Report of main proceedings for 13 February 1995
11th Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for a Framework Convention on Climate Change (INC/FCCC)
On Monday morning, the Plenary first heard reports on progress to date and thendiscussed the designation of the Permanent Secretariat and arrangements for itsfunctioning. Working Group I met to discuss subsidiary bodies. In the afternoon, aplethora contact and drafting groups met throughout the UN basement.
The meeting began with progress reports from the Co-Chairs of Working Groups I andII. The Working Group I Co-Chair said the group had made considerable progressover the last week. The Group considered all five agenda items and the Co-Chairreported the following: 1) Methodological Issues " the Group reached agreement andcan finalize its recommendation for a draft decision for COP-1; 2) Review ofinformation communicated from Annex 1 Parties " the Co-Chairs circulated a draftdecision for COP-1; 3) Subsidiary Bodies " the Co-Chairs circulated a draft text lastweek; 4) Review of Adequacy of Commitments " the Group has concluded itsdiscussion, and the Co-Chairs are drafting a decision that will be ready soon; 5) JointImplementation " the Group is now working on a text. The Chair asked whether thedraft decision on Review of Communication would name specific countries, and theCo-Chair assured him that it would.
The Co-Chair of Working Group II reported that the Group had covered all items, butmust make "major progress" if the Group plans to have recommendations for COP-I.He reported the following: 1) Interim Arrangements " the Group agreed that the GEFwill remain the operating mechanism on an interim basis and will be reviewed withinfour years; 2) Modalities has four major sub-topics. On the format of the agreement,the Parties said they would need to know content before making a final decision. Onthe content, the Parties have generally agreed with the Secretariat"s suggestions. On theassessment of funding needs, the Group has not reached agreement. On the process ofinterim arrangements, the Group endorsed continuing consultation between the InterimSecretariat and the GEF Secretariat to draft an arrangement; 3) Policy Guidance " theCo-Chair said his current text indicates areas of disagreement with bracketed text; and4) Technical and Financial Support for Developing Countries " the Group has agreedon some areas and will continue its discussion on Tuesday.
The Chair then gave the floor to an NGO representative from the Climate ActionNetwork. The speaker was disappointed with INC-11 thus far, and said the AOSISproposal was "everyone"s opportunity for survival." He also stressed the need forbetter leadership from developed countries, and criticized the performance of the USand Germany.
AGENDA ITEM 5(b) " DESIGNATION OF THE PERMANENTSECRETARIAT AND ARRANGEMENTS FOR ITS FUNCTIONING: TheInterim Secretariat introduced document A/AC.237/79/Add.2, on the financial rules ofthe COP and its subsidiary bodies, and corrigenda 1 and 2. He also introducedA/AC.237/79/Add.5, a Contact Group paper on the Permanent Secretariat, andhighlighted the following: paragraph 8, which suggests a review of the budget by asmall representative group before consideration by the COP; paragraph 9, whichemphasizes the procedure of adopting a budget by consensus; and paragraph 10, whichrecommends using the UN scale for contributions. The paragraph contains a ceiling,but exempts no party. When the Interim Secretariat introduced Annex 1 toA/AC.237/79/Add.2, he commented on paragraph 2, which specifies a bienniumfinancial period, and paragraph 3, which contains bracketed language on the deadlinefor drawing up the administrative budget. Paragraph 4 contains two options for reviewof the budget: the COP could establish a Financial Committee or avail itself of the UNAdvisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ). He notedthe Contact Group prefers the first alternative, with advice from the ACABQ.
The Chair then opened the floor for comments. The EU and the US supported Annex Iand specifically noted paragraph 6, which requires the adoption of the budget byconsensus, and suggested that the scale of contributions mentioned in paragraph 9 bemore explicit. The EU noted that many provisions common to environmentalagreements are not included here, such as a requirement for consensus for amendmentsto financial rules, and a provision for reallocating the balance of assets should a fundbe dissolved. The EU also stated that these budgetary matters cannot be properlyconsidered in Plenary, and recommended establishing an open-ended group to considerAnnex I. The US and Australia supported the need for a reserve fund, but Japan andthe Russian Federation expressed concern over the amount.
Benin commented on paragraph 10 of A/AC.237/79/Add.5, on contributions, andrecommended providing for a floor as well as a ceiling. The Chair replied that theoriginal document had contained such a provision, but many developing countriesrequested its deletion. The proposal is based on the UN scale of contributions andprovides for a minimum of 0.01%.
The G-77, supported by Algeria and Brazil, noted that two considerations must betaken into account: the determination of developing country contributions on theability to pay, and the principle that no developing country must pay more than anydeveloped country. The Secretariat replied that the UN scale was chosen because itreflected the ability to pay. Algeria commented that the UN scale did not take intoaccount the principle of "common but differentiated" responsibilities.
The Interim Secretariat introduced document A/AC.237/79/Add.3, on the budgetoutline for the Permanent Secretariat, and noted that it is still unclear exactly what isexpected of the Secretariat and how much governments are prepared to pay for it. Heexplained that unlike other convention secretariats, this Secretariat will deal withglobal energy use, which is much broader than the scope of CITES or the MontrealProtocol, and comparisons to the secretariats for international policy reviews, such asthe OECD or the trade policy mechanism under GATT, were more accurate.
The EU expressed the need for a more detailed budget, and noted that the compositionof the ACABQ did not coincide with the Parties to the Convention. The InterimSecretariat replied that the ACABQ, a standing body, was only included to alleviateconcerns about the new Secretariat and that more guidance was needed from theParties before they could develop a detailed budget. Benin asked about staffrecruitment and the voluntary fund. The Secretariat responded that staff size willdepend on the size of the COP, and that the voluntary fund is entirely dependent uponcontributions.
AGENDA ITEM 4(a) -- LINKAGES: The Chair introducedA/AC.237/79/Add.5 on the institutional linkages between the Secretariat and the UNSecretariat. He highlighted paragraphs 3, 4, 5 and 6, the essential elements of thearrangements, and added that A/AC.237/79/Add.6 will be available on Tuesday.
WORKING GROUP I
AGENDA ITEM 7(a) " REVIEW OF NATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS:Working Group I postponed discussion on the review of national communicationsto permit the G-77 and China to discuss the Co-Chairs" draft.
AGENDA ITEM 7(e) " SUBSIDIARY BODIES: The Philippines, onbehalf of the G-77 and China, suggested adding language after paragraph 7 of the draftdecision to schedule no more than two meetings " one to coincide with the COP andone intersessional. He said it was difficult for developing countries to sendrepresentatives to more meetings. The Chair recommended waiting on scheduling untilthe issue is resolved in the Rules of Procedure.
The Philippines, on behalf of the G-77 and China, suggested adding "competentinternational bodies" after "provided by" and cutting the phrase "especially in supportof the review of adequacy of commitments" in the first bullet of Appendix 1. The USrecommended "competent bodies" to permit other than international bodies. Denmarksaid review of the adequacy of commitments was important and should not beremoved. Saudi Arabia suggested adding "economic" to "scientific, technical and otherinformation." Kuwait suggested using "socioeconomic." It was agreed that "competentbodies" and "socioeconomic" would be added, but that the last phrase would remainunchanged.
The Philippines suggested combining the second and third bullets of Appendix 1 toread, "On behalf of the Conference of Parties request climate change related scientificresearch from competent international bodies, including inter alia, IPCC;compile and synthesize scientific and technical information on the global situation inclimate change." The US asked whether it was intended to leave out "the latestdevelopments in science, to the extent possible, and assess the implications thereof."The Philippines said implications were covered by references to assessmentselsewhere in the draft. Uruguay objected since the amendment questioned the role ofthe IPCC by giving other organizations comparable status. The Chair suggestedinserting "Under the guidance of the COP" at the beginning of the section, rather thanin the bullet. The Philippines agreed to retain the deleted phrases. Switzerland objectedto using new language in "climate change related scientific research information." TheChair"s recommendation to combine bullets 2 and 3 and add the word "socioeconomic"was accepted. Saudi Arabia asked that "socioeconomic" be added wherever "scientificand technical" appear in the draft.
Under 9.2(b), the Philippines, on behalf of the G-77 and China, added "of Annex 1Parties" after "national communications." The Chair said that the recommendation is apermanent item and thus could apply to non-Annex I Parties in three years. NewZealand suggested adding "including the guidelines for their preparation" to "Makerecommendations on the technical aspects related to the review of informationcontained in national communications." The Philippines said the G-77 and China couldgive provisional approval to New Zealand"s proposed amendment.
IN THE CORRIDORS I
A contact group of 16 countries met Monday afternoon to resolve the remaining issuesrelated to joint implementation. The G-77 and China were represented by Argentina,Benin, China, Costa Rica, Malaysia, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Trinidad and Tobago.The EU was represented by Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands. The JUSCANZgroup was represented by Australia, the US and a country to be nominated, and theEastern European Group was represented by the Czech Republic and Russia. Thegroup agreed on the basic concepts describing JI and identified areas of divergence,including participation. Members agreed to continue discussions on areas of divergenceas well as the pilot phase, which the group has not yet addressed.
IN THE CORRIDORS II
By the conclusion of the afternoon"s informal drafting group meeting on the Rules ofProcedure, delegates reported mixed results. While agreement was reached on Rule 12(submission of agenda items), two other rules were re-opened. No progress was madeon Rule 4 (no sessions during sacred religious holidays) or on Rule 42 (votingprocedures), which affects the fate of the AOSIS draft protocol. The question iswhether protocols must be adopted by a three-fourths or two-thirds majority vote,where there is no consensus. If delegates do not reach agreement, it is likely that theCOP will follow the precedent of the Biodiversity Conference of the Parties, whichleft the voting rules in brackets when the Rules of Procedure were adopted.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
WORKING GROUP I: Working Group I will hear an NGO statement fromthe International Council on Local Environmental Initiative, and then resume informalconsultations on the Co-Chairs" draft recommendations and decisions on Agenda Item7(e), subsidiary bodies, and Agenda Item 7(a), review of national communications.
WORKING GROUP II: Working Group II is expected to address a numberof outstanding matters, including policy guidelines and modalities for the financialmechanism, technical cooperation by non-Annex I Parties, and technical and financialsupport to developing countries.