Report of main proceedings for 8 February 1995

11th Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for a Framework Convention on Climate Change (INC/FCCC)

PLENARY

The Plenary met Wednesday morning so that AOSIS could introduce its draft protocoland Germany could introduce its proposal for further elements of a protocol.Afterwards, the Plenary addressed Agenda Item 4, Review of Annexes to theConvention, and Agenda Item 5(c), Location of the Permanent Secretariat. TheSecretariat also announced that Kiribati has deposited its instrument of ratification,bringing the number to 120.

AGENDA ITEM 1(b) " INTRODUCTION OF THE AOSIS DRAFTPROTOCOL: Amb. Annette des Iles (Trinidad and Tobago) introducedA/AC.237/L.23, the draft protocol submitted on behalf of AOSIS in September 1994,in accordance with Article 17 of the Convention. She noted that the protocol does notimpose any additional obligations on developing country Parties. Its specific provisionsinclude the following:The Preamble emphasizes that the burden of achievingthe Convention"s objectives rests with the developed States. In Article 1(Definitions) Sections (1), (7) and (8) differentiate between "Parties" to theProtocol and "Parties to the Convention." Article 2 (Basic Commitment)restates the core of the commitment contained in Article 4(1)(b) of the Convention.Article 3 (Targets for greenhouse gas reductions)is based on the "Torontotarget." It requires developed country Parties to the Protocol who are included inAnnex I to reduce their CO2 emissions by 2005 to a level at least 20% below that of1990 and to establish timetables for controlling emissions of other greenhouse gases.Article 3(1)(b) requires that Annex I Parties adopt specific targets on other greenhousegases. Article 3(2) (Review and revision of targets) authorizes the Meeting ofthe Parties to "review and revise" both the CO2 targets and timetable and the controlsfor other greenhouse gases. Article 3(3) (Accession of non-Annex I Parties to thespecific commitments) says the commitments are binding only on the Annex I Parties.Article 4 (Coordination Mechanism) creates a subsidiary body to provideadvice to the Meeting of the Parties. Article 5 (Reporting Requirements)includes a new reporting requirement in Article 5(2) that Annex I Parties provide acost/benefit analysis of measures undertaken. Article 6 (InstitutionalArrangements) uses institutions established under the Convention. Article 7(Technology transfer) requires that the "best available technologies...are expeditiouslytransferred to developing countries" under "fair and most favourable conditions."Article 8 establishes a Meeting of the Parties with powers to review theProtocol"s implementation. Article 9 (Dispute settlement) states that disputesare to be settled in accordance with the Convention. Article 10 establishesthe same procedure for amendments to the Protocol as amendments to the Convention.

Dr. Michael von Websky (Germany) introduced A/AC.237/L.23/Add.1 and noted thatthe proposal addresses targets and timetables, as well as policies and measures. Hesaid ambitious reduction targets for CO2 and other greenhouse gases, such as methaneand N2 O, would make it possible to formulate clear political objectives. He suggestedthe broader application of economic instruments, increasing energy efficiency,increased use of renewable energy sources, the preservation, sustainable managementand improvement of existing forests, and afforestation. He said a consensus wasrequired at the COP on a commitment by Annex I Parties to stabilize their CO2emissions, individually or jointly, at 1990 levels by 2000.

AGENDA ITEM 4 " REVIEW OF ANNEXES TO THE CONVENTION:The Czech Republic announced that his Government should be prepared toamend Annex I at COP-2. In response to a question from Japan, the Chair saidCzechoslovakia was an Annex I country and since it has been succeeded by twocountries, the annex has to be amended accordingly.

AGENDA ITEM 5(c) " PHYSICAL LOCATION OF THE PERMANENTSECRETARIAT: The Chair reminded delegates that a contact group wasestablished to advise the Committee on the location of the Secretariat. He then gavethe floor to the representatives of the countries offering to host the Secretariat. Theinformation about each offer is contained in A/AC.237/79/Add.4. Canada explainedhow Toronto is a leader in environmental protection and a multicultural city that iswell suited to host the Secretariat. Germany outlined its proposal to host theSecretariat in Bonn, which has excellent communications and transportation facilitiesand is a major academic, scientific and cultural center. Switzerland said that the choicefor the Secretariat"s location should be based on effectiveness, not finance or prestige,and that Geneva, as a UN centre, would be the most effective. While Uruguay couldnot offer monetary subsidies or financial assistance to developing countries, the lowcost of living and services in Montevideo would amply offset the absence of generoussubsidies. Kenya announced that it has withdrawn its offer to host the Secretariat.Further discussion will take place on Friday.

WORKING GROUP I

AGENDA ITEM 7(b) " ADEQUACY OF COMMITMENTS: Followingthe introduction of the AOSIS protocol and German elements paper in the Plenary,Working Group I resumed its discussion of Agenda Item 7(b), Adequacy ofCommitments. New Zealand, Hungary, France (on behalf of the EU), Japan, Canada,Denmark, Switzerland, Norway, the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Sweden andMexico said commitments under Article 4.2(a) and (b) are not sufficient. NewZealand, supported by Japan, Switzerland, Norway, Australia and others, called for aconsultative mechanism to create a dialogue with business interests. Saudi Arabia andKuwait did not support this proposal since it would impose new conditionalities ondeveloping countries. Hungary said that COP-1 should begin negotiations, and thatAnnex I countries could make commitments beyond 2000. France, on behalf of theEU, supported a comprehensive protocol on all GHGs. He said that COP-1 must atleast initiate negotiations on a protocol and that negotiations should occur in an adhoc working group. He also called for agreements on coordinated policies andmeasures where competitiveness concerns exist. Japan said that there is an emergingconsensus that a new international framework should be considered. He suggestedcompleting protocol negotiations by COP-3, under the SBI. Switzerland said an adhoc working group should prepare a protocol for adoption by 1998. Norway saidlaunching negotiations on new and binding commitments should be COP-1"s toppriority.

The Russian Federation said it would be premature to take on new commitments, andthat the German proposal does not provide for countries with economies in transition.The Netherlands said it is absolutely necessary to develop new agreements beyond2000, and called for Annex I Parties to promise not to increase emissions even if noagreement is in place. Australia said negotiations should take place in a bodyestablished under SBI authority and conclude by 1998 to leave time for ratification by2000. Sweden suggested setting a joint target under which countries would reduceemissions as a percentage of total global emissions.

The Philippines, on behalf of the G-77 and China, noted that one of the cardinalprinciples of the Convention is "common but differentiated responsibilities." He saidthat repair for damage to the environment should be borne by those principallyresponsible for the damage. Any attempt to reassign responsibilities could beinterpreted as transferring the burden to the victims rather than the perpetrators ofclimate change. He added that the necessary improvements could be made at a moreopportune time. Argentina, Fiji, Colombia, Mauritius, Chile, Malaysia and Boliviasupported the AOSIS protocol, while expressing concern that Annex I Parties were notable to meet current commitments. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait urged caution inaccepting new commitments, given scientific uncertainty and the inability of Annex IParties to meet existing commitments. China said protocol negotiations were prematureand noted that neither the best available scientific information nor the nationalcommunications provided a sufficient basis for renegotiating. Germany reiterated theneed for a protocol on greenhouse gas reduction in all countries and a consensus atCOP-1 by Annex I Parties to stabilize emissions at 1990 level by the year 2000. TheUS highlighted the need for new aims, including a common menu of action, review ofnational communications by the SBSTA and strengthening the process of negotiationsthrough the SBI to anchor the post-2000 era. France called for cost-benefit analysis oftargets and timetables. Some developing countries, including Iran, Uganda, Kenya,Mali and Algeria, urged Annex I Parties to meet their commitments.

WORKING GROUP II

Working Group II completed discussion on the maintenance of interim financialarrangements and continued its discussion of the unresolved paragraphs inA/AC.237/Misc.41 on guidance to the financial mechanism.

AGENDA ITEM 8(b) " MAINTENANCE OF INTERIM FINANCIALARRANGEMENTS: The afternoon session opened with a report from JohnAshe (Antigua and Barbuda) on the results of the small working group addressingunresolved issues on the maintenance of interim arrangements. The group agreed onthe following. The restructured GEF shall continue, on an interim basis, to be theinternational entity entrusted with the operation of the financial mechanism referred toin Article 11. In accordance with Article 11.4 of the Convention, the COP will reviewthe financial mechanism within four years and take appropriate measures, including adetermination of the definitive status of the GEF in the context of the Convention. TheUS accepted this, but reiterated that the text does not inspire confidence in the GEF.

AGENDA ITEM 8(a)(I) " GUIDANCE: The Group then resumedconsideration of A/AC.237/Misc.41.

Sub-paragraphs 1(b)(I)-(iv): India, supported by Saudi Arabia, Iran andEgypt, proposed deleting sub-paragraphs (ii) (information from financial institutions)and (iv) (promoting consistency) because they imposed new conditionalities onactivities undertaken outside the framework of the financial mechanism. The US,Australia and the EU expressed concern about the placement of sub-paragraph (iii),which prohibits new forms of conditionality, in this paragraph. The Co-Chairsummarized that developing countries prefer keeping (ii), developed countries prefer(iii), and (iv) is a problem for everyone.

Sub-paragraph 1(a)(vii): Based on the concern that the proposed languageconfused the responsibilities of the COP and the entity operating the financialmechanism, France offered substitute text that attempted to clarify the roles.

Sub-paragraph 2(b): France, supported by the US, suggested deleting thissub-paragraph, on assistance for research and development, stating that the entityshould fund specific projects relevant to national programmes, not new or existinginstitutions. India, Benin, Brazil, China and Colombia stressed the need for includingexisting institutions and networking to facilitate technology transfer. India agreed tolimit the provision to existing institutions, but Sri Lanka and Kuwait commented thatthey have no existing institutions. The US voiced concern over the commercialconnotation of "research and development." The Co-Chair recommended continuingthis discussion on Thursday.

Paragraph 2(d): Delegates redrafted this paragraph as follows: "Theoperating entity or entities should, in accordance with the policies, programmepriorities and eligibility criteria as established by the COP, [be available to assist, if sorequested/give priority to assisting developing country Parties] in the implementationof the national programmes adopted by developing country Parties." Germany and theNetherlands preferred the second bracketed option. The US, supported by theNetherlands, proposed moving sub-paragraph 1(a)(v) to follow 2(d), since it deals withthe same topic. The Chair and India disagreed since 1(a)(v) deals with policies and2(d) addresses priorities.

Paragraph 2(e): Australia proposed maintaining this paragraph onsupporting activities to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. The EU proposedexpanding the paragraph to provide greater detail about how the financial mechanismwill support mitigation activities and will circulate its text.

IN THE CORRIDORS

The bidding war is on. Canada, Germany, Switzerland and Uruguay are activelycampaigning to be selected as the host for the Permanent Secretariat. While Bonn andGeneva may be the front runners, there is clearly no consensus yet. For Canada,Switzerland and Uruguay a decision at INC-11 would be to their advantage. If adecision is postponed until COP-1, Bonn is clearly the favorite. But then, as onedelegate pointed out, there is always the possibility that the decision will be postponedby COP-1 and that Geneva could remain the "interim" location for the foreseeablefuture.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY

WORKING GROUP I: Working Group I will continue its discussion of theadequacy of commitments this morning. Agenda Item 7(c), Criteria for joint implementation, is scheduled to be discussed in the afternoon.

WORKING GROUP II: This morning, Working Group II will continue itsdiscussion on guidance for the financial mechanism. In the afternoon, the Group is scheduled to discuss Agenda Item 9, Provision of technical and financial support todeveloping countries.

Further information

Participants

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