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Report of main proceedings for 16 July 1996

UNFCCC COP 2

The seventh day of the Second Conference of the Parties (COP-2) to the FrameworkConvention on Climate Change (FCCC) commenced with meetings of the SubsidiaryBody for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and the Ad Hoc Group onthe Berlin Mandate (AGBM). The Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) andAGBM met in the afternoon.

AD HOC GROUP ON THE BERLIN MANDATE

The third meeting of the AGBM convened to consider Agenda Item 3 (strengtheningcommitments) on Articles 4.2(a) (national policies) and (b) (communications) of theFCCC. Kilaparti Ramakrishna (Woods Hole Research Center) reported on a Round Tableconcerning impacts on developing countries of new commitments by Annex I Parties.

The Chair summarized discussion under the agenda item. He regretted that very little wasdone to narrow down policies and measures issues. Outstanding issues on QELROsinclude emission levels, whether commitments should be binding, multiparty obligations,and base and target years. Some delegations believe the SAR provides the basis forambitious QELROs. Several supported QELROs in the AOSIS protocol. Uncertaintiesremain about costs and impacts of GHG reductions. A number stressed flexibility anddifferentiation of commitments, possibly including different base years to take account ofnational circumstances. Some questioned the possibility of agreeing differentiatedpolicies in time. The Chair will include a request for a follow-up meeting and the viewthat non-action is not an option in his report. SAUDI ARABIA requested that anassessment of impacts be annexed to a protocol. Reports from the three Round TableChairs will be annexed to the Report of the AGBM Session.

Under Agenda Item 6 (taking stock, report to COP), the Chair said that one year remainsto complete the work. Assessment and analysis has not been concluded and little has beendone on the negotiations. The AGBM will meet three times before COP-3. A number ofproposals are on the table and the Chair hopes further proposals will follow. He adoptedan EU proposal inviting governments to send new suggestions or proposals until October1996. SAUDI ARABIA said a mechanism must be found to keep non-Annex I Partiesinformed about discussion in Annex I Parties. The EU noted its concern that the processis not advancing as intended. A first draft protocol should be under negotiation atAGBM-6.

The AGBM Chair invited comments on his Draft Conclusions (FCCC/AGBM/1996/L.2).The EU and Saudi Arabia objected to a reference to an “equation” to express linkagebetween policies and measures and QELROs. In a paragraph on elaboration of policiesand measures the US, supported by AUSTRALIA, objected to the inclusion of “a menuapproach.” FRANCE qualified a reference to harmonized policies and measures byprefacing the reference with “and/or”. GERMANY replaced mandatory with “required”approach to policies and measures. AUSTRALIA incorporated sentences from the fourthparagraph, which notes the argument that no set of policies and measures may beappropriate for all Annex I Parties and concerns about competition.

On the paragraph concerning the adoption of policies and measures, SAUDI ARABIAcalled for language noting the need for further studies. The EU proposed that action be“coordinated” rather than “common or harmonized”. KUWAIT said policies andmeasures should be assessed in terms of their “economic” costs and their impact ondeveloping countries. GERMANY and the US recommended that “environmental” costsand benefits be considered and EGYPT said their role in enhancing carbon sinks shouldalso be noted. The paragraph was adopted to reflect that several criteria were identifiedfor assessing policies and measures including their: potential to limit GHG emissions andenhance carbon sinks; economic costs and benefits; long and short term impact oneconomic growth in developing countries; and political feasibility as well as the need forcoordinated action.

In a paragraph dealing with outstanding issues on QELROs, KENYA, supported by theUS, FRANCE and GERMANY, noted that it was left open whether the level of emissionreductions should be politically or scientifically based. KUWAIT proposed thatQELROs’ impact on the economic and social structure of developing countries as well astheir effect on atmospheric GHG concentrations be recognized. These proposals wereadopted.

The paragraph relating to the SAR was adopted without amendment in recognition ofSBSTA’s administration of the issue. After CHINA, supported by SAUDI ARABIA,KUWAIT, VENEZUELA and COLOMBIA, objected to joint implementation andtradable emission permits in a paragraph on mechanisms to promote flexibility, the USinserted an additional reference to specify Annex I Parties. In a paragraph on approachesto differentiation of commitments, AUSTRALIA added a proposal based on “projected”emission trends. The NETHERLANDS added market-based differentiation mechanisms.In a paragraph concerning the impact of Annex I commitments on developing countries,SAUDI ARABIA, supported by KUWAIT, added references to burden sharing for allParties and relevant studies. PERU specified negative impacts.

SUBSIDIARY BODY FOR SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL ADVICE

On the development and transfer of technology and the establishment of a roster ofexperts, the Chair stated that while both issues were to be resolved jointly between thesubsidiary bodies, the SBI will manage their remaining progress, given the technicalnature of the issues. The Chair proposed a revised draft decision on use of the SAR. Thedecision notes the Parties’ differing opinions on the SAR and SBSTA’s inability toachieve consensus on the issue. A final decision should be left to the COP.

NIGERIA requested that the different views be presented in a non-biased way. TheMARSHALL ISLANDS expressed concern that presenting the two views equally wouldnot accurately reflect what transpired in SBSTA, because a majority of Parties endorsedthe SAR. Following distribution of the Chair’s written text, several Parties said that it didnot accurately reflect his stated proposal. The Chair then noted that the original bracketedtext or the revised draft were the only options left at this stage. SAUDI ARABIA statedthat several delegations have accepted proposals that they did not completely support inorder to avoid using brackets. If brackets are included here, then other decisions mayhave to be reconsidered.

The Chair then proposed using the original text and noting that SBSTA “took note of” thetwo views on the SAR, rather than “decides”. Several delegations, including KUWAIT,CANADA, the MARSHALL ISLANDS, and the EU objected. The US, supported byAUSTRALIA, proposed language urging the COP to take a decision on the issue at thissession, and the EU objected.

The Chair reminded delegates that there were no more SBSTA meetings in this sessionand the only option is the original text. He noted the attempts to avoid brackets, but saidit cannot avoided at this point. SAUDI ARABIA, KUWAIT and OMAN voiced strongobjections, but the Chair noted many delegations could not accept the revised version. Hewill provide a full explanation of the results with his summary. Many delegationsrecorded objections, including SAUDI ARABIA, KUWAIT, QATAR, NIGERIA,OMAN, UAE, KUWAIT, LEBANON, CHINA, SYRIA and JORDAN.

SBSTA also considered the draft decisions of the contact group on communications fromnon-Annex I Parties, which incorporates several additional responsibilities. BRAZIL saidthat the contact group decided that its work would not be prejudiced by the COP’sdecision on guidelines for initial communications on the abatement of emissions. Severaldelegations, including CHINA, KUWAIT, INDIA, COSTA RICA, the PHILIPPINES,CANADA, the US and JAPAN, endorsed the decisions and acknowledged thecooperative efforts of non-Annex I Parties. The EU recognized the added responsibilitiesfor non-Annex I Parties. The PHILIPPINES also linked the expanded commitments ofnon-Annex I Parties to their potential role in obtaining funding.

SUBSIDIARY BODY FOR IMPLEMENTATION

SBI met to consider a number of draft decisions negotiated in closed contact groups. Thedraft decision on Agenda Item 3(b) (non-Annex I communications) addresses assistanceto developing country Parties in preparing initial communications, and in its Annex listsguidelines for the preparation of these reports. The draft decision was adopted. The draftdecision on Agenda Item 5 (technology transfer) addresses transfer of environmentally-sound technology (EST) and calls for measures such as reports, workshops and a roster ofexperts to expedite this. The draft decision was adopted.

The session then adopted a draft decision on Agenda Item 6 (activities implementedjointly), which is also on the agenda of SBSTA and had been negotiated by that body.The WORLD BUSINESS COUNCIL FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENTunderscored the role of the private sector in AIJ for the transfer of ESTs. The draftdecison on Agenda Item 4(a)(i) (guidance to the GEF) emphasizes provision of agreedfull costs by the GEF for preparation of national communications by non-Annex I Parties.The draft decision was adopted. The PHILIPPINES emphasized the paragraph calling onnon-Annex I Parties to follow guidelines and format adopted by COP-2. The USsupported this and highlighted other guidelines for the GEF as well.

The draft decision on Agenda Item 4(a)(ii) (Annex to the MOU between COP and GEF)had not been agreed to prior to the meeting. The Chair referred the matter to the Bureau.INDIA highlighted a paper by the G-77/CHINA which sets out concerns on the Annex.SBI also adopted draft decisions on Agenda Item 4(b) (Secretariat activities relating totechnical and financial support to Parties) and Item 7(a) (establishment of the permanentsecretariat).

Delegates also considered a recommendation on the volume of documentation. OnAgenda Item 3(a) (Annex I national communications), the Chair of the contact grouppresented the draft conclusions of SBI-3 and a draft decision to be submitted by theChair. KUWAIT, OMAN and SAUDI ARABIA requested more time for consideration.The Chair reminded delegates that there had been many consultations on this item and theconclusions and decision were adopted. SBI also accepted the draft decision on itsprogramme of work. On Agenda Item 5 (a) (implementation of Article 4), delegatesrecommended that COP refer review until COP-3. Delegates also accepted the draftreport of SBI-3 (FCCC/SBI/1996/L.3).

IN THE CORRIDORS I

Some delegations are reported to have expressed interest in supporting a new NGOinitiative that will highlight the concerns of both vulnerable and low island states. Thegroup will combine demands for “contraction” (60% reduction of global fossil fusel usewithin a given time-frame) and “convergence” (an equity principle based on convergenceof above-par and below-par per capita consumption of fossil-carbon).

IN THE CORRIDORS II

A contact group of the SBI failed to agree on a draft decision, SBI Agenda Item 4(a)(ii),defining the Annex to the Memorandum of Understanding between the COP and the GEFCouncil. The Annex is intended to specify funding necessary to implement the FCCC.According to observers, a compromise measure requesting the COP to work out fundingrequirements in consultation with the GEF was rejected. The matter will be taken up bythe Bureau.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY

PLENARY: The Ministerial Segment will convene at 10:00 a.m. in theAssembly Hall.

MINISTERIAL ROUND TABLE: The Round Table will commence at 3:00p.m. in room XVII. The session will be open only to high level heads of delegations.

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