Report of main proceedings for 18 July 1996

UNFCCC COP 2

The Plenary met on the penultimate day of the Second Conference of the Parties (COP-2)to the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) to convene the MinisterialSegment. High level statements were interrupted in the afternoon to allow the Plenary tonote the Ministerial Declaration, which had been drafted following the Ministerial RoundTable on Wednesday.

PLENARY

MINISTERIAL SEGMENT: Ruth Dreifuss (Switzerland), Chair of theMinisterial Round Table, noted that a large majority of ministers had endorsed the resultsof the SAR and intended it as a basis for action, though political action is needed forsetting emission limits. She highlighted discussion at the Round Table session on: theconcern of SIDS and African countries over insufficient resources; the primary role ofdeveloped countries in GHG mitigation; the requirement for supplementarycommitments; the concern of oil-producing countries about effects on their economies;and the need to consider a text of a protocol at COP-3.

The Plenary then heard high level statements from delegations:

NORWAY: Bernt Bull, Ministry of Environment, outlined a legally-binding commitmentthat: recognizes different industry structures; is equitable and verifiable; is based onequity, not a flat rate reduction; and utilizes fiscal measures, e.g. carbon taxes.

KIRIBATI: Timbo Keariki, Minister of Environment and Social Development, stressedthat the coral atolls that comprise his nation are three meters above sea level, and urgedthat decisions under the FCCC be guided by the need to save the most vulnerableecosystems.

KENYA: John K. Sambu, Minister for Environment and Natural Resources, highlightedsevere droughts and famine in Africa vis-a-vis global climate change, and calledfor legally binding GHG targets and a draft protocol by COP-3. He criticized GEFconditionality.

UZBEKISTAN: Victor E. Chub, Minister, Chief of the Main Administration ofHydrometeorology, highlighted the changing water balance of the Aral Sea region,calling for energy efficient technology and regional cooperation.

ARGENTINA: Maria Julia Alsogaray, Secretary of Natural and Human Environment,called for a Ministerial Declaration that is substantive and binding to support the SAR,one based on consensus that is a “convergence of opinion”, not necessarily unanimity.

NEW ZEALAND, Simon Upton, Minister for the Environment, called for a “global leastcost approach” and criticized an approach based on individual national measures asproducing disparity in abatement costs. A protocol must lead to equitable marginalabatement costs across borders utilizing economic instruments.

HUNGARY, Katalin Szili, Parliamentary State Secretary, Ministry for the Environmentand Regional Development, described national plans to mitigate GHG, and agreed withthe EU position on adoption of legally binding policies and measures.

NIGERIA: Dan L. Etete, Minister of Petroleum, stated that the FCCC cannot use theSAR as a basis for action. He called for compensation for African countries for economicconsequences of a protocol.

COLOMBIA: Ernesto Guhl, Vice-Minister of the Environment, stated that developedcountries suffer from the “disease of forgetting”, referring to commitments made underthe Berlin Mandate. He called for specific mitigation proposals.

BULGARIA: Yontcho Pelovski, Deputy Minister of the Environment, described nationalmeasures to reduce GHG emissions. The first national communication utilizes 1988rather than 1990 base year data, due to a radical drop in production in 1990 followingpolitical changes.

ITALY: Valerio Calzolaio, Vice Minister for the Environment, stated that Italy willpromote Mediterranean regional activities as a bridge between Europe and Africa. COP-2has two objectives: to speed up the FCCC process and to endorse the SAR.

FRANCE: Pierre Chemillier spoke on behalf of Corinne Lepage, Minister of theEnvironment, calling it a duty to adopt the precautionary principle. Many GHG measuresrequire binding international commitments. She called for a tax on CO2 emissions and asimple differentiation mechanism.

MALAYSIA: Dato’ Abu Bakar Daud, Deputy Minister of Science, Technology andEnvironment, called it “regrettable” that the AGBM is still exchanging views and isunable to narrow down policies and measures. He criticized the suggestion by someAnnex I Parties that they be granted flexibility in meeting emission targets.

ROMANIA: Ioan Jelev, Department of the Environment, Secretary of State, supportedGHG emission reductions through improved energy efficiency and the enhancement ofhuman resources, finance mechanisms, technology transfer and AIJ.

The EU: Rit Bjerregaard, Commissioner for the Environment, strongly endorsed the SARas the basis for a protocol or other legally binding instrument and urged that the COP takedecisive action. She called on Annex I countries to implement specific policies andmeasures and said that the EU is determined to live up to its commitments and supportsthe Ministerial Declaration.

IVORY COAST: Albert Kakou Tiapani, Minister of Housing, Quality of Life andEnvironment, said government awareness of the effects of climate change must betranslated to action. He called for international solidarity and encouraged technologysharing and use of the polluter pays principle.

URUGUAY: Juan Antonio Chiruchi, Minister of Housing, Land Settlement andEnvironment, stressed the need for urgent and accelerated action and expresseddisappointment with Annex I Parties’ lack of compliance with the FCCC. He supportedthe adoption of a binding protocol with concrete measures for GHG emission reductions.

LITHUANIA: Rapolas Liuzinas, Deputy Minister of the Environment, noted hiscountry’s recent strides in restructuring its industrial sector for increased energyefficiency and its commitment to comply with the FCCC.

GREECE: Dimitri Lalas on behalf of Elissavet Papazoe, Deputy Minister of theEnvironment, supported the adoption of a binding protocol with ambitious targetsthrough 2020 and noted the need for international cooperation in achieving targets basedon equity principles that address social and economic impacts.

Due to space constraints, the remainder of the ministerial statements will be includedin the summary edition of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin.

MINISTERIAL DECLARATION: In the morning, the President introduced“advance text” on the Ministerial Declaration. In the afternoon, he returned to the issue ofthe Declaration, stating that it had emerged from consultations with a representativegroup of “friends of the Chair” overseen by Canada. The Declaration gave rise to someconcerns or difficulties for some delegations, he said. He added that some Parties feel thatit goes too far and others that it does not go far enough. A few delegations may beconsidering reservations on one or more elements of the text. He appealed to delegationsto reconsider their intentions and to intervene in a constructive manner. He noted the textcommands a very wide consensus among ministers and other heads of delegation. Heasked the COP to take note of the Declaration and his introductory remarks, which will beincluded in his Report, and to annex the Declaration to the report of the Conference. Thiswas accepted.

AUSTRALIA said he has been a strong supporter of the FCCC process and a successfuloutcome to COP-3. He has worked hard on the Declaration to take negotiations forwardand contributed to and endorses almost all in the statement. The delegation has difficultywith the aspect of the text committing Parties to legally binding targets in a final legalinstrument without the nature and context being clear. It is further than the negotiationprocess has taken the Parties. It is COP-3 where this needs to be decided. With regret heinformed the Chair that Australia cannot associate itself with the language on targets.

The US said she “wholeheartedly” endorses the Declaration, which focuses on threecritical points: the need to move forward on the basis of new and compelling scientificevidence; the need to focus on legally binding targets as the next step; and the need torapidly move the process forward to complete its critical work by COP-3. She said theone point not specified was that the negotiated outcome must ensure maximum nationalflexibility for all Parties to implement their medium-term legally binding commitments.There is also a need to work toward a longer term concentration goal. To this end, theinclusion of AIJ on a global basis and international emissions trading must be part of anyfuture regime. The US believes these views are fully reflected in the Declaration.

NEW ZEALAND welcomed the strong statement of commitment. While Parties have todo their fair share of emission reductions, a way has to be found to reduce the disparity inabatement costs between countries. A “global least cost approach” should be adopted thatwill be efficient and equitable. New Zealand has difficulty with a reference concerningtargets in the Declaration and his support must be qualified by the view that it can only beadvanced on the basis of a least cost approach within Annex I. Parties should avoidprematurely narrowing the options for the status of the objectives to be produced by theBerlin Mandate Process. He asked for his comments to be recorded.

SAUDI ARABIA, on behalf of VENEZUELA, IRAN, KUWAIT, UAE, SYRIA,QATAR, JORDAN, The RUSSIAN FEDERATION, NIGERIA, OMAN, BAHRAIN,SUDAN and YEMEN, reported a lack of transparency throughout the Conference. Heread a formal objection from a group of Parties to the adoption, approval or acceptance ofthe draft Ministerial Declaration due to the: lack of opportunity for the COP to discuss thedraft; failure of the draft to reflect the views of many Parties as stated by them at COP-2,with the result that the draft reflects only some views that exist among the Parties; non-objective characterization and selective reference to only some of the information in theSAR, resulting in a draft that is biased and misleading; and failure to adhere to thecustomary procedures of UN bodies and the absence of adoption of rules of procedure forthe COP.

The EU said he fully and unequivocally supported the Ministerial Declaration. The EUstands ready to take a constructive role as called for in the Declaration.

GHANA said the FCCC is “a matter of life and death,” and noted the need for theDeclaration. To object and call the Declaration misleading is unfortunate. Ghana is notpleased with language on Annex I implementation.

IN THE CORRIDORS

Two developments at COP-2, the US statement supporting a legally binding agreement toreduce emissions and the Ministerial Declaration, drew several reactions fromparticipants. Regarding the US statement, one delegate expressed concern about theimpact of a requirement for tradeable emission permits on a binding agreement. Anotherdelegate mentioned that the AOSIS protocol, and its targets, could be “dead in the water”.Regarding the Declaration, one observer was surprised at the level of dissent, expressedin heated exchanges between some delegations and the COP officials, minutes before thePlenary was due to note the Declaration.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY

CLOSING PLENARY: The Plenary will meet at 10:00 a.m. in the AssemblyHall.

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