Published by the
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 12 No. 202
Thursday, 24 October 2002
HIGHLIGHTS FROM UNFCCC COP-8
WEDNESDAY, 23 OCTOBER 2002
The Eighth Session of the Conference of the
Parties to the UNFCCC (COP-8) and the Seventeenth Sessions of the
COP’s Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and Subsidiary Body
for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) opened on Wednesday,
23 October, in New Delhi, India. The COP Plenary heard opening
statements and addressed organizational matters. In its first
meeting, the SBSTA addressed organizational matters and
methodological issues, including: review of methodological work;
guidelines under Protocol Articles 5 (methodological issues), 7
(communication of information) and 8 (review of information);
guidelines on reporting and review of greenhouse gas inventories
from Annex I Parties; special circumstances of Croatia under Article
4.6 (flexibility for countries with economies in transition); and
technology transfer. The SBI considered four issues under national
communications of non-Annex I Parties, including: improvement of
guidelines; work of the Consultative Group of Experts (CGE);
consideration of the fourth compilation and synthesis of initial
national communications; and provision of financial and technical
support. Contact groups were convened to discuss Articles 5, 7 and
8, and the CGE.
OPENING SESSION: COP-7 President Mohamed
Elyazghi (Morocco) declared COP-8 open. He drew attention to the
Marrakesh Accords, noting that the process has moved to
The COP elected T.R. Baalu, Indian Minister of
Environment and Forests as COP-8 President by acclamation. COP-8
President Baalu welcomed participants, noting that impacts of
climate change are already being felt. He stressed implementation,
and highlighted those most vulnerable to climate change and the need
for adaptation. He said that a consensus-based "Delhi Declaration"
addressing climate change and sustainable development would be an
important COP-8 outcome.
UNFCCC Executive Secretary Joke Waller-Hunter
stressed the linkage between poverty and environment made at the
WSSD. On facilitating information exchange between Parties, she
explained that the Secretariat would do so by hosting authoritative
databases of emissions, and of policies and measures (P&Ms).
ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: The Secretariat noted
that 185 states and 1 regional organization have ratified the
UNFCCC. He said Afghanistan had deposited its instrument of
ratification on 19 September. On the provisional agenda (FCCC/
CP/2002/1, Add.1 and Add.2), the G-77/CHINA urged exclusion of
Canada’s proposal for a decision on modalities for the accounting of
assigned amounts under Protocol Article 7.4 (registries) in relation
to cleaner energy exports. The EU said this issue would be addressed
by the SBI. He opposed Saudi Arabia’s request to include discussion
on implementation of Protocol Article 2.3 (adverse effects of P&Ms)
on the agenda. SAUDI ARABIA said the issue was unfinished business
from the BAPA and stressed preparation of a draft decision for
COP/MOP-1. CANADA emphasized the cleaner energy proposal as a
priority for the future success of the Protocol. The agenda was
adopted with these items, and the issue of the second review of the
adequacy of commitments, held in abeyance.
President Baalu noted that consultations
continued on the election of officers other than the President. He
said the high-level segment would take place in the form of three
consecutive round-tables on 30 and 31 October on the theme of
climate change and sustainable development.
The G-77/CHINA expressed disappointment at the
low level of financial resources provided by Annex I Parties,
stressing that action so far has been symbolic. Supported by
AUSTRALIA, for the Umbrella Group, he underscored the importance of
linking sustainable development and climate change. Stressing the
principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, CHINA said
the climate regime should take into account the rising energy
demands that will occur as the quality of life in developing
countries improves. ZIMBABWE, for the Africa Group, called for
increased support for adaptation projects.
OPENING SESSION: SBSTA Chair Halldór
Thorgeirsson (Iceland) opened the session. Noting that the SBSTA
vice-chair had resigned, he said a replacement nomination was
expected from GRULAC. Tatyana Osokova (Uzbekistan) will serve as
rapporteur. The SBSTA adopted the provisional agenda (FCCC/ SBSTA/2002/7).
METHODOLOGICAL ISSUES: Review of methodological
work under the UNFCCC and Protocol: The Secretariat introduced a
report on this new agenda item, highlighting five priority topics
related to: greenhouse gas inventories; emissions and removals by
sinks; P&Ms; mitigation and adaptation technologies; and impacts,
vulnerability and adaptation of climate change.
The EU, NORWAY, SAUDI ARABIA and NEW ZEALAND
supported consideration of the item beyond SBSTA-17. INDIA
highlighted a recent workshop enhancing developing country capacity.
The US cautioned against the Secretariat moving beyond its mandate
in initiating work. Harald Dovland (Norway) will undertake
Guidelines under Protocol Articles 5, 7 and 8:
On guidelines for the preparation of information required under
Article 7 and for review under Article 8 and good practice guidance
for Article 5.2 (adjustments), Chair Thorgeirsson highlighted
outstanding issues to be addressed, including: options for the
treatment of confidential data during review; training and capacity
building for expert review teams; technical standards for data
exchange between national registries, the CDM registry and the
transaction log; and reporting and review of information on assigned
amounts and national registries. The EU welcomed progress on options
for the terms of service for lead reviewers and the training of
experts. He supported a proposal on developing case studies on the
calculation of adjustments under Article 5.2. The US stressed the
importance of options for the treatment of confidential data and
encouraged transparency of inventory data. SAUDI ARABIA said
training of review experts should include developing country
experts. Chair Thorgeirsson convened a contact group chaired
by Helen Plume (New Zealand) and Festus Leboyera (South Africa).
On technical standards for registries under
Article 7.4, Murray Ward (New Zealand) reported on the outcome of
inter-sessional consultations held in New Delhi, 19-20 October 2002.
He outlined agreement on: the need for a common standards framework;
the need to engage technical experts; a future focus on detailed
registry design; and continued collaboration with the UNFCCC
Secretariat. Chair Thorgeirsson invited Ward to conduct further
Guidelines on reporting and review of greenhouse
gas inventories: The Secretariat reported on the latest national
greenhouse gas inventory data from Annex I Parties for 1990 to 2000.
He said greenhouse gas emissions and removals data is available from
39 out of 40 Annex I Parties.
Special circumstances of Croatia under UNFCCC
Article 4.6: CROATIA introduced a new technical paper.
YUGOSLAVIA, opposed by the EU, said it could not support Croatia’s
1990 baseline proposal. Chair Thorgeirsson asked Jim Penman (UK) to
convene an informal contact group.
TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER: Chair Thorgeirsson
highlighted the annual Expert Group on Technology Transfer’s (EGTT)
progress report and the report on the implementation of activities
under decision 4/CP.7. He also noted the EGTT’s new work programme
annexed to the SBSTA-16 report. EGTT Chair Jukka Uosukainen
(Finland) briefed Parties on the Group’s meeting preceding COP-8. He
said discussions had focused on technology needs assessment,
technology information sharing, capacity building, enabling
environments and financial support. He welcomed the newly elected
EGTT Chair William Bonsu (Ghana) and vice-chair William Bradley
(US). Belgium supported an EGTT workshop on enabling environments in
2003. G-77/CHINA said technology transfer to developing countries
has been ineffective. He welcomed new initiatives such as the
Climate Technology Initiative and urged assistance for both
mitigation and adaptation. INDIA stressed that piecemeal approaches
are unsatisfactory and supported consideration of access to
resources, institutional capacity building, and business community
OPENING SESSION: SBI Chair Raúl Estrada-Oyuela
(Argentina) opened the first meeting of SBI-17 and the agenda was
NON-ANNEX I NATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS:
Improvement of guidelines: The Secretariat
introduced the proposed improved guidelines for non-Annex I national
communications and the compilation of Parties’ submissions.
Presenting an overview of funding for the initial national
communications, the GEF noted 137 countries had received US$ 80
million, which represents 8% of total funding under its climate
change focal area. The GEF expressed concern about the inestimable
funding requirements of proposed guidelines for developing local
emissions factors and on vulnerability and adaptation assessments,
and remarked that without these funding requirements would only be
marginally higher than current levels.
The EU said that LDC national adaptation
programmes of action should be considered in national
communications. The CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC, with BANGLADESH and
ERITREA, highlighted LDCs’ difficulties in developing national
communications and called on SBSTA to address financial support.
INDIA, supported by THAILAND and IRAN, noted that the improved
guidelines should not exceed the UNFCCC’s reporting requirements.
CANADA, with the EU, highlighted the need for demand-driven
financing. TUVALU drew attention to possible negative implications
of tying adaptation finance to the completion of national
communications. JAPAN called for the chair’s text to reflect a
balance between mitigation and adaptation reporting requirements.
CGE: The Secretariat introduced Parties’
submissions. CGE Chair Mahendra Kumar (Fiji) presented the final
report of the CGE, stressing that the CGE process plays an important
role in capacity-building through the sharing of experiences, and
the evaluation of technical problems and constraints. The CGE
proposed several recommendations, including that additional
financial and technical resources be mobilized, and that the IPCC
develop methods and tools for assessing impacts on time scales
relevant to policy-makers. SBI Chair Estrada said a contact group
chaired by Josï¿½ Romero (Switzerland) would consider the agenda item.
Compilation and synthesis: On the
consideration of the fourth compilation and synthesis of initial
national communications of non-Annex I countries, Chair Estrada said
that the Secretariat would prepare a report to be addressed at
ANNEX I NATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS: The
Secretariat introduced the status report on the review of the third
national communications. Chair Estrada said that Parties would
discuss, among other issues, possible dates for the submission of
the fourth national communications.
ARTICLES 5, 7 AND 8: A contact group,
convened by Helen Plume and Festus Luboyera met in the afternoon.
The G-77/ CHINA requested more time to consider the relevant
documents. Delegates discussed the timing for expedited review
procedures for reinstatement of eligibility to use the mechanisms.
On the pending parts of the guidelines under Articles 7 and 8, the
EU circulated a paper on preventing and resolving technical problems
and discrepancies in the technical standards and reporting and
review text. Delegates endorsed a proposal for case studies under
Protocol Article 5.2. Turning to the training of experts in review
teams, the Secretariat highlighted plans for a pilot training
programme. On the treatment of confidential data, delegates
exchanged preliminary views, and decided to forward the issue to
CGE: Parties discussed GEF support for
initial national communications and the funding implications of the
proposed improved guidelines late into the night.
IN THE CORRIDORS
With both the outgoing and incoming COP
Presidents stressing that the climate change process is shifting
from drafting to implementation, the lack of buzz in the halls of
the Vigyan Bhawan seemed to confirm that the action is elsewhere.
Many conference participants remarked that this COP seemed as
low-key as a meeting of the subsidiary bodies. However, other
observers said they were excited to meet a multitude of Southern
NGOs that are not normally at COPs.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
SBSTA: The SBSTA will meet at 10:00 am in Hall 5. They will
continue their work at 3:00 pm in the Main Plenary Hall.
SBI: The SBI will convene at 10:00 am in the Main Plenary
Hall, at 3:00 pm in Hall 5 and at 8:00 pm in the Main Plenary Hall.
ARTICLES 5, 7 AND 8: A contact group will convene in Hall 4
at 3:00 pm.