Report of main proceedings for 18 June 2004

20th Session of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies (SB 20)

On Friday, delegates to SB-20 met in numerous contact groups and a SBSTA in-session workshop. Contact groups considered UNFCCC Article 6 (education, training and public awareness), arrangements for intergovernmental meetings, capacity building, implementation of decision 5/CP.7 (implementation of UNFCCC Article 4.8 and 4.9 on adverse effects), technology transfer, and good practice guidance (GPG) on LULUCF. The in-session workshop heard presentations on scientific, technical and socioeconomic aspects of impacts of, and vulnerability and adaptation to, climate change.


UNFCCC ARTICLE 6: This contact group was chaired by Markus Nauser (Switzerland), who encouraged Parties to provide guidance to the Secretariat for elaboration of the clearing house on Article 6 activities. The Secretariat presented the UNFCCC information network Internet site containing a small-scale model of the clearing house ( Parties then discussed the target audience of the clearing house, focus areas for the first phase of work, and nodes for supplying and maintaining the information on the site. The G-77/CHINA stressed the need to assist Parties who do not have national sites. The EU and NAMIBIA suggested that the first phase of work should target Parties. Several Parties supported regional and sub-regional nodes for supplying and maintaining information. The US encouraged the involvement of existing institutions to fulfill these roles.

ARRANGEMENTS FOR INTERGOVERNMENTAL MEETINGS: This contact group was chaired by Karsten Sach (Germany). Participants agreed that as views on the inclusion of the second review of adequacy of commitments under UNFCCC Article 4.2 (a) and (b) were well known, Chair Sach would ask the Secretariat to take note of the SBI Plenary discussion on Thursday, 17 June, including on the footnote suggested by the G-77/China. Regarding arrangements for COP-10, delegates discussed the possible timing, structure and themes of the high-level segment. ARGENTINA and SWITZERLAND said the themes should appeal to ministers and delegates. Parties discussed the proposed theme on energy and climate change, with SAUDI ARABIA cautioning against focusing on any single energy sector.

On organization of the intergovernmental process, delegates discussed the timing of a suggested workshop, with several Parties stressing the importance of such a workshop. On effective participation in the UNFCCC process, the EU and JAPAN presented views on options listed by the Secretariat to promote participation by NGOs and indigenous peoples. Chair Sach said the issue of observer status to the CDM EB was regulated by an existing COP decision (decision 21/CP.8 on the CDM EB).

CAPACITY BUILDING: This contact group was chaired by Dechen Tsering (Bhutan), who listed possible elements for draft conclusions, which will be made available to participants before the next contact group meeting. She invited participants to suggest elements for a draft COP decision. Discussions centered on, inter alia: synergies with other Rio conventions; elements of the technical paper on the range and effectiveness of capacity building, including indicators for capacity-building projects; and the relevance of National Capacity Self Assessments in assessing capacity needs for climate change.

IMPLEMENTATION OF DECISION 5/CP.7: This contact group was co-chaired by Paul Watkinson (France) and Mohamed Mahmoud Ould El Ghaouth (Mauritania). Co-Chair Watkinson said the negotiation text forwarded from SBI-19 would form the basis of discussions. KENYA, for the G-77/China, suggested re-organizing the document under sub-headings, and circulated text with proposed changes and additions. Several Parties, including the EU and US, supported the suggestion for re-organizing the text, with the US also circulating a proposal.

Delegates worked to remove brackets, and presented changes and additions on, inter alia: a synthesis document on submissions on activities to meet the specific needs and circumstances of developing country Parties arising from the adverse effects of climate change and response measures; a call for submissions of views on insurance and risk measures; regional workshops; and mobilization of technical and financial resources. Co-Chair Watkinson invited delegates to review and consult on the new proposals before the next contact group meeting.


TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER: The contact group considered draft conclusions. On text regarding the results of the TT:CLEAR survey, the EU, with JAPAN and CANADA, opposed referring to specific results and suggested noting the survey generally instead. GHANA, for the G-77/China, supported by UGANDA, favored retaining the original language reflecting that the Internet site is lightly used by non-Annex I Parties. CHINA, supported by G-77/CHINA, suggested referring to figures on the site’s usage in the draft conclusions. The US, supported by the EU and CANADA, and opposed by the G-77/CHINA, proposed noting the survey and its useful feedback and recommendations, including the concern that the site is lightly used by non-Annex I Parties. Discussion on this paragraph was suspended. On text regarding the workshop on innovative financing, THAILAND, supported by the G-77/CHINA, and opposed by the US, EU, CANADA, SWITZERLAND and JAPAN, suggested calling on the workshop to generate concrete proposals on funding mechanisms under UNFCCC Article 4.5 (technology transfer). The US, CANADA and SWITZERLAND said the proposed wording is restrictive. Co-Chair Andrej Kranjc invited interested Parties to consult informally on the matter.

LULUCF GPG: On definitions and methodological issues relating to degradation of forests, devegetation and other vegetation types, AUSTRALIA and others supported discussing the matter within a broader dialogue on second commitments. TUVALU, with BRAZIL, suggested an on-going discussion on the matter. On factoring out, AUSTRALIA circulated text calling for a forward-looking dialogue that takes a broad approach to LULUCF issues. The US, CANADA, JAPAN and NEW ZEALAND supported this comprehensive approach. The EU, TUVALU and BRAZIL preferred a focused approach and suggested holding a technical workshop after COP-10, which would consider submissions by Parties and possibly deal with devegetation and degradation. Co-Chair William Kojo Agymang-Bonsu said the Co-Chairs would draft new text. Parties also discussed draft conclusions on harvested wood products.


SBSTA Chair Benrageb chaired the workshop.

SESSION 1: HOW CAN CLIMATE CHANGE RISK BE ASSESSED? Introducing the topic, Zbigniew Kundzewicz, Polish Academy of Sciences, defined the concepts of vulnerability, risk, and adaptation to climate change. He noted the increasing rate of temperature rise and the resulting aggregate adverse impacts.

Roger Jones, Atmospheric Research, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Australia, spoke on the suitability of risk assessment to inform adaptation needs, and called for focused assessment of the adaptive potential of different activities.

Mahendra Shah, International Institute for Applied System Analysis, presented on climate change impacts on agriculture. He highlighted severe impacts in Southern Africa, drawing attention to inequity of impacts among countries.

Xuedu Lu, Ministry of Science and Technology, China, presented on methodologies for impact studies on climate change in China. He noted the number of uncertainties resulting from models and methods, and called on SBSTA to promote research and development of assessment tools in developing countries.

Dagmar Schröter, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, reported on methods to assess European vulnerability to climate change and shared preliminary results, noting that by 2050, overall consequences of climate change in Europe will be adverse. She highlighted the importance of science-policy dialogues.

In the ensuing discussion, participants addressed, inter alia, issues of spatial and temporal scale, uncertainties as an intrinsic part of scientific progress, the lack of insurance mechanisms in SIDS, and risk perceptions.

SESSION 2: HOW IS CLIMATE CHANGE RISK PERCEIVED? Donald Lemmen, Natural Resources Canada, said risk perception and adaptive capacity vary. He noted that vulnerability to current climate at the local and regional level, and the engagement of decision makers are central to raising risk awareness.

Lourdes Tibig, Philippine Atomspheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, said floods, tropical cyclones, storm surges, monsoon rains and droughts are primary risks to the Philippines. She outlined the risks of climate change to agriculture, food and health sectors, and coastal and water resources. 

Antonio Queface, Eduardo Mondlane University, Mozambique, described Mozambique�s vulnerability to tropical cyclones, floods and droughts, which are aggravated by the country�s geographical location, limited ability to forecast extreme events, reduced capability to adapt to natural disasters, and high climate variability.

In the discussion, TUVALU asked if a group of risk insurance experts could advance the UNFCCC process. He also asked how models for risk assessment could be rendered meaningful at the local level. Lemmen suggested focusing on areas with highest vulnerability. NIUE asked how resilience could be increased. Lemmen responded that lessons could be learnt from the process of building resilience.

SESSION 3: ADAPTATION AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Saleemul Huq, International Institute for Environment and Development, UK, said adaptation planning should be based on existing knowledge, and stressed the importance of the development community in this respect.

Shardul Agrawala, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, said adaptation is not always synergistic with development processes, but noted that adaptive processes are already taking place in various sectors. He stressed that new plans cannot be effectively implemented if there is a poor track record for implementing past plans.

Mohamed El-Raey, University of Alexandria, Egypt, spoke on adaptation measures in Egypt. He highlighted the importance of anticipatory and specific adaptation.

Ko Barret, US Agency for International Development, described her organization�s efforts to incorporate awareness of climate-related risks into projects. She noted that the aim is to raise awareness among project managers that incorporating adaptation concerns ensures project resilience in the long run.

In the discussion, SAUDI ARABIA urged addressing adaptation to response measures. TUVALU said that lack of institutional capacity could affect implementation of adaptation plans. UGANDA recalled that projects are dependent on funding, and noted that many countries are currently unable to carry out adaptation due to lack of funding. Huq said progress on this matter should be evident shortly. CLIMATE ACTION NETWORK called for new and additional funds for adaptation, and pointed to synergies on adaptation among stakeholders, institutions and processes.

SESSION 4: SOLUTIONS AND OPPORTUNITIES: Anthony Nyong, University of Jos, Nigeria, presented on adapting to droughts among rural households in semi-arid Nigeria. He said local stakeholders� views must be considered to develop successful adaptation measures.

Nagmeldin Elhassan, Higher Council for Environment and Natural Resources, Sudan, shared lessons on adaptation from Sudan. He stressed that action on adaptive capacity building and enhancement of coping capacity are necessary to reduce vulnerability.

Ahsan Ahmed, Bangladesh Unnayan Parishad Centre for Water and Environment, spoke on lessons learned on adaptation in Bangladesh. He emphasized that projects should aim to: encourage communities to identify the causes of their vulnerability; include field-level discussions on indigenous solutions; target intervention at different levels of governance; and aim for long-term solutions.

Carmenza Robledo, Intercooperation, Switzerland, spoke on community management of natural resources as an instrument to increase resilience. She described a review of twelve Intercooperation community initiatives, concluding that increasing adaptive capacity requires developing institutional frameworks at national and sub-national levels and methodologies at the local level.

Serge Planton, Météo France, spoke on adaptation to the 2003 heat wave in France. He stressed that adapting to heat waves requires combining different levels of decision making with national coordination.

In the discussion, CUBA asked if forecasting could have prevented the heat-wave impacts. Planton explained that there had been lack of communication between institutions. The INTERNATIONAL STRATEGY FOR DISASTER REDUCTION drew parallels between adaptation and disaster management.

CONCLUSIONS: Chair Benrageb said conclusions of the workshop will be presented to SBSTA on Monday, 21 June.


High-level attendance in the contact group on arrangements for intergovernmental meetings and spirited discussion on the format of the high-level segment led to speculation on the importance placed by governments on attracting a star cast of heads of State and ministers to the tenth anniversary of the UNFCCC. Meanwhile, several delegates commented on the success of the in-session workshop on adaptation.


CONTACT GROUPS: A contact group on non-Annex I national communications will convene at 10:00 am in Haydn. The contact group on capacity building will meet at 11:30 am in Liszt. The contact group on implementation of decision 5/CP.7 will convene at 3:00 pm in Haydn.

SBSTA IN-SESSION WORKSHOP: This workshop will meet from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm in Plenary II to consider vulnerability and risk, sustainable development, opportunities and solutions related to climate change mitigation.

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