by the International
Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 12 No. 158
Monday, 20 November 2000
UNFCCC COP-6 HIGHLIGHTS
SATURDAY, 18 NOVEMBER 2000
Delegates met in contact groups and informal consultations during the morning and afternoon to conclude their work. The Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) convened in the evening to consider and adopt draft conclusions on several topics, including national communications and the financial mechanism, as well as its report on the session. Following this, the SBI and Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) met jointly to adopt draft conclusions on capacity building, compliance under the Protocol, activities implemented jointly, the Protocol mechanisms, and adverse effects. SBSTA then adopted its draft conclusions on land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF); guidelines under Protocol Articles 5 (methodological issues), 7 (communication of information) and 8 (review of information); development and transfer of technologies; policies and measures; and cooperation with relevant international organizations. With the conclusion of the formal SBSTA meeting at 11:15 pm, the thirteenth sessions of the UNFCCC subsidiary bodies – which began in Lyon in September and continued from 13-18 November in The Hague – drew to a close.
CONTACT GROUPS AND INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS
MECHANISMS: In a morning meeting of this contact group, Chair Chow said revised text based on the week’s "informal informal" discussions would form the basis for the impending ministerial negotiations. The G-77/CHINA reported that it had just completed deliberations on the decision portion of the CDM text, and urged that the results of these deliberations be reflected in the revised text. Following consultations with the Chairs of SBSTA and SBI, the contact group was adjourned to allow consultation within the Friends of the Chair group.
When the contact group reconvened mid-afternoon, Chair Chow reported that progress had been made, particularly with the decision sections of the text. He said details of the discussion would be given in the joint SBI/SBSTA session later that day. SAUDI ARABIA expressed concern that some of its comments relating to compliance and participation were not adequately reflected in this revised text. Various delegations thanked Chair Chow for his leadership in managing this three-year process, and the contact group was closed.
FINANCIAL ISSUES: The financial issues group mandated by COP-6 President Pronk met briefly in the morning to discuss the Co-Chairs’ text drawing together elements of draft decisions on establishment of new funds being discussed in contact groups on capacity building, adverse effects and technology transfer. Co-Chair Ashe stated that given the short time remaining for discussions, it was unlikely much could be accomplished.
The PHILIPPINES, speaking for the G-77/CHINA, rejected this procedure to consider these financial issues outside their relevant contact groups, stating that it was neither transparent nor democratic. She added that delaying tactics by the US and other developed countries for obstructing progress had become evident. The EU stressed its ongoing efforts to encourage progress and a willingness and openness to discuss further relevant issues outside this meeting. The US, with CANADA, also expressed frustration at the rate of progress, and indicated support for continuing work towards resolving the G-77/China’s concern about the situation. The NETHERLANDS stressed the role of transparency and democracy in upholding the intergovernmental character of the process, and the importance of partnership for progress to take place. Co-Chair Ashe said he would refer the statements to President Pronk, and closed the meeting.
PROTOCOL ARTICLES 5, 7 & 8: Delegates convened in the morning for the last meeting of this contact group and heard a summary by Co-Chair Plume on how the text had been advanced in the Friends of the Chairs group. She said the group had met throughout the previous night and that the revised working paper, largely free of brackets, had been completed at 5.30 am on Saturday. She said many of the remaining brackets are for editorial reasons, some brackets relate to issues where the technical content of the guidelines could not be developed without having received information from other contact groups, and a third set of brackets relate to issues of a political nature spanning the entire negotiating process that might be resolved in the coming week. Delegates then made editorial changes, as well as a number of drafting proposals to be reflected in the text to be considered by SBSTA later in the day. Co-Chair Plume concluded the meeting by saying that further work on the guidelines would be undertaken, in one form or the other, during the following week.
DEVELOPMENT & TRANSFER OF TECHNOLOGIES: In this contact group, Co-Chair Cooper noted that informal consultations had continued through Friday night, and that agreed text had been added into the draft decision and annexed draft framework. She invited delegates to go through the text to confirm that it was accurate. Delegates began discussing the draft framework. Due to the limited time, Co-Chair Afolabi proposed that the sections in the framework on capacity building and mechanisms for technology transfer be bracketed. On the Co-Chairs’ proposal for a draft decision, delegates agreed to delete one paragraph in the preamble of the decision that recalls UNFCCC Article 4.5 (development and transfer of technologies) and removed the brackets from a paragraph recalling chapter 34 of Agenda 21 and relevant provisions of the Programme for the Further implementation of Agenda 21. Due to time constraints, the group agreed to submit the text with the remaining brackets to the SBSTA for its consideration.
LULUCF: The LULUCF contact group convened early in the afternoon to take stock of progress. Co-Chairs Gwage and Thorgeirsson explained that the Friends of the Chairs group had met for 11 hours through Friday night, but had not reached consensus on enough issues to warrant drawing-up new text. Co-Chair Thorgeirsson distributed draft SBSTA conclusions that transmit the work of the first week to the second week. He said the text he had introduced on Friday, 17 November, had been annexed to it and that the unedited preambular Principles had been reinserted. A number of delegates highlighted the need for further progress.
ADVERSE EFFECTS: Contact group Co-Chair Kjellén introduced the new Co-Chairs’ text for the draft decision(s) on implementation of UNFCCC Article 4.8 and 4.9 and matters relating to Protocol Article 3.14, as well as text of the operative paragraphs on implementation of Article 4.9 and a document including proposed workshops relating to Article 4.8 and 4.9, Article 3.14 and LDCs. Delegates debated whether information on which to base actions should derive from both national communications and other relevant information, or from just one of these two sources. They bracketed these two alternatives. Co-Chair Kjellén noted that agreement on the placement of the operative paragraphs on implementation of Article 4.9 replacing a section in the draft decision(s) would be announced by the G-77/China. The G-77/CHINA said it would present a new version of the text on Monday. Delegates then agreed to forward the draft decision(s) for consideration by the joint SBI/SBSTA.
POLICIES AND MEASURES (P&Ms): In a brief meeting of the contact group on P&Ms, delegates agreed not to reopen negotiations on the text. The G-77/CHINA, supported by the US, EU and SAUDI ARABIA, expressed preference for the original title of the draft decision: " ‘Good practices’ in P&Ms among Parties included in Annex I to the Convention." Delegates expressed their appreciation to the Co-Chairs, and the meeting was closed.
NATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS: Annex I Parties: SBI Chair Ashe opened the meeting at 6:00 pm.The draft conclusions on national communications from Annex I Parties, on greenhouse gas inventory data from 1990 to 1998 (FCCC/SBI/2000/CRP.14), were adopted.
Non-Annex I Parties: Chair Ashe introduced the draft conclusions on provision of financial and technical support (FCCC/SBI/ 2000/CRP.12), and draft conclusions on the report of the second meeting of the Consultative Group of Experts (FCCC/SBI/2000/ CRP.13). He also introduced the draft conclusions on the second compilation and synthesis of initial national communications of non-Annex I Parties (FCCC/SBI/2000/L.5). All three documents were adopted.
FINANCIAL MECHANISM: Chair Ashe introduced the draft conclusions on the report of the Global Environment Facility to the COP (FCCC/SBI/2000/CRP.15). He then introduced the draft conclusions on additional guidance to the operating entity of the financial mechanism (FCCC/SBI/2000/CRP.16/Rev.1) and requested Co-Chair Groves of the contact group on the financial mechanism to provide a report on the outcome of the discussions. Co-Chair Groves said that on the issue of funding for Stage II adaptation activities, the G-77/CHINA wanted to have the COP-4 decision (2/CP.4) refined so that Stage II adaptation activities could be based on national communications or in-depth studies on vulnerability. He said Annex II Parties preferred to retain the thrust of the COP-4 decision with flexibility, allowing small island developing States (SIDS) and LDCs to receive funding based solely on their vulnerability. Agreement had not been reached on text related to deliberations in the adverse effects group.
The US and EU opposed a proposal by ARGENTINA in the SBI to clear text on national communications that the contact group had left bracketed. The G-77/CHINA, supported by ARGENTINA, AOSIS, SAUDI ARABIA and other developing countries, expressed disappointment at the lack of agreement on the financial mechanism.
ADMINISTRATIVE AND FINANCIAL MATTERS: On possible options to respond to late payment of contributions, SBI agreed to Chair Ashe’s proposal to postpone consideration of this sub-item until SB-14. Regarding the interim financial performance for 2000, the SBI was asked to consider a status report on receipt of contributions from Parties as at 31 October 2000 (FCCC/SBI/2000/ INF.11). Parties took note of the latest status of contributions. Draft decisions for consideration by COP-6 were finalized at SB-13 Part I (FCCC/CP/2000/1/Add.1).
On implementation of the Headquarters Agreement, Chair Ashe noted that issues had been raised regarding office space and visa difficulties relating to the Secretariat in Bonn. GERMANY said it had agreed on 14 November to offer joint accommodation for the Secretariats of the UNFCCC and Convention to Combat Desertification in the former parliamentarians’ office building. He noted ongoing efforts on other outstanding issues. SBI adopted draft conclusions noting these statements, thanking Germany for its offer, and requesting the Executive Secretary to report back on progress at future sessions.
OTHER MATTERS: SBI also adopted conclusions on the programme budget for 2002-2003 by which it agrees to consider this item at SB-14 with a view to recommending a budget for adoption at COP-7. On issues related to Protocol Articles 7 and 8, SBI agreed to forward conclusions on guidelines for adoption by COP-6. It then adopted the report on the second part of its thirteenth session.
CAPACITY BUILDING: SBI Chair Ashe opened the joint meeting and invited Jukka Uosukainen, with whom he had co-chaired a contact group on capacity building in countries with economies in transition (EITs) and in developing countries, to report on the work of the group.
On capacity building in EITs, Co-Chair Uosukainen said the group had agreed on a framework that sets out the scope and basis for action in EITs, identifies EIT priorities, and outlines responsibilities of EITs in implementing the framework and those of Annex II Parties in assisting EITs.
He said the group agreed that the framework should guide capacity-building activities related to UNFCCC implementation. He noted the cross-cutting nature of the outstanding issues relating to financial issues, which had been conveyed to the group working on the financial mechanism, and to the implementation of adaptation measures and national programmes of action, currently being considered under Article 4.8 and 4.9. In response to a question by G-77/CHINA on how the financial issues will be resolved, Co-Chair Ashe said these would be discussed by the ministers next week. Delegates agreed to forward the SBSTA/SBI draft conclusions on capacity building in EITs (FCCC/SB/2000/CRP.17) and in developing countries FCCC/SB/2000/CRP.16) to the COP for its consideration.
COMPLIANCE: Neroni Slade, Co-Chair of the Joint Working Group on Compliance, presented the report of the Group on its work during SB-13 Part II (FCCC/SB/2000/CRP15/Rev.1). He said delegates had convened in formal and informal meetings over the previous week. He underlined the constructive efforts of delegations during the groupï¿½s work. He said two submissions from Parties had been inadvertently omitted: option 1 of Principles should be replaced by option 1 contained in document FCCC/SB/ 2000/11; and the sentence ["The procedures and mechanisms on compliance shall operate without prejudice to any Multilteral Consultative Process as referred in Article 16."] should be added to the paragraph on Relationship with Article 16. Following a request by NEW ZEALAND to introduce an additional option in the final clauses, Co-Chair Slade said Parties will have an opportunity to comment on the document. The EU then requested the introduction of several brackets. The report, as amended by Co-Chair Slade, was forwarded to the COP.
ACTIVITIES IMPLEMENTED JOINTLY: Chair Chow of the contact group on Mechanisms reported on informal consultations that resulted in a draft decision. The joint SBI/SBSTA agreed to forward the proposed draft conclusions (FCCC/SB/2000/ CRP.23) containing a draft decision for the COP to consider.
MECHANISMS: Chair Chow presented the draft conclusions on mechanisms pursuant to Articles 6, 12 and 17 (contained in FCCC/SB/2000/CRP.19, CRP.20 and Add.1, CRP.21, and CRP.22). He noted that text had been mistakenly omitted, and that this would be addressed in a revised document to be circulated by Monday.
The G-77/CHINA reiterated its core positions, including: a prompt start to the CDM; the need for capacity building, particularly within LDCs and SIDS; the issues of supplementarity, baselines, additonality, monitoring, verification, and equity; adaptation funding; equal treatment of the CDM; and the right of the host developing country to be the sole judge of a projectï¿½s contribution to sustainable development. He said a number of issues had been omitted from the text, including a definition of supplementarity. SAUDI ARABIA said text was missing on transferability and fungibility. AUSTRALIA undertook to provide a written proposal regarding omitted text. After expressing appreciation of Chair Chowï¿½s leadership, delegates adopted the draft conclusions.
ADVERSE EFFECTS: Contact group Co-Chair Salamat presented the draft conclusions on implementation of UNFCCC Article 4.8 and 4.9 and matters related to Protocol Article 3.14. (FCCC/SB/2000/CRP.18). Highlighting the sense of cooperation in the discussions, he stated that the text was not fully agreed. He noted the guidance from President Pronk that all issues on financing should be considered by the financial issues group.
The G-77/CHINA highlighted the importance to the Group of Article 4.8 and 4.9, and expressed concern that the issue of financial resources is bracketed. With SAUDI ARABIA, she urged two separate decisions, one on Article 4.8 and 4.9, the other on Article 3.14. The EU, US and CANADA stated that draft conclusions are without prejudice to whether there are one or two decisions. Highlighting their vulnerability to climate change and response measures, the LDCs expressed concern with the amount of bracketed text. COLOMBIA, CHILE and VENEZUELA emphasized the vulnerability of all developing countries. Chair Ashe closed the joint SBI/SBSTA meeting at 9:55 pm.
LULUCF: Following the opening of the SBSTA meeting by Chair Dovland, LULUCF contact group Co-Chair Thorgeirsson introduced the draft decision to be forwarded to the COP (FCCC/ SBSTA/2000/CRP.11), noting that work on the operative text had been guided by principles suggested by Parties. He outlined the outcome of a session providing technical advice on sinks under the mechanisms as well as submissions by Parties. He said the session had highlighted concerns as well as optimism, including suggested solutions to the problems of adverse environmental and social effects, permanence and leakage. He underscored that methodological issues differ according to project type, and concluded that no consensus can be found on this matter. SBSTA adopted the draft conclusions.
ARTICLES 5, 7 & 8: Contact group Co-Chair Paciornik introduced draft SBSTA conclusions recommending adoption by COP/ MOP-1 of guidelines under Article 5.1 (national systems) (FCCC/ SBSTA/2000/CRP.16), as well as draft SBSTA conclusions on guidelines under Articles 5, 7 and 8 (FCCC/SBSTA/2000/CRP.17). He said that although these guidelines still contained bracketed text, progress was being made toward ensuring the Protocolï¿½s credibility. He explained that the unresolved issues were of a political or technical nature, or were waiting resolution in other groups. He said a corrigendum to this document would be issued early next week, to address existing omissions. SBSTA adopted both draft conclusions.
IMPACT OF SINGLE PROJECTS ON EMISSIONS IN THE COMMITMENT PERIOD: Chair Plougman reported that consultations on this issue had resulted in "an almost agreed" draft decision (FCCC/SBSTA/2000/CRP.13). SBSTA adopted its draft conclusions on this issue.
DEVELOPMENT & TRANSFER OF TECHNOLOGIES: Co-Chair Afolabi reported that, with Co-Chair Cooper, he had convened six meetings of a contact group and several informal consultations. He noted the agreed text on three themes in the draft framework to enhance implementation of Article 4.5: technology needs and needs assessment, technology information, and enabling environment- while two themes, on capacity building and mechanisms for technology transfer, remained in brackets. He said more time was needed to consult and review all possible actions. Underscoring the importance of implementing Article 4.5, the G-77/ CHINA expressed concern over the failure of some Parties to implement their commitments, and stressed the need to make progress on the outstanding issues. SBSTA adopted its draft conclusions containing the draft decision and annexed draft framework (FCCC/SBSTA/2000/CRP.15).
POLICIES AND MEASURES (P&Ms): Co-Chair Romï¿½ro introduced the draft conclusions (FCCC/SBSTA/2000/CRP.14). He noted agreement on the value of exchanging experiences on P&Ms and on workshops, and divergence over demonstrable progress. Delegates adopted these draft conclusions.
OTHER MATTERS: Delegates also adopted draft conclusions on cooperation with relevant international organizations (FCCC/SBSTA/2000/CRP.12). In concluding, SBSTA adopted the draft report on its work (FCCC/SBSTA/2000/CRP.12). Chair Dovland closed the session at 11.15 pm.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Delegates will enter the final week at The Hague with a morass of political and technical issues remaining on the negotiating table. Reflecting on progress made in last weekï¿½s informal negotiations, some observers noted movement on clearing bracketed text, particularly on Protocol Articles 5, 7 and 8. In spite of some progress, however, most participants felt the remaining workload has not been sufficiently reduced to pave the way for ministers and heads of delegation to focus on a few key political decisions, unencumbered by technical issues.
Reviewing the state of negotiations entering the final week, a number of developing country delegates expressed frustration at what they believe are attempts to block progress on priority issues for the G-77/China ï¿½ such as funding, capacity building and technology transfer. They are adamant that these will have to be given the "recognition they deserve" for any agreement to be reached at COP-6. Participants from a number of developed countries have also expressed concerns at what one described as the "snailï¿½s pace" of talks.
Another issue under discussion among delegates is the process planned by COP-6 President Jan Pronk for the final week. President Pronkï¿½s proposal to consider outstanding issues by dividing ministers into three negotiating groups has generated concern within the G-77/China. However, some observers underlined that it is the prerogative of the COP-6 President to lead the process in a manner he deems most effective. Despite uncertainties on how this will be achieved, they expressed tentative confidence on the way forward.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
COP-6 PLENARY: Delegates to COP-6 are expected to meet in the Prins Willem Alexander Hall at 10:00 am, with a second meeting scheduled to start at 3:00 pm. After addressing organizational matters and the reports of the subsidiary bodies, the Plenary is expected to begin hearing formal statements from observer states and non-governmental organizations. Negotiations are also likely to resume in the afternoon in parallel with these formal statements. For more information, consult the electronic noticeboards.