Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development
Vol. 12 No. 113
Tuesday, 26 October 1999
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE FIFTH CONFERENCE OF THE
PARTIES TO THE FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON
MONDAY, 25 OCTOBER 1999
On the opening day of the Fifth Conference of the
Parties (COP-5) to the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC),
delegates met in Plenary to hear opening addresses and consider
organizational, administrative, financial and other matters. The
Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA)
considered Annex I communications and land use, land-use change and
forestry (LULUCF). The Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI)
considered Annex I and non-Annex I communications and the financial
COP-4 President Maria Julia Alsogaray welcomed
delegates to COP-5. She said the Buenos Aires Plan of Action (BAPA)
had generated new momentum and stressed the need for political will to
fulfill the BAPA and allow for the Protocol to enter into force by
Rio+10 in 2002.
Jan Szyszko, Minister of Environmental
Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry, Poland, was elected
President of COP-5. He said the operation of the flexibility
mechanisms, compliance and guidance on the COP acting as the Meeting
of the Parties to the Protocol should be settled by COP-6. He referred
to concerns by some developing countries on the Protocol’s impact on
their development efforts and noted the need to find alternatives that
lower implementation-related costs for developing countries.
Gerhard Schröder, Federal Chancellor of Germany,
said the vision for sustainable development articulated at the Rio
Summit had not become a reality as quickly as hoped. He noted that,
despite the establishment of the FCCC, there had been setbacks in the
climate process, including the inability of most industrialized
countries to reduce their CO2 emissions to 1990 levels by the year
2000. He outlined Germany’s efforts to reduce GHG emissions,
including a reduction target it had set itself of 17% by 2005 and an
“eco-tax” that raises energy consumption costs. He said the
Protocol should enter into force by 2002 and urged Parties to
implement their pledges in international fora.
FCCC Executive Secretary Michael Zammit-Cutajar,
on behalf of Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General, stressed the need for
urgent action if the Kyoto commitments were to be met. He called for
sensitivity to the needs of vulnerable countries and financial
empowerment of developing countries. Assuring the COP of UN support ,
he said the global community wished to see the CDM activated after
COP-6 and the Protocol ratified by 2002.
On organizational matters, the COP adopted the
agenda, with the exception of Agenda Item 5, as consensus had not been
reached on a G-77/China proposal to amend the item to read “Review
of the adequacy of implementation of Articles 4.2 (a) and (b) of the
FCCC” (policies and measures by Annex I Parties), rather than
“Second Review of the adequacy” of these articles.
The COP elected its Bureau members. The
Vice-Presidents elected were: Papa Cham (The Gambia), Phillip Gwage
(Uganda), Mohamed Al-Sabban (Saudi Arabia), Liu Zhenmin (China),
Olexander Bielov (Ukraine), Yvo De Boer (Netherlands), Neroni Slade
(Samoa). The COP elected Antonio Vallini Guerreiro (Brazil) as
Rapporteur, John Ashe (Antigua & Barbuda) as Chair of SBI and
Harald Dovland (Norway) as Chair of SBSTA. Delegates then adopted the
proposed organization of work for COP-5.
On administrative and financial matters, the COP
adopted a draft decision stating that the institutional linkage of the
FCCC Secretariat to the UN will be continued. Delegates agreed to
President Szyszko’s proposal to continue consultations on the
constitution of the proposed Multilateral Consultative Committee.
SBI Chair John Ashe introduced Vice Chair
Mohammed Reza Salamat (Iran) and Rapporteur Klaus Radunsky (Austria).
The provisional agenda was adopted as amended by the Plenary.
On Annex I communications, the US recommended
that only Part I (general description of guidelines) be negotiated
through a contact group and adopted during COP-5. SWITZERLAND, with
the EU and AUSTRALIA, supported adopting the guidelines at COP-5.
AUSTRALIA said the guidelines may be applicable to Protocol
SBI discussed the first synthesis report of
non-Annex I initial communications. On obstacles to producing
non-Annex I communications, the G-77/CHINA called for provision of
adequate financial resources, technical assistance and
capacity-building to support non-Annex I countries in collecting data
and identifying national emission factors and methodologies for
adaptation assessment. The EU, opposed by CHINA, said the GEF had
provided most non-Annex I Parties with funding for national
communications. UZBEKISTAN noted that constraints included lack of
research and data on emissions factors. IRAN noted that countries also
have needs determined by their unique circumstances.
On the advantages of producing non-Annex I
communications, the G-77/CHINA said that despite difficulties in
identifying significant trends, the synthesis of initial non-Annex I
communications was a first step in considering information related to
FCCC implementation by non-Annex I Parties. The EU, CANADA and
MICRONESIA noted the usefulness of the compilation and synthesis
report in better understanding the difficulties faced by non-Annex I
On guidelines for non-Annex I communications, the
G-77/CHINA opposed changing the guidelines, as many non-Annex I
countries have not finalized their first communications. AOSIS noted
the need to modify IPCC guidelines for small island developing states
because they are not always applicable to their special circumstances.
Since many countries had expressed an interest in initiating second
national communications, the EU said guidelines should be reviewed.
SWITZERLAND said there is a need for one unified reporting format for
all FCCC Parties and for the use of IPCC guidelines.
The G-77/CHINA called for an expert review of
non-Annex I communications by non-Annex I Party experts. The EU and
others highlighted the need for an expert review and consideration of
non-Annex I communications and said all countries could benefit from
this exercise. AOSIS opposed technical assessment processes for
individual national communications. ARGENTINA supported regional
groups of experts. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA added that expert review
teams should focus on identifying solutions to obstacles in preparing
communications and sharing experiences.
On the timing of second national communications,
the G-77/CHINA noted that there is a differentiated timetable under
the FCCC for submission of national communications by Annex I and
non-Annex I Parties. She said submissions of non-Annex I Parties’
communications were contingent on the availability of financial
resources. The US, supported by CANADA and SWITZERLAND and opposed by
CHINA, said the revision of guidelines was fundamental to improving
second national communications. A contact group will be convened on
non-Annex I communications.
Delegates adopted the agenda, as amended by the
COP Plenary, and the organization of work. Lambert Gnapelet (Central
African Republic) and Andrej Kranjc (Slovenia) were re-elected as
SBSTA Vice-Chair and Rapporteur respectively.
On cooperation with relevant scientific
organizations, Robert Watson, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC), reported on progress on the Third Assessment
Report (TAR) and three special reports on technology transfer,
emissions scenarios of GHGs and aerosol precursors, and LULUCF. He
highlighted IPCC’s budgetary constraints due to the large number of
special reports, the enhanced regional emphasis and increased
participation of experts from developing countries and countries with
economies in transition. He expressed concern over the poor financial
response from the majority of governments and urged Parties to resolve
On Annex I communications, the EU noted the need
to include indicators such as emissions per capita or emissions per
unit of output. Regarding the draft guidance for reporting on Global
Climate Observation Systems (GCOS), the EU, with MONGOLIA, recommended
that Annex I Parties prepare separate reports on global climate
observation and include in their national communications a summary
based on general reporting requirements. AUSTRALIA suggested that
projections of the effect of policies and measures on future trends of
GHG emissions and removals be developed by sector. The MARSHALL
ISLANDS and JAMAICA supported detailed and rigorous reporting. The US
said the quantity and level of detail should balance needs for
comparability, transparency and practicality. A contact group chaired
by Jim Penman (UK) and Mark Mwandosya (Tanzania) will meet to consider
On LULUCF, Watson presented provisional findings
from the Special Report on LULUCF. He said key decisions should be
made with respect to definitions, the accounting system, monitoring
and reporting systems and inventory guidelines, before the Protocol
could be implemented. The G-77/CHINA said any consideration of the
LULUCF process should begin after the release of the IPCC Special
Report. JAPAN, with
AUSTRALIA, called for the establishment of a decision-making framework
at COP-5. AUSTRALIA stressed that the key question is not
“whether” but “how” additional sink activities could be
included in the Protocol. CANADA said the decision-making framework
should be based on consistency between the provisions of the Kyoto
Regarding additional activities, the US said
there should be transparency in reporting and verifiability. According
to the EU, the IPCC Special Report and country specific data should
provide the basis for future discussions and decisions. A contact
group will consider this issue further.
On national systems, adjustments and guidelines
under Protocol Articles 5 (methodology), 7 (communications) and 8
(review of information), Taka Hiraishi, Vice-Chair, IPCC Inventories
Task Force, reported on the work being undertaken on uncertainties and
good practice in inventory preparation.
Regarding guidelines for national systems, the EU,
with JAPAN, said they should be flexible in order to reflect different
national circumstances. The US highlighted the incorporation of IPCC
good practice guidance. AUSTRALIA proposed including, inter alia,
quality assurance and quality control procedures, links between
national systems and emissions trading systems and links with the
transfer and acquisition of assigned amounts. SWITZERLAND said
guidelines should include criteria for national enforcement systems to
comply with relevant guidelines, and the establishment and treatment
of data related to Protocol mechanisms.
Regarding adjustments, AUSTRALIA said they are
intended as an element of the Protocolï¿½s compliance system. The EU
and JAPAN stated that further discussion on technical aspects should
only occur after the completion of IPCCï¿½s work on good practice.
CANADA noted the lack of clarity in what an adjustment would be. With
NEW ZEALAND, he expressed support for a technical review process of
inventories, noting that this is fundamental to the development of an
adjustment process. Helen Plume (New Zealand) will conduct informal
IN THE CORRIDORS
An unexpected delay in Monday morningï¿½s Plenary
led to expressions of pessimism by some participants at what can be
expected from COP-5. Some said the failure by the G-77/China and the
EU to agree on a proposed reformulation of an agenda item on the
review of adequacy of commitments served as a telling reminder of the
persistently contentious issues that can be expected to feature during
the next two weeks.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
JOINT SBI/SBSTA: SBI and SBSTA will meet in
Plenary at 10:00 am and 3.00 pm.
INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS: Informal consultations
are expected to be held in morning, afternoon and evening sessions.
Consult the announcement board for details.