Published by the International
Institute for Sustainable Development
Vol. 12 No. 94
November 11 1998
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE FOURTH UNFCCC CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES
10 NOVEMBER 1998
Draft decisions and conclusions were considered by the
Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA),
the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and a joint
SBSTA/SBI contact group and plenary. Delegates could not reach
agreement and a number of decisions will be forwarded to the COP
plenary with brackets. The joint session concluded at 4:10 am.
Under the draft conclusions on impacts of single projects on
emissions in the commitment period, (FCCC/SBSTA/1998/CRP.9;
FCCC/SBSTA/1998/CRP.10; FCCC/SBSTA/1998/MISC.11 and Add.1),
SBSTA would further consider the issue at its tenth session.
Supporting the draft decision, AOSIS cautioned against granting
exemptions prior to the Protocols entry into force and said
Parties should explore other options. ICELAND stressed that only
projects with demonstrable global benefit would fall under the
draft decision, if they could not be accommodated within the
Partys assigned amount. On the issue of precedence, he said
other cases should be valued on their own merits. The draft
conclusions and decisions were adopted.
The draft conclusions (FCCC/SBSTA/1998/CRP.10) on
methodological issues noted the preparations of a workshop to be
held from 911 December to resolve the identified methodological
issues on GHG inventories. It requested the Secretariat to,
inter alia, prepare a report on the revised guidelines for Annex
I communications, particularly on the GHG inventory section, and
consult with the IPCC on a comprehensive joint plan for the
inventory programme. The conclusions were adopted with some
SBSTA adopted its draft report for the ninth session
(FCCC/SBSTAA/1998/L.8). The final report will include the
RUSSIAN FEDERATIONs objection to procedural steps embodied in
the recommendation on the relationship between the Montreal
Protocol and the FCCC (FCCC/SBSTA/1998/CRP.8).
The draft conclusions on technology transfer
(FCCC/SBSTA/1998/CRP.11) requested the SBSTA Chair to establish
a consultative process, constituting regional workshops and
meetings to implement FCCC Article 4.5 (technology transfer).
Parties are invited to provide submissions to the Secretariat by
15 March 1999 in response to the issues listed in the Annex to
Delegates adopted most of the text unchanged, modifying the
preamble to reflect the role of the private sector in some
countries. A paragraph requesting SBSTA to establish a
consultative process to consider the issues listed in the Annex
engendered debate. The G-77/CHINA favored retaining reference to
a technology transfer mechanism and considering the paragraph
along with a bracketed reference in the Annex, which required
consideration of appropriate mechanisms for technology transfer
with the UNFCCC. The PHILIPPINES suggested a body was needed to
operationalize the process, adding that experts involved in the
consultative process should be from the FCCC roster of experts.
The US, with the EU, said the aim of the consultative process
should be meaningful and effective action. The G-77/CHINA
favored technology transfer mechanism, but indicated
willingness to accept meaningful and effective action if
brackets were removed from the Annex.
The Chair closed the formal meeting and began informal
discussions. The EU said the Annex was not a negotiated text and
supported the US proposal to leave the debate to the high-level
segment, as it related to other issues under negotiation. The
Chair proposed compromise wording. After some debate, the Chair
invited the EU, the US and the G-77/China to discuss the issue
SBSTA reconvened at approximately 12:30 am. Chair Chow
reported that participants in the afternoon's consultations had
agreed to let the Chair make a proposal. He proposed the
following: "to achieve agreement on a framework for meaningful
and effective actions." The reference to "technology transfer
mechanism" would be deleted. The text would also have SBSTA draw
from the "roster of experts." A bracketed reference in the Annex
would ask whether existing multilateral mechanisms were
The Chair attempted to accept the text, but the US objected.
CHINA expressed regret that implementation of this FCCC
commitment was being delayed once again. SBSTA accepted the
text, and the Chair said the record would note the US objection.
The US, supported by JAPAN, said the action was inappropriate
and a statement in the record was insufficient. He said the
record should indicate that the decision was accepted in the
face of objection. He will raise the issue in the COP plenary.
In describing the results of the contact group on FCCC
Articles 4.8 and 4.9 (adverse effects), Co-Chair Bo Kjellen
(Sweden) said the text reflects the objectives and there is
general agreement on outstanding issues. The two bracketed
paragraphs in the preamble reflected the lack of time for full
negotiation. The G-77/CHINA said there were compromises even in
the unbracketed text. He said the group would accept the
document, including the brackets, to preserve momentum. The US,
with the EU, said the impression of general agreement was
misleading. He said the contact group never discussed this text
and there was no agreement on the work plan. SAUDI ARABIA stated
there was no consensus and suggested that if the whole text is
bracketed, then all texts should be bracketed.
On administrative and financial matters, the contact group
Chair reported that no agreement had been reached on the
calendar of meetings. The US highlighted concerns regarding
dates in the draft decision. The Executive Secretary reported
that since document FCCC/SBI/1998/INF.6 was distributed,
additional financial contributions had been received from
several Parties. MAURITANIA objected to changes in the text
proposed by the Chair. The text was adopted with the exclusion
of the calendar of meetings.
The Co-Chairs of the contact group on national communications
from Annex I Parties indicated that consensus was reached. The
G-77/CHINA proposed bracketing a paragraph in the Annex that
notes many Annex I Parties will not reduce GHGs to 1990 levels.
They said this issue became linked to discussion on FCCC Article
4.2 (a) and (b) (adequacy of commitments). MAURITANIA asked the
Chair not to reopen debate on an agreed decision. The text was
accepted with brackets.
On initial national communications from non-Annex I Parties,
contact group Co-Chair Paul Maclons (South Africa) reported on
the draft decision. The EU bracketed a paragraph regarding
requests to the Secretariat. The G-77/CHINA bracketed the entire
text. CHINA and SAUDI ARABIA said the Chair should not allow
further negotiation on the text. After lengthy debate, the Chair
called on delegates to respect the rules and said the entire
text would be bracketed for consideration by the COP Plenary.
On the second review of adequacy of FCCC Article 4.2 (a) and
(b), contact group Co-Chair Jennifer Irish (Canada) reported
that the group agreed the commitments were inadequate, but did
not agree on reasons nor on actions required. She presented a
recommendation that the Chair conduct further consultations. Co-
Chair Margaret Mukahanana (Zimbabwe) said the difficulty on
reaching a consensus was based on different interpretations of
adequacy of commitments. The Chair asked delegates to forward
the five draft decisions to the COP Plenary.
Co-Chair John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda) presented the draft
decision on the financial mechanism. He noted that there were no
brackets in the text, but one group had indicated its dissent.
The EU bracketed paragraphs on GEF funding for implementing
adaptation responses and meeting full agreed costs. The US
bracketed language on international centers. The G-77/CHINA
bracketed the entire text. The text was accepted with brackets.
SBI then adopted the draft report of its ninth session
JOINT CONTACT GROUP ON MECHANISMS
The contact group on flexibility mechanisms considered the
initial work programme on Protocol mechanisms. In addition to
the G-77/China proposal submitted earlier, draft work programmes
were submitted by AUSTRALIA (on behalf of CANADA, ICELAND, NEW
ZEALAND, NORWAY, the RUSSIAN FEDERATION and the US), JAPAN,
SWITZERLAND and the Co-Chairs. After extensive deliberations,
Co-Chair Yvo de Boer (Netherlands) suggested textual amendments.
The title of the work programme would include a footnote stating
the existence of elements in this list is without prejudice to
inclusion of these items in the rules, modalities and guidelines
developed for these mechanisms. The discussion on principles
would be limited to the application of existing principles,
and the references to FCCC Articles 4.8 and 4.9 (adverse
effects) would be deleted.
At the request of G-77/CHINA, the Parties reconvened later to
discuss the draft as amended by the Co-Chairs. SAUDI ARABIA,
with QATAR, said it would support the Co-Chairs amended text,
if FCCC Articles 4.8 and 4.9 were included. UGANDA said all the
references to FCCC Articles 4.8 and 4.9 should be deleted, as
they were under deliberation elsewhere. The Co-Chairs concluded
that they would report to the joint session that contact group
could not find a consensus modality on a way forward.
SBSTA/SBI JOINT SESSION
The joint SBSTA/SBI session discussed the review of progress
under the pilot phase of AIJ, Protocol Articles 6, 12, and 17,
and preparations for COP/MOP-1. On the review of progress under
the AIJ pilot phase, Chair Cornelia Quennet-Thielen (Germany)
presented a draft decision (FCCC/SB/1998/CRP.3) based on
informal consultations. The G-77/CHINA opposed text on crediting
for AIJ pilot phase projects and proposed an amendment on
continuing the AIJ pilot phase, focusing on developing
countries. The US and SLOVENIA opposed the change, noting it
excluded certain groups of Parties. AUSTRALIA said incentives
were needed for the private sector. The draft decision was
forwarded to Plenary.
On Protocol Articles 6, 12 and 17, Co-Chairs Luiz Gylvan
Meira Filho (Brazil) and Yvo de Boer (the Netherlands) reported
that the joint contact group did not agree on a draft work
programme. The EU and AUSTRALIA and others put forward the
documents they had produced for the contact group. Co-Chairs
Kante and Chow distributed a draft decision on the work progamme
on mechanisms. The G-77/CHINA urged discussion of the contact
group Co-Chairs draft, with CHINA opposing the use of other
documents. SOUTH AFRICA and UGANDA rejected the G-77/CHINA
position, saying they were unaware the group had discussed the
new proposal. With the US, EU, CANADA, JAPAN, KUWAIT and
AUSTRALIA, the AFRICAN GROUP favored bracketing the new Co-
Chairs draft entirely. VENEZUELA said forwarding the Co-Chairs
text would require formulation of a joint Subsidiary Bodies
position. KUWAIT suggested the draft decision of the SBSTA/SBI
Co-Chairs be forwarded to the COP as a Chairs text. Co-Chair
Kante suggested forwarding both texts to the Plenary: the draft
work plan proposed by the contact group Co-Chairs and the draft
decision proposed by the SBSTA/SBI Co-Chairs. Delegates agreed
but it remained uncertain which of the texts would be bracketed.
On matters related to decision 1/CP.3, paragraph 6
(preparations for COP/MOP-1) the Chair of the informal
consultations, Espen Ronneberg (Marshall Islands) reported that
work was not concluded due to time constraints. He offered an
informal paper with an annex containing an initial list of work.
Co-Chair Chow suggested further deliberations. SAUDI ARABIA said
it would accept this on the condition that the issue of Protocol
Articles 4.8 and 4.9 (adverse effects) be resolved at COP-4. The
Co-Chairs forwarded the paper to the COP.
MAURITANIA and the Co-Chairs proposed a draft decision urging
Parties to sign and ratify the Kyoto Protocol. JAPAN recalled
that the draft decision on Article 4.2(a) and (b) contained a
bracketed sentence urging Parties to ratify. The US said it was
not in a position to urge ratification and suggested postponing
the decision. The draft decision was forwarded to the COP.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
Presidential Ceremony: The Presidential Ceremony is expected
to begin at 10:00 am.