Presented by the International
Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE THIRD CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE
UNITED NATIONS FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE
9 DECEMBER 1997
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Delegates to the Third Conference of the Parties (COP-3) to
the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC)
continued the high-level segment throughout the day. The
Committee of the Whole (COW) met in the evening and early
morning to consider a revised Chair’s negotiating text.
Many developing country speakers, including EGYPT, ZAMBIA,
the PHILIPPINES, TOGO, MICRONESIA, ZIMBABWE, GAMBIA,
SWAZILAND, LESOTHO, GHANA, MYANMAR, SENEGAL, MAURITIUS,
MALAWI, CAMBODIA, ERITREA, SOLOMON ISLANDS, SUDAN, KENYA,
UGANDA, LAOS, MALTA, BHUTAN, PERU, VIET NAM, COTE D’IVOIRE,
KIRIBATI, ETHIOPIA and TUNISIA called on Annex I Parties to
commit to meaningful and prompt reduction targets. They
also, inter alia: highlighted the principle of common but
differentiated responsibilities; objected to commitments
for developing countries; and stressed that industrialized
countries have a moral obligation to take responsibility
for their historic emissions. Many noted that developing
countries are already implementing sustainable development
policies and objected to being labeled "free riders."
ETHIOPIA and SWAZILAND noted poverty eradication as a
developing country priority. SINGAPORE noted its emissions
will increase as its economy and population grows.
Other speakers, such as KAZAKHSTAN, NIGER, VIET NAM,
KIRIBATI, EGYPT, JORDAN, LEBANON, ECUADOR, URUGUAY,
LESOTHO, KENYA, BAHRAIN, TURKMENISTAN and SLOVENIA
recounted the effects of climate change and national
efforts to address these problems and lower GHG emissions.
BHUTAN noted its effort to maintain its forests as carbon
sinks. FIJI stated that island states would experience the
worse effects of climate change. CUBA noted that even under
an unfair economic blockade it has taken action on climate
change as a small island developing country.
Many countries, including KAZAKHSTAN, EGYPT, ZIMBABWE,
ZAMBIA, MALAWI, CAMBODIA, SOLOMON ISLANDS, LAOS, URUGUAY,
VIET NAM, GAMBIA, KENYA, TUNISIA, MYANMAR, NIGER, UGANDA,
MOROCCO, LESOTHO, SWAZILAND emphasized the need for
technology transfer, financial resources and capacity
building to address climate change. Some countries, such as
PERU, CHILE and COLOMBIA, supported a clean development
fund. BELGIUM called for a more equitable way of sharing
technologies between North and South.
LATVIA said Annex I countries should lead the process of
GHG reduction, but developing countries should demonstrate
the political will to follow. SLOVAKIA agreed to commit to
reductions even if its economy is not highly developed.
ESTONIA said advanced developing countries should begin
adopting some commitments. THAILAND supported dividing
developing countries into two groups with different
timeframes for reaching targets while calling for support
and leadership from developed countries. AZERBAIJAN,
ARMENIA and CROATIA said difficulties in the transition to
a market economy should be taken into account.
AUSTRIA and ITALY described their target within the EU
proposal. AUSTRIA said the number of outstanding issues
underscores the need for a follow-up process. ITALY
highlighted domestic increases in renewable energy
investments. FINLAND highlighted its actions on climate
change and called national actions the most critical.
IRELAND noted that its indicative emissions target for 2010
represents a 15% increase over 1990 levels rather than the
55% increase that would be realized otherwise. The CZECH
REPUBLIC and MONACO supported the EU's targets and policies
and measures for achieving them.
KAZAKHSTAN, SLOVENIA, LATVIA and ESTONIA supported
emissions trading but emphasized strong monitoring and
compliance mechanisms. POLAND called for a budget approach
to allow countries that reduce emissions before 2000 to
bank those credits against later emissions. MALAWI,
URUGUAY, ETHIOPIA, COLOMBIA and ROMANIA welcomed activities
implemented jointly (AIJ). CAMBODIA said emissions trading
and joint implementation (JI) could be useful if focused on
clean technology dissemination. The PHILIPPINES cautioned
against using sinks, emissions trading and JI.
TURKEY said it is not able to be a Party to the FCCC, due
to unfair social and economic burdens stemming from being
included in both annexes.
The UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, YEMEN and GAMBIA supported a
compensation mechanism for countries that suffer economic
losses under the Convention. GAMBIA and YEMEN called for
more enhanced and effective support from the GEF. ALGERIA
called for simplified procedures for disbursing assets for
priority needs of developing countries.
Delegates also heard statements from the IPCC, GEF, IEA,
GLOBE International, World Business Council for Sustainable
Development, Climate Action Network-South East Asia, OPEC,
UNDP, US Climate Action Network, Japan Federation of
Economic Organizations International (Keidanren), Business
Council for Sustainable Energy, International Youth
Movement for the UN, IOC, International Confederation of
Free Trade Unions, the Climate Train, World Council of
Churches, International Federation of Chemical, Energy,
Mine and General Workers' Unions, the World Food Programme,
Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction
and Development, the Permanent Commission of the South
Pacific, SPREP and the UN Economic and Social Commission
for Asia and the Pacific.
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chair Raul Estrada introduced a new draft text
(FCCC/CP/1997/CRP.4) at an early evening session of the
COW, with recommendations from a number of negotiations
including those on Article 3 (QELROs).
He indicated that the proposed text on Article 3 would be
treated as a take it or leave it “kind of offer” and he
would allow time for delegations to acquaint themselves
with the content and consult. The QELROs proposal was the
global bubble as suggested at different moments during the
negotiations, in particular by Russia. The Chair’s text
contains a proposal amounting to a global reduction of 5
per cent in emissions of CO2, CH4, NO2 from 1990 levels,
for the commitment period between 2006 and 2010, with the
possibility that Parties fulfil the commitment individually
or jointly. It is expected that COP-4 will adopt an annex
to the Protocol establishing reduction comitments covering
HFCs, PFCs, and SF6 with commitment linkage between the two
baskets. He said the global reduction commitment had been
distributed in a differentiated way, with some countries
possibly increasing emissions, others keeping their current
levels, and most reducing. Afforestation, reforestation and
deforestation had been included as sinks, with provision
for further analysis. The text for draft Article 6 on
emissions trading was negotiated at AGBM-8 in Bonn. On
Article 7, Chair Estrada said joint implementation between
Annex I and non-Annex I Parties had been dropped. Draft
Article 10 on voluntary commitments by non-Annex I Parties
remains by default as presented after AGBM-8.
Chair Estrada said the proposed Clean Development Mechanism
(CDM) had evolved in such a way that it now deserved
separate treatment in the new Article 14. He invited
Parties to read the text with care. The Chair of a working
group on Article 12 dealing with the relationship between
the protocol and FCCC Article 4.1, Bo Kjellén (Sweden),
said he was prepared to recommence negotiations on
outstanding issues, hopeful that resolution of related text
on policies and measures and on finance would help.
The Chair of the working group on Article 14, Luis Gylvan
Meira Filho, said he had introduced a bracket free text as
time restraints had not allowed his group to complete its
work. Chair Estrada suggested consultation with the legal
drafting group. URUGUAY sought clarification on provision
in Article 14 for Annex I Parties to use certificates of
reductions accruing from CDM projects to contribute to
compliance “with part of their” QELROs commitments. Meira
Filho said there had been no full agreement on the text
because a number of delegations thought that either a
number should be specified in the text as a percentage of
commitments or that the COP should determine a percentage
representing a maximum of commitments that could be met
using the CDM. Others preferred a more general restriction.
SAUDI ARABIA objected that an alternative text from Chair
Estrada’s negotiating text had been dropped. Chair Estrada
said it was clear that the draft Article 14 did not reflect
Chair Estrada said the article on compliance is the softer
of the two available options. On entry into force, he chose
the threshold of 60 ratifications, incorporating Annex I
Parties which account in total for at least 60% of the
total carbon dioxide emissions for 1990 of Annex Parties.
He explained that 60 percent was just outside the limit of
giving a veto to one Party. The biggest emitter within the
group is responsible for 34 percent.
BURKINA FASO, supported by BANGLADESH and UGANDA, called
for a reference to an FCCC provision on taking full account
of the situations of the least developed countries in
Article 3. MAURITANIA said the Burkina Faso concern had
been addressed in draft Article 2. IRAN said Parties should
not make Chair Estrada’s job more difficult by making
issues complicated. Chair Estrada said it was clear that
one group wanted a reference to FCCC Article 4.9 and
another did not. He invited Iran to consult with Burkina
Faso. KUWAIT suggested adjourning the meeting. MAURITANIA
said he would assume that OPEC countries were opposed to
their inclusion among the least developed countries. He
asked if that was the position indicated by Iran, Kuwait
and Nigeria in their interventions. NIGERIA described
Mauritania’s intervention as undiplomatic. He invited
Mauritania to submit a fresh proposal on incorporating a
reference to FCCC Article 4.9. The G-77/CHINA said
delegations had just heard a display of the group’s unity
in diversity and the transparent way in which the group
conducted its business. He offered to take up the question
within the group. MAURITANIA apologized and welcomed
Nigerian support for including a reference to least
developed countries. Chair Estrada said he saw no
objection. The meeting was suspended.
The COW resumed at 3:20 am Wednesday. Chair Estrada said
intense negotiations and consultations had been conducted
within and between groups since the draft protocol text had
been circulated earlier. He said he expected a positive end
to negotiations, but there were still some points to
He highlighted areas needing discussion in Article 3 on
QELROs. He said questions had been raised whether the
global five percent reduction commitment could be
understood as the responsibility of each Annex I Party. He
said the text needed refinement to indicate that each Party
would be responsible for its respective number in Annex A.
He noted a real possibility to reach agreement on covering
six gases from the beginning, rather than the "three plus
three" approach. Different wording would be needed,
particularly regarding base years for each group of gases:
1990 for CO2, CH4 and NO2; and 1995 in some cases for other
gases. He said this required careful drafting to provide
the necessary transparency.
He said there were some proposals to change the commitment
period, 2006-2010, in the draft. The G-77/CHINA and other
countries prefer to begin as soon as possible. Others are
reluctant to start before 2008.
He said everybody agrees that the questions on Article 3
need to be solved to solve the rest. He noted ongoing
negotiations and telephone calls to capitols, and proposed
delaying discussion until later in the day. He also asked
delegates to devote some thinking to Article 12 on existing
commitments under Article 4.1.
BRAZIL said he hoped a reopened discussion on sinks would
only address baselines, and that he would not agree to
including all managed sinks in QELROs. Chair Estrada said
sinks are not a matter to be discussed.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Delegates indicated that a number of major issues were
still in play after the adjournment of the COW early
Wednesday. A revised sinks text was reportedly circulating.
Several delegations suggested they were not yet ready to
accept the quantified emission limitation and reduction
commitment in the Chair's draft Annex A, which put the EU
at -8 percent, the US, Russia, Canada and Ukraine at -5
percent, Japan at -4.5 percent, New Zealand even, Australia
and Norway at +5 percent, and Iceland +10 percent compared
to 1990 levels. Delegates are also thought to be re-
crafting the proposal on evolution, a follow-up to New
Zealand's bid to get developing countries on board.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
COW: Plenary is expected to meet at 11:00 am.
COP: Plenary will convene at 3:00 pm in the Main Hall.