article 4.1 should not be used to negotiate commitments for
developing countries through the back door.
The AGBM Chair noted that the Chapeau could be agreed with
Delegates debated the order of "national" and "regional"
programmes in a subparagraph on inventories. The G-77/CHINA
proposed deleting "models" and adding a reference to
adopted guidelines. The US and NEW ZEALAND objected. POLAND
requested deletion of "cost-effective." The EU objected.
The G-77/CHINA objected to a list of "economically
justified" mitigation programmes, suggesting it represents
new developing country commitments and mirrors the P&Ms
annex still under negotiation. She had similar objections
to the following subparagraph's lists of adaptation
programmes. She preferred deleting the lists and retaining
the G-77/CHINA's alternative, separately describing Annex-I
and developing country programmes. She amended the
alternative to include programme information in national
communications. JAPAN, the EU and US preferred to remove
brackets from the mitigation list, noting that it is
indicative. The US said the list is not new commitments but
puts "flesh on the bones" of Article 4.1(b).
NEPAL added mountain development to the adaptation list.
The US bracketed "protection measures for infrastructure"
because of funding implications.
On transfer of technology, the G-77/CHINA proposed the
deletion of a paragraph on promoting effective modalities
for transfers because it would introduce new and
unacceptable commitments under the protocol. She supported
an alternative paragraph, based on the FCCC and Agenda 21.
The US, supported by JAPAN and CANADA, suggested combining
elements in the two paragraphs but objected to references
to “financial and fiscal incentives” and “patent-protected
environmentally sound technologies.”
On procedures to ensure that climate change considerations
are taken into account in governmental and
intergovernmental decisions, the US recalled NGO support
for environmental impact assessment and promoting climate
friendly technology. The EU, supported by the US, proposed
a reformulation, on the identification and implementation
of procedures, specifying multilateral development banks.
The G-77/CHINA said the commitment should not be subsumed
in a protocol that has a limited thrust. This would amount
to undertaking a new commitment. She said the reference to
multilateral development banks would introduce a
conditionality to financing. The text remains in brackets.
On sharing information on national development and use of
indicators, the G-77/CHINA objected to the paragraph
because it would amount to a new commitment under the
protocol. The paragraph remains in brackets.
Chair Estrada remarked that Parties will have to limit the
scope of the protocol below what was agreed in Berlin at
On education and training, the US introduced an amendment
on strengthening of national level education and training
programmes, removed brackets from a reference to training
experts “in particular for developing countries,” and
replaced a reference to methodologies with “modalities.”
On communications on implementation of commitments under
the protocol, the G-77/CHINA said that communications
should be forwarded to the FCCC Parties. The US explained
that for Parties to the FCCC communications will go to the
COP, for Parties to the protocol they will go also to the
protocol body. He said a role in developing guidelines
should not be ruled out for the MOP. The G-77/CHINA said
that she could not agree to report to any body but the COP.
QELROs-1 non-group Chair Luiz Gylvan Meira Filho (Brazil)
introduced a document resulting from the work of the two
non-groups. He noted that key issues were bracketed and
hoped they would be resolved in Kyoto. He indicated that
there had been agreement on an article addressing
supplementary information for annual inventories of GHGs
and national communications by Annex I Parties. He pointed
out that definition of values and dates was pending, as
well as the consideration of removals by sinks under
QELROs. He hoped the AGBM would minimize the issues it
addresses regarding sinks, considering time constraints at
Kyoto. He also called attention to a definition of "net" to
be included in the Protocol.
Chair Bo Kjellén (Sweden) reported that further
consultations were taking place on QELROs for Annex I
Parties with economies in transition, that articles on
emissions trading and joint implementation were completely
bracketed, that an article on national communications was
agreed to, except for specific references to an article on
voluntary commitments and to the Meeting of the Parties,
and that no agreement had been reached on voluntary
The AGBM Chair suggested that three alternatives on QELROs
for Annex I Parties be referred as such to COP-3. NEW
ZEALAND, supported by CANADA and JAPAN, indicated that the
issue of removals by sinks had not been formally discussed
by the non-groups on QELROs. JAPAN, supported by the UK and
NAURU stated that references to "net" and "removals by
sinks" that appeared in the text should be bracketed.
AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND, CANADA and RUSSIA said that
references to "net" should not be bracketed. The US said
language on "removals by sinks" should not be bracketed.
The AGBM Chair ruled that there would be "precautionary
brackets" around the word "net" until the issue of sinks
In an evening session, delegates began discussions on the
QELROs non-group reports. As of 10:00 pm, they had
considered Article 3 (commitments), 3bis (joint fulfillment
of obligations) and Article 4. Delegates debated retaining
actual, rather than “precautionary,” brackets on references
to "net" emissions, noting difficulties with the definition
of anthropogenic sinks. Delegates also discussed, inter
alia: a G-77/China proposal reflecting a "flat rate"
approach; flexibility for Parties with economies in
transition undergoing the process of transition to a market
economy; joint fulfillment of obligations; and bracketed
references to budgets.Later in the session, the US,
supported by CANADA and AUSTRALIA, suggested adding
bracketed text on evolution of developing countries’
commitments to the article on existing commitments. The
Chair said he would not add the text.
A revised text is expected on Friday.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
AGBM: AGBM will meet in Plenary at 10:00 am.