Report of main proceedings for 10 February 1995

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

PLENARY

The Plenary held informal consultations on the Rules of Procedure in the morning anddiscussed arrangements for COP-1 and the Permanent Secretariat in the afternoon.

AGENDA ITEM 6 " RULES OF PROCEDURE: The Chair of theinformal consultations, Amb. T.P. Sreenivasan, proposed that delegates exchangeviews on the outstanding issues in the Rules of Procedure (A/AC.237/L.22/Rev.1) andthen establish a drafting group to work out the details.

Rule 4 (Dates of Sessions): Delegates could not reach agreement on thebracketed sentence prohibiting COP sessions during religious holidays of a significantnumber of delegates. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Sudan called for its retention. France(on behalf of the EU), Fiji, Australia, Kenya, Benin and the UK understood theconcerns, however, worried about setting a precedent. Furthermore, many agreed thatthe second paragraph of Rule 4 allows for enough flexibility in setting the dates ofmeetings.

Rule 6 (Observers): Delegates agreed to remove the brackets so that "anyinternational entity or entities entrusted by the COP pursuant to Article 11 of theConvention with the operation of the financial mechanism" can be represented at theCOP as observers.

Rule 12 (Agenda): Two issues remain: should the Secretariat consult withthe President or the Bureau when submitting additional items for the agenda, andshould there be a time limit. Some delegates proposed replacing this rule with Rule 11from the Biodiversity Convention's Rules of Procedure. Others thought that thesubmission of agenda items was covered in Rules 10 and 13.

Rule 27 (Subsidiary Bodies): For Paragraph 2, on establishing subsidiarybodies, the Parties agreed to delete "by consensus," and to begin the paragraph with areference to Article 7(2)(i).

For paragraph 4, on meetings of subsidiary bodies, the EU and Argentina commentedthat convening the meetings in conjunction with the sessions of the COP would notallow the Secretariat time to disseminate the results. China, Saudi Arabia, Trinidad andTobago, and Kuwait said their staffs were limited and meetings in conjunction withthe COP would allow for better use of resources.

Rule 42 (Voting): The major issues to be resolved include the general ruleon matters of procedure, deviations from that rule; the general rule on matters ofsubstance, the rule on the adoption of protocol, and the rule on financial matters.Numerous delegates said that matters of procedure should be decided by a simplemajority. There was disagreement on whether matters of substance and/or protocolsshould be decided by consensus or, if that fails, by a 2/3 or a 3/4 majority.

AGENDA ITEM 2 " ARRANGEMENTS FOR COP-1: The InterimSecretariat introduced the relevant document A/AC.237/78, Add.1 and Add.2 andinvited the Plenary to comment on the establishment of a sessional Committee of theWhole, participation in the debate during the ministerial segment and duration ofstatements. The EU stressed the importance of paragraph 42 of A/AC.237/78 allowingfor endorsement of the INC"s recommendations without referring them to theCommittee of the Whole. Germany and Hungary commented on the need for aproductive ministerial segment. The Plenary accepted the suggestions in the document.The Chair reported on preliminary consultations concerning the election of officers forCOP-1 and the subsidiary bodies. The head of the German delegation will serve asPresident. There will be seven Vice-Presidents, a Rapporteur and the Chairs of the twosubsidiary bodies.

AGENDA ITEM 10 -- REVIEW OF ACTIVITIES OF THE INTERIMSECRETARIAT: The Interim Secretariat introduced document A/AC.237/80, areview of Secretariat activities and extrabudgetary funds. He explained the geographicdiversity of the staff, estimates for funding needs and contributions to the SpecialVoluntary Fund. The EU, supported by Germany, Switzerland and Canada, proposed aworking group to address budgetary matters and asked that it review the 1995 and1996/97 budgets.

AGENDA ITEM 5 " DESIGNATION OF A PERMANENTSECRETARIAT: The Chair introduced document A/AC.237/79 on designationof the Permanent Secretariat, and distributed A/AC.237/79/Add.5, Conclusions of theContact Group, and Add.6, Institutional linkages.

Institutional Linkages: The Chair summarized the document and said theywould discuss this further on Monday.

Financial rules of the COP and its subsidiary bodies: The Chair reportedthat in A/AC.237/79/Add.5, the Contact Group on the Permanent Secretariat analyzedboth the financial procedures and the budget outline for 1996/97. The Contact Groupsupported the establishment of a Finance Committee, consisting of 10-15 Parties,which could meet during sessions of the COP or the subsidiary bodies. The ContactGroup also proposed establishing a small group at this session to study the 1996/97budget outline.

Physical Location: The Contact Group recommended that the Committeetake three criteria into account in assessing the offers to host the PermanentSecretariat: convenience of access by delegations to the Permanent Secretariat andmeetings; possible budgetary savings by locating the Secretariat near other UN officesor secretariats; and the contribution offered by the potential host government in cashand/or in kind.

Italy and Poland supported Bonn. Mexico supported Toronto. Australia supportedGeneva, because co-location of secretariats allows cross-fertilization among secretariatpersonnel and saves costs. It also saves costs for governments that would be able tomaintain fewer diplomatic missions. For similar reasons, the US, New Zealand andNorway also prefer Geneva. The Russian Federation and Japan have not completedtheir analyses of the proposals. Zimbabwe is flexible. Nigeria said that economics andco-location are logical considerations, but hoped that this would not preventdeveloping countries from hosting other UN secretariats. Canada added that the logicof the Contact Group"s report is that if a city is not a UN center, it should not apply.

WORKING GROUP I

Working Group I concluded its discussion of Joint Implementation, consideredsubsidiary bodies, and conducted informal negotiations on the Co-Chair"s draftdecision on methodological issues.

AGENDA ITEM 7(c) " JOINT IMPLEMENTATION: The Netherlandsnoted its experimental joint implementation (JI) programme and expressed regret thatJI projects initiated prior to the pilot phase may not be credited. Kenya suggested thatthe COP should establish a clearinghouse for transfer of technologies employed in theJI pilot phase, so that developing country participants are not left at the mercy of theprivate sector. The Chair proposed establishing a contact group to resolve differences.

AGENDA ITEM 7(e) " SUBSIDIARY BODIES: The Secretariatpresented document A/AC.237/85 on the roles of the subsidiary bodies. France, onbehalf of the EU, supported by Canada and others, endorsed the SBSTA"s twotechnical advisory panels. The EU added that the review of adequacy of commitmentsshould be given to an ad hoc committee. The US thought this was the SBI"sresponsibility. Australia said that both bodies are the engine of the COP and theConvention, and added that an ad hoc committee under SBI review theadequacy of commitments. Benin pointed out that periodic reports on theimplementation of the Convention had not been included. Japan called for limiting thenumber of working languages. New Zealand said that the SBSTA should serve as thelink between IPCC and the COP, and the negotiation of any new instrumentstrengthening the Convention should be under the SBI. The US called for a cleardivision of responsibilities with the SBSTA offering guidelines used to producenational communications, and the SBI evaluating the synthesis report based onmeasures and policies from national communications. The US also stressed the needfor maintaining the intellectual objectivity of the IPCC. The Philippines, on behalf ofG-77 and China, said that the SBSTA should not be subordinated to the SBI as if theywere parallel bodies, and added that the SBSTA should work out guidelines for theIPCC report. China said that given the importance of both bodies, all six UN workinglanguages were required. Malawi said that the IPCC should not be subordinated to theSBSTA.

AGENDA ITEM 7(d) " METHODOLOGIES: The Chair initiatedinformal consultations on Item 7(d), Methodological Issues. China objected toparagraph 1(b) directing non-Annex I parties to use IPCC guidelines in preparing theirnational communications. He said the guidelines are too bulky, complicated andexpensive for developing countries to implement. He suggested developing countryParties would work out comparable guidelines for their own use. The Chair pointed tothe phrase "as appropriate and to the extent possible" and developed country Parties"discretionary use of the guidelines as giving developing countries flexibility. China,supported by Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, India, Kuwait, Micronesia and Iran,suggested changing the phrase to "as appropriate and to the extent possiblesimplified." The G-77 asked for further time to study the draft decision to develop acommon position.

The US, supported by the EU, the Netherlands, Japan, Canada and Australia, said itwas concerned about the form and nature of the simplification, who would simplifythe guidelines, how transparency would be maintained, and what revising theguidelines might cost. China responded that the G-77 and China would revise theguidelines, that transparency was a relative term in light of some Annex 1communications, and that simplified guidelines would cost less to apply thanscholastic, bombastic and complicated forms from the existing guidelines. France, onbehalf of the EU, said "simplified" leaves a broad scope for interpretation, andsuggested that developing countries could use IPCC default guidelines. The Chairasked if China would accept adding "defaults," but China reiterated that the IPCCguidelines are too cumbersome. As a compromise, the Chair suggested amending thetext to read that non-Annex I Parties could use IPCC guidelines "or the simplifieddefault methodologies adopted by the IPCC" and leave the original text to read "asappropriate and to the extent possible." China said the IPCC should not giveinstructions on reporting to sovereign States, but agreed to accept the Chair"ssuggestion.

The EU suggested adding language to paragraph 1(c) to read "provided that theinventories are compiled on a fully disaggregated and detailed gas-by-gas basis andthat the methodologies and calculations are transparent," and "on a provisional basis"so that new IPCC methodologies could be added in the future. China said theamendment sounded like bombs to developing countries. France said the languagecould be amended to refer to previous decisions of the INC on guidelines, inventoriesand national communications. China accepted "taking account the decisions of theINC" and the paragraph was adopted.

In sub-paragraph 1(d)(ii), the EU added that the SBSTA provide advice to the COPand the SBI. China said that under the Convention both the SBSTA and SBI areparallel organizations and suggested that SBSTA provide advice to the COP and notthe SBI. The UK agreed that the bodies are parallel, but that Article 9 of theConvention states that the SBSTA was established to provide advice to the COP and,as appropriate, its other subsidiary bodies.

In sub-paragraph 1(d)(iv) on a work plan and timetable on the allocation and controlof emissions from international bunker fuels, the EU added a new sub-paragraph thatthe SBSTA, with the guidance of SBI, take into account ongoing work in governmentsand IGOs. In Paragraph 2 on the contribution of relevant organizations, including theIPCC to the work of the SBSTA, the EU suggested adding "scientific aspects of"before "methodologies." The Working Group then informally accepted the text. TheG-77 and China asked for time to review the "deja vu" document and theWorking Group was adjourned.

IN THE CORRIDORS

It appears as though governments that want to host the Permanent Secretariat have notlimited themselves to lobbying other governments. In an interesting role reversal, somegovernment delegates are lobbying NGOs for their support. In the end, however, itwill be the governments' decision. As of Friday, consensus had not emerged. Thecurrent tally, according to Plenary statements, is: Bonn (2); Geneva (4); Toronto (1);Montevideo (0); and undecided (3).

THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY

PLENARY: The Plenary will meet this morning to review progress duringthe first week. In the afternoon, the Plenary is expected to resume consideration ofAgenda Item 5, Permanent Secretariat, and Agenda Item 6, Rules of Procedure.

WORKING GROUP I: Working Group I will hold informal consultationson the formation of a contact group on JI and then discuss the draft text on the firstreview of national communications from Annex I Parties and the draft text on theroles of the subsidiary bodies.

INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS: This morning, Amb. Sreenivasan isexpected to convene a drafting group on the Rules of Procedure. There will also beanother meeting of the informal group on guidance to the financial mechanism.

Further information

Participants

Negotiating blocs
European Union
Group of 77 and China
Non-state coalitions
NGOs

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