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Climate Change Policy & Practice
Thirty-third Session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

10-13 May 2011 | Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Highlights for Friday, 13 May 2011
Francis Hayes, conference officer, during his musical performance at the closure of IPCC 33.
IPCC concluded its 33rd Session on Friday afternoon. Among others, the Panel approved a Conflict of Interest Policy and established an Executive Committee.

After late night negotiations on Thursday, plenary sessions were held on Friday morning and afternoon. There were also meetings of the contact group on procedures and a Financial Task Team drafting group.

On Friday morning and afternoon, the contact group on procedures went through a revised version of the text, clearing out pending matters. They agreed that issues on which there was no closure would be taken up again by the Task Group on Procedures, whose mandate they proposed be extended.

The Financial Task Team drafting group met on Friday morning to consider draft text on the trust fund programme and budget, with discussion focusing on issues such as new external auditing procedures and staff costs.

The morning plenary session was entirely devoted to the conflict of interest policy, with the Panel agreeing to an IPCC Conflict of Interest Policy, and to extend the mandate of the Task Group on Conflict of Interest Policy in order to develop proposals covering implementation and disclosure form, with a view to adopt a decision at IPCC 34. The Panel also decided to work toward actions for early implementation of the Policy no later than IPCC 35.

In the afternoon, the Panel approved guidance on IPCC Communications Strategy. On governance and management, the Panel, among others, established an Executive Committee, decided on terms of office, and approved terms of reference for the Bureau. The Panel also adopted the work of the procedures contact group, and that of the financial task team.

The plenary concluded its work at 6h28pm with a musical performance by Francis Hayes, conference officer.

ENB SUMMARY AND ANALYSIS: The Earth Negotiations Bulletin Summary and Analysis of the meeting is available in HTML and PDF format.
Closing plenary
L-R: Qian Cheng, ENB, and IPCC Vice-Chair Ismail A.R. El Gizouli (Sudan)
Translators at work.
See you at the next meeting!
L-R: Qian Cheng and María Gutiérrez, ENB Writers

Highlights for Thursday, 12 May 2011
On Thursday, a Plenary session was convened in the late afternoon and considered issues such as: rules and procedures for the election of the IPCC Bureau; matters related to the UNFCCC and other international bodies; and progress reports. The Financial Task Team and contact groups on governance and management, conflict of interest policy, and procedures met in the morning, afternoon and into the night. Drafting groups on several issues, met throughout the day and into the night.

On the agenda item on rules and procedures for the election of the Bureau, the Panel decided to address this issue as it arises in the contact groups dealing with the IAC review recommendations.

On matters related to the UNFCCC and other international bodies, the Panel addressed a UNFCCC suggestion that AR5, including the SYR, be completed by June 2014, in order to inform the 2013-15 UNFCCC review of the adequacy of the goal to limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius. Noting the impossibility of finalizing the SYR before October 2014, the Panel agreed to initiate a dialogue with UNFCCC on the subject. Under this agenda item the Panel also considered IPCC activities at the UNEP Governing Council and WMO’s proposal regarding in-kind support and a Special Report on Climate Services.

The Panel also heard progress reports on: AR5 progress from the Co-Chairs of Working Groups I, II, III; progress on the SREX; TGICA activities and governance; development of new scenarios; the IPCC Scholarship Programme; and the communications and outreach report.

Contact Groups
During the morning contact group on governance and management, participants worked on the draft terms of reference for the IPCC Bureau. Delegates expressed their views on numerous issues on the Bureau, including its objective, its advisory role, its role in the IPCC Assessment Reports; and its members qualifications. A drafting group met in the afternoon and the resulting text was considered by the contact group in the evening.

In the afternoon, the contact group resumed discussions on the terms of reference for an executive committee. The issues discussed included whether and under what circumstances the executive committee can act instead of the Panel or the Bureau, what kind of actions is the executive committee supposed to undertake, and its role in dealing with errors and organizational matters. A night contact group continued those discussions.

In the morning, the contact group on conflict of interest discussed updated text incorporating new paragraphs provided by two drafting groups. Discussions centered on issues such as: whether involvement in a government delegation to the IPCC or UNFCCC should be considered as non-financial interest and should be disclosed; and how to distinguish “significant” and “relevant” financial interests, and should a threshold or a fixed number of financial interest be identified for the differentiation. The group reconvened in the afternoon and evening to refine paragraphs related to: the purpose of a conflict of interest policy, noting the importance of representativeness and geographical balance, financial interest, and professional and other non-financial interest. In the evening, the group made substantial progress regarding the policy section. Remaining outstanding issues included implementation and disclosure form.

The contact group on procedures focused on the use of literature in IPCC reports, agreeing to emphasize the quality of all cited literature. It also addressed the confidentiality of draft reports and the availability of review comments and responses. In the evening, the group focused on the selection of participants to scoping meetings, IPCC workshops and expert meetings. The group also addressed, inter alia, responsibilities of authors and others in regards to the use of data and literature, and the role of the report review.

The Financial Task Team met on Thursday morning and afternoon. In the morning, Secretary Christ circulated a presentation on the actual and proposed staff costs, noting that the budgetary net difference is not significant. In the afternoon, the group continued discussions on budget, focusing on a draft decision on IPCC to be considered by the 16th WMO Congress, with many participants expressing concerns on the WMO’s proposal to change its contributions to the IPCC from in-cash to in-kind.
L-R: Taha Zatari (Saudi Arabia) and David Warrilow (UK), Co-Chairs of the Task Group on Governance and Management
Taka Hiraishi, Japan, Co-Chair Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories Organization
Participants during coffee break.
Delegates discussing draft text.
L-R: María Gutiérrez and Andrés Flores Montalvo, Mexico

Highlights for Wednesday, 11 May 2011
On Wednesday, plenary convened in the afternoon. The four contact groups on IPCC procedures, governance and management, conflict of interest, and communications strategy met twice each. Drafting groups met throughout the day on numerous issues, including terms of reference for an executive committee, use of non-scientific journal-based literature, IPCC procedures, and definition of conflict of interest. The Financial Task Team (FTT) met in the morning.

The plenary session considered admission of observer organizations, activities of the task force on national greenhouse gas inventories, and a revised communications strategy. The plenary also heard progress reports from the co-chairs of the contact groups.

The contact group on communications strategy was co-chaired by Darren Goetze (Canada) and Antonina Ivanova (Mexico). In the morning, countries completed the editorial changes of the communications strategy proposal, and in the afternoon the group concluded a revised document that includes: preamble, principle, scope, target audiences, languages of communication, guidelines, limits, implementation, evaluation, and next steps. Co-Chair Goetze presented the revised communications strategy proposal to plenary, where parties raised issues about reference to languages of communication and other matters. The co-chairs will prepare a further revised version.

In the morning, the contact group on governance and management, co-chaired by David Warrilow (UK) and Taha Zatari (Saudi Arabia), focused its attention on the terms of reference for an executive committee, particularly on its objective, scope, and possible overlap with the functions of the Bureau. A drafting group prepared revised text on the issue. In the afternoon, the contact group focused on the composition of the executive committee, addressing issues such as regional representation, government representation, and voting. The group also considered terms of office of the IPCC Chair and Working Group and Task Group Co-Chairs.

The contact group on procedures tackled areas identified as requiring in-depth work, such as: the procedure on the use of non-scientific journal-based literature in IPCC reports; handling the full range of views; availability of review comments and responses; further assuring the quality of the review; and confidentiality of draft reports.

The contact group on conflict of interest was co-chaired by Todd Krieble (New Zealand) and Munjurul Hannan Khan (Bangladesh). In the morning, the group reviewed paragraphs 1 to 10 of the proposal, including: purpose, scope, and definition of conflict of interest. Discussions centered, among others, on: whether the policy should be designed to “manage” or “eliminate” compromising situations; financial vs. professional interests; and “apparent” vs. “perceived” conflict of interest.

The Financial Task Team discussed the IPCC Trust Fund programme and budget, and new auditing procedures under the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS). The WMO Secretariat presented related documents, and countries decided to continue the discussion on Thursday morning, focusing on budget and to what extend the IPCC Trust Fund should apply the new auditing procedures.
Afternoon plenary
L-R: IPCC Chair Rajendra Pachauri; IPCC Secretary Renate Christ, and IPCC Deputy Secretary Gaetano Leone
Darren Goetze (Canada) and Antonina Ivanova (Mexico), Co-Chairs of the Contact group on communications strategy, present a revised communications strategy proposal to the Panel.

Highlights for Tuesday, 10 May 2011
The Thirty-third Session of the IPCC opened on Tuesday, 10 May 2011, in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The session was preceded by the Eleventh Session of IPCC Working Group III, which approved the Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (SRREN). On its first day the Panel approved the agenda and the report of the previous session, and endorsed the Summary for Policy Makers (SPM) of the SRREN approved by WGIII.

Delegates met in four contact groups under the agenda item on review of the IPCC processes and procedures to work on: procedures; governance and management; conflict of interest policy; and communications strategy.

During the opening session, IPCC Chair Rajendra Pachauri highlighted the appropriateness of releasing the Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation in Abu Dhabi, a city poised to be the “center for sustainable energy for the planet.” Pachauri noted the opportunity provided by the InterAcademy Council (IAC) review for preparing the IPCC for the future, but called for avoiding a fragmented set of actions taken in haste, and stressed the need for a comprehensive view, careful reflection and dialogue.

Jeremiah Lengoasa, Deputy Secretary-General of WMO, highlighted the Global Framework on Climate Services as an opportunity to galvanize UN activities on the issue, and noted that the upcoming WMO Congress will consider a reconstitution of the World Climate Program to be more closely aligned with the framework.

Peter Gilruth, UNEP, said a strong, credible, communicative and modernized IPCC is needed as never before to inform policy makers. He offered UNEP’s availability to provide advice for the implementation of the IAC recommendations, especially on governance and management and looked forward to the kind of decisive and definitive decisions at this session that will open a new chapter in the IPCC.

Florin Vladu, UNFCCC, noted the importance of the Cancun Agreements. He stressed the importance of the 2013-15 review of the long-term goal called for in the Cancun Agreements, and the expectation that the IPCC will provide important policy-relevant information. He also underscored the relevance of SRREN and SREX Special Reports to the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) respectively.
Dais during the opening plenary.
Delegates at the opening plenary.
L-R: Working Group III Co-Chairs Ramon Pichs Madruga, Youba Sokona, and Ottmar Edenhofer
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Related Links
Meeting resources
*Meeting website
*Meeting provisional agenda
*IPCC WGIII agenda
*Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation
*IPCC Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (information note)
*Gateway to the UN System’s Work on Climate Change

IISD RS resources
*IISD RS coverage of the Fifth Session of the Preparatory Commission for the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and First Session of the Assembly of IRENA, 3 and 4-5 April 2011, Abu Dhabi, UAE
*IISD RS coverage of the UN Climate Change Conference Bangkok - April 2011, 3-8 April 2011, UN Conference Centre (UNCC), Bangkok, Thailand
*IISD RS coverage of the Cancún Climate Change Conference, 29 November - 11 December 2010, Cancún, Mexico
*IISD RS coverage of Selected Side Events at the Cancún Climate Change Conference, 29 November - 10 December 2010, Cancún, Mexico
*IISD RS Summary and Analysis of the Thirty-second Session of the IPCC, 11-14 October 2010, Busan, Republic of Korea (English: HTML - PDF) (French: HTML - PDF) (Spanish: HTML - PDF)
*IISD RS Summary and Analysis of the Thirty-first Session of the IPCC, 26-29 October 2009, Bali, Indonesia (English: HTML - PDF) (French: HTML - PDF) (Spanish: HTML - PDF) (Japanese: PDF)
*IISD RS Summary and Analysis of the Thirtieth Session of the IPCC, 21-23 April 2009, Antalya, Turkey (English: HTML - PDF) (Spanish: HTML - PDF) (Japanese: PDF)
*IISD RS Summary and Analysis of the Twenty-ninth Session of the IPCC, 31 August - 4 September 2008, Geneva, Switzerland (English: HTML - PDF) (French: HTML - PDF) (Spanish: HTML - PDF) (Japanese: PDF)
*IISD RS Summary and Analysis of the Twenty-eighth Session of the IPCC, 9-10 April 2008, Budapest, Hungary (English: HTML - PDF) (French: HTML - PDF) (Spanish: HTML - PDF) (Japanese: PDF)
*IISD RS coverage of the Twenty-seventh session of the IPCC, 12-17 November 2007, Valencia, Spain
*IISD RS Summary and Analysis of the Ninth Session of the IPCC Working Group III (WGIII)/Twenty-sixth Session of the IPCC, 30 April - 4 May 2007, Bangkok, Thailand (English: HTML - PDF) (Spanish: HTML - PDF) (Japanese: PDF)
*IISD RS archive of meetings on climate change, and backgrounder
*Climate-L - A mailing list for news on climate change policy
*Climate Change Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of UN and Intergovernmental Activities Addressing Global Climate Change Policy
*Sustainable Development Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of International Activities Preparing for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development
*SIDS Policy and Practice - A Knowledgebase on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States
*Biodiversity Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of UN and Intergovernmental Activities Addressing International Biodiversity Policy
*Linkages Update - Bi-weekly international environment and sustainable development news
*MEA Bulletin - Newsletter on key MEAs and their secretariats
*African Regional Coverage
*Latin America and Caribbean Regional Coverage
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