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UNFCCC - COP5 Negotiations Thursday, 4 November


Japan cites difficult lessons of COP-3
With the adoption of 22 decisions at its penultimate session, the fifth Conference of the Parties has almost completed its work. The COP will reconvene Friday morning to consider the remaining items on the agenda. The COP President is expected to report on his consultations on the adoption of the rules of procedure, on a proposed amendment by Kazakhstan to add its name to the Annex l list, and on a proposal to remove Turkey from the lists in Annex I and Annex II.

Among the items adopted was President Szyszko's decision expressing the will of the Parties to engage in intensified negotiations to implement the Buenos Aires Plan of Action. After a number of G-77 countries cautioned that negotiations should be conducted within the framework of the Subsidiary Bodies, Japan strongly defended the President's mandate to take all necessary steps to intensify the negotiating process on all issues. He recalled that Japan had experienced a lot of difficulties and gained important experience in hosting COP-3. The European Union and the United States supported Japan's intervention. One of the news developments at the Conference was an emerging view that Japan may be prepared to ratify the Kyoto Protocol in advance of the United States, thus boosting the chances of early implementation.

Reacting to interventions by India and China, Japan underlined ministerial support for his country's position during the high-level segment regarding implementation of the Buenos Aires Action Plan. He defended a draft decision on the intensive work schedule in the lead up to COP-6.

Indicative summary of draft decisions presented by SBSTA and SBI to COP-6:
SBSTA Draft Decisions:

  • Annex l National Communications: this decision has improved the rigor of reporting requirements;
  • Technology Transfer consultative process: this is one of several decisions that build on COP-4 decisions. It calls for a COP-6 decision on a framework for action, after two more workshops have been conducted;
  • LULUCF: this decision clarifies how SBSTA will proceed on this highly contentious issue, with Parties taking account of the special IPCC report due for completion in 2000;
  • Activities Implemented Jointly: this decision concludes the review process of the pilot phase required of the Parties, and provides for a continuation of the pilot phase beyond the end of the decade;
  • International transportation fuels: this decision will advance work on the issue somewhat but was weakened significantly by Saudi Arabia in the final days of the COP;
  • Financial support to IPCC and proposed SBI discussions on IPCC support in the context of additional guidance to GEF: these decisions reflect severe warnings from the IPCC chief, Bob Watson, about the state of the Panel's finances.

SBSTA/SBI Draft Decision:

  • Kyoto Mechanisms: this decision moves forward the process of developing, principles, modalities , rules and guidelines for decision making at COP-6. Joint contact group Chair, Chow Kok Kee has offered to e-mail a non-paper containing a compilation of Party proposals to facilitate further negotiation.

SBI Draft Decisions:

  • Date and venue of COP-6: Parties conveyed their appreciation to the Netherlands for an offer to host COP-6 in the Hague from 13-24 November 2000;
  • National Communications from non-Annex I Parties: the SBI adopted a draft decision on the second compilation and synthesis of National Communications and a second decision on other matters related to Communications. The latter decision calls for the establishment of a consultative group of experts on National Communications.

SBI/SBSTA Draft Decisions:

  • Annex l National Communications: this decision deals with guidelines and technical review of GHG inventories for Annex l Parties;
  • Implementation of 4.8 and 4.9 and Kyoto Protocol Article 3.14: there was some progress on this issue, with Parties choosing to separate their treatment of the issue of compensation from the other elements of the UNFCCC Articles on adverse effects;
  • Capacity Building: this is the subject of two decisions and is regarded as an important confidence building outcome for developing countries;
  • Compliance: while substantial progress was reported much work remains to be done. The subsidiary bodies are recommending that the mandate of the joint working group be extended. The Plenary heard a number of generous tributes to the out going Co-Chair of the joint working group, Espen Ronnenberg;
  • Administrative and financial matters: two draft decisions deal with these matters.

SBI Draft Conclusions:

  • GHG inventory data 1990-97 for Annex l Parties;
  • Provision of financial and technical support for non-Annex l Communications;
  • The GEF report to Parties;
  • The input of Parties to the GEF review on enabling activities;
  • Improving the intergovernmental process, the institutional linkages of the UNFCCC Secretariat to the international process; and implementation of the HQ agreement.


SBSTA Chair Harald Dovland reports on draft decisions from the subsidiary body including joint decisions with SBI.
SBI Chair, John Ashe reports on draft decisions from the subsidiary body including joint decisions with SBSTA. (Photos of both speaker below)

Parties consider novel approaches
At the close of the High Le
vel Segment, COP-5 President Jan Szyszko summed up the "positive spirit" for the difficult year ahead. Summarizing his impressions from Ministerial input to the Conference, he noted that they wanted to remain involved at critical points as the process intensified in the coming months. He also noted proposals for novel mechanisms to help the Parties prepare for COP-6, including a facilitator and a Committee of the Whole. A draft decision on implementation of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action was adopted by consensus.

Saudi Arabia insisted that the Subsidiary Bodies were the place to negotiate. No negotiations should take place outside the process. He also ruled out the proposal that a facilitator be used to help the process along in the period leading up to COP-6. He warned of "very serious implications" in the event of "external interference".

RealAudio from the High Level Segment:

COP-6 President Szyszko provides his impressions of the key messages from the high-level segment.
Szyszko comments on the Ministerial input on the process leading up to COP-6.
Szyszko on the draft decision on the Buenos Aires Plan of Action.
Saudi Arabia warns of "very serious implications".

Note: RealVideo of statements made in Plenary are available from the Video Archive of the UNFCCC's Video-on-demand service

In the morning Plenary session, delegates adopted the President's draft proposal regarding implementation of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action.

Serikbek Zh. Daukeev, Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources, Kazakhstan, talks to a journalist regarding its request to join the list of Annex I countries

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Michael Zammit Cutajar with Vijai Sharma, Joint Secretary, Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests (left), and with Yvo de Boer, Head of the Climate Change Department, Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment, the Netherlands (right)

Mohammad Al Sabban, Saudi Arabia, and Allison Drayton, Guyana and G-77/China Chair

G-77/China delegates discuss the President's draft proposal before the morning session begins; left to right: Mahmoud Ould El Ghaouth, Mauritania, Ian Fry, Tuvalu, Tuiloma Neroni Slade, Samoa, Mohammad Al Sabban, Saudi Arabia, and Allison Drayton, Guyana

Multilateral discussions regarding the President's proposal; Hiroharu Koike, Japan, and Yvo de Boer, the Netherlands, are in the center

Afternoon Plenary

Yvo de Boer, Netherlands, formally invites delegates to the Netherlands in 2000 for COP-6

Harald Dovland, SBSTA Chair, and Allison Drayton, Guyana and G-77/China Chair, congratulate Espen Rønneberg (right), Marshall Islands, on his work as co-chair of the Joint Working Group on Compliance and say farewell as he departs for a job in the UN SIDS unit.
Poland pays tribute to the outgoing Co-chair of the Joint Contact Group on Compliance, Espen Rønneberg.

Joanna Depledge, Secretariat, with Harald Dovland, SBSTA Chair

John Ashe, SBI Chair (left)

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