Report of main proceedings for 4 April 1995

UNFCCC COP 1

COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE

The Chair opened the meeting and announced that he would report on theconsultations on the location of the Permanent Secretariat, joint implementation,transfer of technology and the results of the drafting group on the budget.

JOINT IMPLEMENTATION: Estrada noted that there has been someprogress on joint implementation and that the time is ripe for consultations betweengroups. He proposed that Mahmoud Ould El Ghaouth coordinate these consultationsbeginning Tuesday afternoon.

TRANSFER OF TECHNOLOGY: The G-77 and China"s revised draftdecision on technology transfer was distributed. The Republic of Korea, on behalf ofthe G-77 and China, noted that after consultations with other groups only three sets ofbrackets remained in the document.

The first brackets were in the second preambular paragraph that lists relevantprovisions of the Convention related to technology transfer. The EU wanted to add areference to Article 4.1. The G-77 and China thought this was unacceptable. The UKpointed out that Article 4.1(c) relates to the transfer of technology and Article 4.1 as awhole contains obligations of all Parties. Australia supported the reference to Article4.1 and noted that more discussion is needed on paragraph 1(b) concerning aninventory and assessment of environmentally sound and economically viabletechnologies and know-how conducive to mitigating and adapting to climate change.

The Republic of Korea, on behalf of the G-77 and China, suggested as a compromisethat Article 4.1 be included in the preamble, that the word "terms" be retained inparagraph 1(b) rather than the "conditions" under which such transfer could takeplace, and that the bracketed phrase "and as appropriate" be deleted from paragraph3(a). France, on behalf of the EU, accepted this compromise, and added a footnote toparagraph 2(b) that a reference to communications include regional economicintegration organizations included in the Convention.

The US, supported by New Zealand, thought further discussion was necessary. Heasked if it was necessary to set the agendas for all future COPs in paragraph 3(a) andwho will provide the advice to improve the operational modalities for the effectivetransfer of technology in paragraph 3(b). After several additional proposals by China,the Netherlands, the US and the Republic of Korea, the Chair noted that the discussionmust come to an end, closed the debate and suggested that the Committee adopt thetext with the original compromise suggested by the Republic of Korea, on behalf ofthe G-77 and China, and accepted by the EU. Despite protestations by the US that itsconcerns had not been addressed, the Chair gavelled this matter to a close and the textwas adopted.

BUDGET FOR THE PERMANENT SECRETARIAT: The Chair of thebudget consultations, Mahmoud Ould El Ghaouth, said that a small number ofpolitical decisions remain that will affect the Convention budget for the biennium1996-1997 (FCCC/CP/1995/L.4), and that their resolution will require completion ofthe budget figures. The document contains no figures for contributions from the hostgovernment, which will depend on the physical location of the Permanent Secretariat.It also has blanks for administration overhead and the year-end balance from voluntaryfunds. El Ghaouth also presented the draft decisions on extrabudgetary funding for theinterim secretariat for 1995 (FCCC/CP/1995/L.7) and other voluntary funding for thebiennium 1996-1997 (FCCC/CP/1995/L.8) for consideration.

At the suggestion of France, a footnote was added to L.4 explaining that the workingcapital reserve amounted to 8.3% of the operating budget, equivalent to one month"sbudget. A US recommendation to change a reference in L.8 from a "special voluntaryfund" into a "special fund" was also agreed. The Executive Secretary indicated thatthe rules describe a special fund with voluntary contributions, but that the amendmentwould not make the contribution an assessed one. The documents were recommendedto the COP for adoption.

LOCATION OF THE PERMANENT SECRETARIAT: Estrada remindeddelegates that consensus has not emerged from the consultations with the countriesoffering cities to host the Secretariat. To reach a consensus on the physical location ofthe Secretariat, Estrada suggested an "informal survey" where each Party shallindicate its preference on a piece of paper prepared for this purpose and place thispaper in a box. Any paper with more than one mark or no marks will be consideredinvalid. If one city has the "absolute majority" it will be proposed for a consensussolution. If not, there will be a second round with three cities and, if necessary, a thirdround with two cities.

Estrada then noted that budget implications and the need to establish a Secretariatwithout doubts about administrative arrangements made a decision imperative. Canadadisagreed that this was the appropriate time to decide. He said that INC-11"s intentwas for COP-1 to select a candidate city only if there was consensus. He urgeddelegates to consider using the survey later at a neutral site. Responding to a questionfrom Iran, the Chair said the survey would be informal and confidential as a means ofreaching consensus, not a binding vote.

Switzerland said it was not the time politically to pursue these consultations. He said itwould also be a bad UN precedent. The decision should be made on neutral ground,possibly at the CSD meeting in New York. The US said he was persuaded by theCanadian and Swiss concerns.

Italy, supported by Poland, said he was impressed by the Chair"s suggestion, and thatArticle 8.3 of the Convention says COP-1 should designate a Permanent Secretariat.Germany said now is an appropriate time to take a decision. Nigeria, Costa Rica,Ethiopia, Mali, Trinidad and Tobago, Togo, Cape Verde, Niger, Mauritius and Djiboutisupported the Chair"s proposal. Burkina Faso said that COP-1 should take thedecision, but the question should be put before the Ministerial Segment.

Canada said Article 8.3 did not require COP-1 to decide on the location. He called fora substantive discussion, including budget figures comparing costs for the fourlocations. The Chair said the figures had been presented in consultations on theConvention budget, and participating delegations have had an opportunity to reviewthem. The Chair said deferring the decision by a few weeks would be expensive andcomplicated. He said it was the feeling of the house that delegates should proceed,notwithstanding the reluctance of two candidates and some other delegations. Heemphasized that the survey was not a decision or a vote.

Canada said that regardless of what it was called, the Chair was proposing a decisionmechanism by majority vote. Canada noted his country"s offer to contribute anadditional $1 million (Canadian) for five years to the Secretariat budget. Canada alsodistributed budget figures for staff and travel that showed Toronto costs to be 54% ofGeneva, 67% of Montevideo and 70% of Bonn for 1996-1997. Switzerland said hewas pleased to see his supporters backing a quick decision and that there was progresson the Chair"s proposal. The US said it would not hold up progress. Uruguay agreedthat a decision should be made at Berlin. The Chair said the first survey would occurin the afternoon.

PLENARY

The fourth Plenary meeting opened with a report from Amb. Estrada on the work ofthe Committee of the Whole. He stated that the COW had agreed on the draftdecisions concerning the Secretariat"s budget, and recommended them for approvalunder Agenda Item 6. He also stated that a compromise had been reached duringdiscussions on technology transfer and that the decision is currently being translated.

The COW also approved an informal, confidential survey process for achievingconsensus on the location of the Permanent Secretariat. The first round of the surveywas completed at 4:00 pm, and none of the four cities offering to host the Secretariatreceived an absolute majority. The delegations representing the four cities have agreedto accept the survey"s outcome. Uruguay noted that the decision process had beentransparent and officially withdrew its offer to host the Secretariat in light of theresults of the first survey.

The President presented some items to be adopted on the final day of COP-1,including several recommendations and conclusions from INC-11. The COP will alsobe invited to adopt the following draft decisions from the COW: the roles ofsubsidiary bodies (FCCC/CP/1995/L.5); the report of the GEF (FCCC/CP/1995/L.1);institutional linkages (FCCC/CP/1995/L.3); financial rules and the indicative list ofassessments (FCCC/CP/1995/L.2/Rev.1); the Convention budget for 1996-97(FCCC/CP/1995/L.4/Rev.1); extrabudgetary funding (FCCC/CP/1995/L.7); othervoluntary funding (FCCC/CP/1995/L.8/Rev.1); and the draft decision on technologytransfer.

The President stated that there are two agenda items still pending for COP-1: 7(a)Adoption of the report on credentials and 7(b) Date and venue of COP-2. She addedthat Cape Verde has deposited its instrument of ratification, bringing the total to 128Parties.

CONSULTATIONS ON ADEQUACY OF COMMITMENTS

Negotiations on the elements of a mandate for consultations on commitmentscontinued throughout the day and night. By mid-day, one member of the so-called"Green Group" reported that the negotiations were proceeding relatively well, whileone developed country representative commented that negotiations were going frombad to worse. Environmental NGOs in the corridors outside of Room 7 expressedconcern that the result of these consultations would be merely an "empty mandate."Nevertheless, negotiations continued despite the storming of the room by the press at5:00 pm. All that was certain as the night wore on was that delegates and certainsteadfast or persistent NGOs had another long night ahead of them.

CONSULTATIONS ON JOINT IMPLEMENTATION

An informal working group chaired by Mahmoud Ould El Ghaouth beganconsultations on joint implementation (JI) Tuesday afternoon. A drafting group ofabout 30 delegates began negotiations Tuesday night, working from a paper circulatedby the G-77 and the EU and US draft decisions from INC-11. The drafting group wasexpected to work late into the night.

IN THE CORRIDORS

The second round of the "informal survey" of delegates on their preference for thephysical location of the Permanent Secretariat took place between 6:00 - 7:00 pm.Unlike the first round when 99 out of 114 eligible Parties present at the negotiationsparticipated, only 92 Parties entered Room 5 for the second round. When all the secretballots were counted, there was still no "absolute majority" and Estrada announcedthat the third round would take place on Wednesday and the choice would be betweenBonn and Geneva. The exact time of the third round will be determined by the Bureauon Wednesday morning.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY

PLENARY: The Ministerial Segment will begin this morning at 11:00 amwith an address with German Chancellor Dr. Helmut Kohl. When the MinisterialSegment resumes at 2:00 pm, the speakers" list for the six-hour session is expected toinclude ministers and other heads of delegations from the following countries: thePhilippines (on behalf of the G-77), France (on behalf of the EU), Norway, theEuropean Community, Algeria, the Netherlands, Poland, Papua New Guinea, theRussian Federation, Denmark, Venezuela, Germany, Argentina, Australia, Japan,Switzerland, Indonesia, Senegal, the United Kingdom, the United States, New Zealand,Mauritania, Myanmar, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, Brazil, Luxembourg, Spain andMauritius.

COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE: The COW will not meet again untilconsultations are complete on the outstanding issues, including the location of thePermanent Secretariat, adequacy of commitments and joint implementation. It isunlikely that the COW will meet today, but listen for an announcement as to the timeof the next session. Also listen for announcements on the third round of the "informalsurvey" and on further informal consultations on outstanding issues.

Further information

Participants

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

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