Earth Negotiations Bulletin

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 A Reporting Service for Environment and Development Negotiations

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Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

Vol. 12 No. 83
Wednesday, June 10 1998


9 JUNE 1998

The Ad Hoc Group on Article 13 (AG13) met in the morning and afternoon. Contact groups from the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA) met throughout the day to consider outstanding issues.


AG13 continued deliberations on size of the Committee and representation. The US said that the Committee was the first under the Convention and is not compelled to follow the UN system of apportionment. He called for consideration of the special obligations of Annex I and Annex II Parties who undertake the "lion's share of the implementation of the Convention." He reiterated the US position on the designation of half the members by Annex I Parties and the other half by non-Annex I Parties and suggested brackets around "equitable geographical distribution." The G-77/CHINA opposed the US proposal saying that the group will not undermine well-established UN practices on equitable geographical distribution and rotation principles. He said that the group was ready to show flexibility on the size of the Committee.

The G-77/CHINA said that the introduction of new bracketed text was unacceptable at this point. The Chair proposed that the US, Ghana, Indonesia, Canada, Egypt and the EU form a small group to try and resolve the issues. In the afternoon, the EU, on behalf of the small group, reported that no consensus on the issues had been reached. The delegates continued deliberating on the issues and the language used in the report on the work of AG13, and the small group reconvened again to try and resolve the two outstanding issues. As of 8pm, no decision had been reached.


Technology: In the contact group on technology, delegates considered proposed draft conclusions from the Chair on development and transfer of technology. The draft conclusions note the results of the expanded technology and technology needs survey. Regarding language identifying non-Annex I communications as an important means of identifying technology needs, debate centered on a proposal noting that a lack of funding prevented many non-Annex I countries from submitting their national communications. A number of developed countries objected, noting their efforts to accelerate funding and stating that national communications are not the only available avenue for addressing technological needs. Several delegations also objected to language requesting that GEF give high priority to identifying technology needs, noting that SBI has the responsibility to guide the GEF in this regard.

The conclusions noted the result of consultations by the Secretariat on (an) international technology information centre(s), as well as enhanced national or regional centres. The conclusions proposed that SBSTA, inter alia, urge the SBI to request the GEF to give a high priority to activities that enhance the capacity of national and regional technology information centres. A number of developed countries said it was far too early to set priorities and suggested inviting further comments from Parties. They noted the absence of clear guidance on the service desired. Proposals were made to acknowledge that such centres already exist and that access should be improved. The group will reconvene on Wednesday.

One group of countries proposed draft decisions for COP-4 on technology transfer and capacity building, but several delegations requested time to consider the proposals and noted that the contact group was tasked to produce only SBSTA conclusions.

Land Use Change and Forestry: The contact group on Land Use Change and Forestry met in the afternoon and the evening. In the afternoon, delegates reviewed draft SBSTA conclusions. Debate centered on paragraphs related to the timing and content of an IPCC workshop, report and Third Assessment Report. Delegates made a series of proposals on the draft conclusions, which were compiled into a revised text with brackets.

As of 8pm, delegates began consideration of a revised draft text. Under the revised text, SBSTA would request the Secretariat to organize a workshop prior to COP-4 with participation by experts nominated by the IPCC. The purpose of the workshop would be to consider [as the first priority] the data availability and definitions used by Parties and international organizations. It would also agree [to consider at its session] or [to hold] a second workshop after COP-4 to focus [more specifically] on issues arising from Article 3.4 and comments submitted by Parties.

The revised text also contained two alternative paragraphs on the IPCC report. Under the first alternative, SBSTA would request the IPCC to make available a [special] report on land-use, land use changes and forestry [in a timely manner], [no later than June 2000] or [if possible by COP-5, but no later than six months prior to COP-6]. The paragraph specifies that the IPCC should address the methodological, scientific and technical implications of the relevant Articles of the Protocol. Under the second alternative, the [special] report should address the methodological and technical implications of [Articles 3.3, 3.4, 3.7 and 7.1] of the Protocol. IPCC would also set the overall scientific context for consideration of LUCF [and agricultural soils] activities. Bracketed text would also have the IPCC address activities under Article 3.4 and those not covered by Article 3.3, including: improvements in forest management, soil and forest conservation; and re-vegetation of degraded lands.

Allocation of Work for COP-5: The SBI/SBSTA contact group on allocation of work for COP-5 met to discuss a Co-Chairs' set of draft conclusions. A representative of a group of developing countries objected to the proliferation of contact groups. There was general agreement that this contact group should only meet after other groups.

Several developed country and group representatives expressed satisfaction with the draft paper, one noting, in particular, the inclusion of tasks addressing the Kyoto Protocol's Article on compliance issues. One Party noted the omission of emissions trading. The Secretariat responded that this contact group's agenda item topic refers to allocation of work for COP/MOP-1 only, and the Kyoto Protocol does not mandate these issues to be addressed then; furthermore, a decision on emissions trading is expected from the contact group on mechanisms. Another Party suggested improving the structure of the document, currently with "Task," "Allocation," and "Programme of work" up to COP-5 in tabular form, by identifying inter-linkages between elements of the work programme and organizing it according to goals, priorities, timelines and strategies. Two Parties asked about deadlines, to which the Chair replied it is up to the Parties. The Chair asked for written inputs for the next meeting, on Thursday.

Adverse Impacts: The contact group on adverse impacts met in the afternoon to discuss a Co-Chairs' compilation of written inputs and draft decision. The Chair announced inputs had been received from three Parties/regional groups and noted the text is not "final." He also noted that some Parties have drawn a distinction between impacts of climate change and the impacts of response policies. One Party favored not making such a distinction now but leaving it until the analytical stage. One Party objected to referring only to a Convention Article rather than the Kyoto Protocol in a paragraph on funding versus compensation, but another participant responded that nothing in the FCCC nor the Kyoto Protocol requires compensation. After much discussion the group decided to meet again at 3 p.m. on Wednesday to discuss the text.

Non-Annex I Party Communications: The contact group on non-Annex I Party communications and the financial mechanism met briefly to consider a proposal from Chair John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda) for continuing negotiations. Parties agreed to the proposal for four representatives of the G-77/China and four representatives from other groups to proceed with negotiations and report to the contact group by Friday.

Second Review of the Adequacy of FCCC Articles 4.2 (A) and (B): The contact group on a second review of the adequacy of commitments under FCCC Articles 4.2(a) and (b) met briefly in the morning. A number of developing country delegations asked the Co-Chair to inform the subsidiary body Chairs and the FCCC Executive Secretary about their concerns that delegations are unable to attend all the contact groups. They also called for strict adherence to the FCCC, drawing attention to the G-77/China's position paper, which states that COP-4 must not be distracted from carrying out the review by introducing extraneous matters such as the consideration of new commitments for non-Annex I Parties. A developed country Party said he did not agree with the G-77/China's interpretation of Article 4.2(d) on reviews.

This view was shared by a grouping of developed countries whose representative said the review must respect FCCC Article 4.2(d). He said science had demonstrated that the commitments in 4.2(a) and (b) were inadequate, and the G-77/China position paper failed to stay within the mandate of Article 4.2(d). He said it would be useful for future reviews if some work on the objective of the Convention, and on whether Parties are on course to fulfil the objective, could be undertaken. A developing country added that paragraphs 5-8 (requirement for increasingly global participation, long-term stabilization, Article 4.2(g) (FCCC provision for voluntary commitments), and development of the FCCC) in the EU position paper on review of adequacy were extraneous.

The Co-Chair suggested that Parties be guided by the Berlin Mandate. A group representative said the EU position paper was within the ambit of the review. The Berlin Mandate was finished and Parties were starting the second review with a clean sheet of paper. The Co-Chair said Parties had focused on: the scope of the review, timing, and information required and there were "drastically opposed views." The Co-Chair proposed that she draft a decision after another contact group meeting. The contact group adjourned to allow G-77/China participants to attend a regional group meeting on cooperative mechanisms. At an evening session, the contact group discussed the question of the scope of the second review.


The COP-4 host, Argentina, is reported to have been heavily criticized at a G-77/China group meeting when its representatives "broke ranks" and signaled a willingness to unilaterally adopt a legally binding and substantial gross emissions target. There is some bemusement among other G-77 delegations at Argentina's position because it would not automatically qualify the country for its goal of admission to emissions trading. The COP-4 hosts have reportedly met with the US to discuss their initiative.


In the ongoing internal negotiations on burden sharing among European Union members, one member has reportedly linked its negotiating position to negotiations at the FCCC on capping in emissions trading. A number of European countries are reported to be experiencing severe difficulties with their dispensations within the European bubble arrangement in the run up to a round of high-level negotiations later this month. Meanwhile, the transport lobby is reported to be working towards a deal on vehicle efficiency standards (equivalent to business as usual assessments) to pre-empt a multi-sector allocation of indicative emissions reduction targets across the Union.


SBI: SBI will meet at 10:00 am in the Maritim Room.

SBSTA: SBSTA will meet at 11:00 am in the Maritim Room.

AG13: AG13 will meet at 10:00 am in the Beethoven Room.

Contact Groups: Contact groups are expected to meet throughout the day. Consult the schedule board.

This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin � ([email protected]) is written and edited by Chad Carpenter ([email protected]), Deborah Davenport ([email protected]), Angela Churie Kallhauge ([email protected]), Peter Doran ([email protected]). Digital Content by Jeffrey Anderson ([email protected]) and Andrei Henry ([email protected]). The Editor is Pamela Chasek, Ph.D. ([email protected]) and the Managing Editor is Langston James "Kimo" Goree VI ([email protected]). The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are the Netherlands Ministry for Development Cooperation, the Government of Canada (through CIDA) and the United States (through USAID). General Support for the Bulletin during 1998 is provided by the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), the German Federal Ministry of Environment (BMU), the Swiss Office for Environment, Forests and Landscape, the European Community (DG-XI), the Government of Norway, the Ministries of Environment and Foreign Affairs of Austria UNDP and the Ministry for the Environment in Iceland. Funding for the French version has been provided by ACCT/IEPF, with support from the French Ministry of Cooperation. The Bulletin can be contacted at this meeting in Room 136 of the Maritim Hotel +49 (0)228 8108 136 or by e-mail at ([email protected]) and at tel: +1-212-644-0204; fax: +1-212-644-0206. IISD can be contacted by e-mail at ([email protected]) and at 161 Portage Avenue East, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0Y4, Canada. The opinions expressed in the Earth Negotiations Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD and its funders. Excerpts from the Earth Negotiations Bulletin may be used in non-commercial publications only and only with appropriate academic citation. For permission to use this material in commercial publications, contact the Managing Editor. Electronic versions of the Bulletin are sent to e-mail distribution lists and can be found on the Linkages WWW server at The satellite image was taken above New York City (c)1998 The Living Earth, Inc. For information on the Earth Negotiations Bulletin, send e-mail to ([email protected]).

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