Daily report for 21 May 2005

22nd Session of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies (SB 22)

On Saturday morning, SBSTA convened for an in-session workshop on adaptation. Delegates heard presentations and engaged in discussions on the development of a five-year programme of work for SBSTA on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change. Numerous contact groups and informal consultations also took place. Under the SBI’s agenda, groups met on the internal review of the Secretariat’s activities, the programme budget for the biennium 2006-2007, arrangements for intergovernmental meetings, the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF), and the least developed countries (LDCs). SBSTA contact groups and informal meetings convened on various issues, including hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons, technology transfer, adjustments for LULUCF, and research needs relating to the Convention.


ADAPTATION WORKSHOP: Philip Gwage (Uganda) and David Warrilow (UK) co-chaired the in-session workshop, which addressed the development of a SBSTA five-year work programme on adaptation, as required by the Buenos Aires Programme on Adaptation (1/CP.10).

Delegates heard presentations from keynote speaker Ian Burton, University of Toronto, and 15 country representatives. Many presenters highlighted technology transfer for adaptation, sharing methodologies, avoiding duplication of work, a sectoral focus, regional monitoring centers, and integration with sustainable development and poverty eradication.

Ian Burton noted that the aim of adaptation is to reduce present and future losses. He underscored the adaptation deficit and noted that, from a strictly economic perspective, developed and rapidly developing countries will suffer most. He also emphasized the need for a comprehensive, flexible, phased work programme with clear objectives that considers specific issues such as adaptation baselines and measurement of progress.

JAPAN stressed the need for international coordinated action for both developed and developing countries. CHINA called for a practical and substantial approach, proposing hands-on expert meetings rather than more workshops. CANADA emphasized risk assessment and management, and stressed the importance of engaging both practitioners and policy makers. NEW ZEALAND suggested inviting voluntary submissions on adaptive capacities in national communications. The EU proposed maximizing synergies, promoting linkages to mitigation and, with CANADA, a review of the programme following publication of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report. The US suggested a review after five years.

ARGENTINA proposed clustering adaptation and response measures. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION underscored the need for regional adaptation, regional projections and observation systems. AOSIS called for a specific programme for SIDS, consistent with the Mauritius Strategy. SOUTH AFRICA supported a best practice clearing house, rapid vulnerability assessments, and early warning systems. SAUDI ARABIA highlighted UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol commitments, and urged support for Parties vulnerable to the impacts of response measures, especially oil-exporting developing countries. Bangladesh, for LDCs, spoke about micro-insurance and tools and methodologies to assist LDCs. AUSTRALIA called for analysis of available tools and methods, and for targeted workshops. SWITZERLAND proposed that the Secretariat maintain a methodologies website.

Co-Chair Warrilow invited comments from the floor, with delegates highlighting, inter alia, the need for: SBSTA’s work programme to provide added value; increased knowledge and awareness on climate change impacts; financial resources for the work programme; strengthened national and local adaptation institutions; economic valuation of adaptation measures; linkages with the Adaptation Fund; linkages to take advantage of experiences in adaptation to other phenomena and climate variability; a differentiation of adaptation from disaster response; bottom-up approaches; and tools for rapid assessment and identification of critical thresholds. A contact group will be established.


INTERNAL REVIEW OF SECRETARIAT ACTIVITIES: Harald Dovland (Norway) convened the first meeting of a contact group on the internal review of the activities of the UNFCCC Secretariat. COP Secretary Richard Kinley provided a summary of the Secretariat’s report (FCCC/SBI/2005/6). On the need for predictable funding for operation and maintenance of information systems, Kinley acknowledged US contributions to the Supplementary Fund but explained the need for funding beyond the development phase. He also explained the Secretariat’s efforts to streamline fund raising and communication across business areas. Responding to a question from JAPAN, Kinley recalled some reluctance by Parties to permit the Secretariat to collaborate with other agencies. The EU supported the view that there is scope for productive relationships between the Secretariat and other agencies. Chair Dovland circulated draft conclusions for the SBI and COP 11 and invited Parties to reconvene on Monday morning.

SPECIAL CLIMATE CHANGE FUND: The SBI contact group on the SCCF convened in the afternoon, with Co-Chair Ojoo-Massawa noting that the aim was to finish negotiations on draft SBI conclusions for a COP decision (FCCC/SBI/2004/L.25). SOUTH AFRICA, CANADA and Portugal, for the EU, said the text provided a useful basis for discussions. The EU said the two first operative paragraphs, on activities supported by the SCCF, are key to a final agreement. He said text on economic diversification would require further clarification. An informal meeting will take place on Monday afternoon.

ARRANGEMENTS FOR INTERGOVERNMENTAL MEETINGS: Chair Sach convened the contact group in the afternoon. Regarding the high-level segment of COP 11 and COP/MOP 1, Chair Sach and NORWAY recalled the agreement at SB 18 on provision for high-level statements, using one list of speakers. The US favoured an interactive approach combined with statements.

On future sessional periods, Chair Sach noted an IPCC request for a postponement of COP 13 by three to four weeks. AUSTRALIA, JAPAN, INDIA, the EU and NEW ZEALAND supported the IPCC request. SAUDI ARABIA and CHINA suggested that the IPCC Report could be taken up at COP 14. On possible elements for the provisional COP 11 agenda, Saudi Arabia, for the G-77/CHINA, asked that the agenda reflects that an item on UNFCCC Article 4.8 (adverse effects) is part of a review process and that an item on capacity building be added.

Regarding the negotiating process, Chair Sach noted views from the SBI Plenary, including support for clustering or consolidating agenda items, a reduction in the number of contact groups and consultations, and some support for longer time-cycles for agenda items. SAUDI ARABIA urged further discussion. NORWAY and CANADA suggested that some recommendations on streamlining the process could be implemented straight away. The EU noted a proposal to continue considerations up to SBI 24. On observer participation, Chair Sach recalled support for the Secretariat�s views that current UNFCCC practices are in line with ongoing reflections at the UN General Assembly. Chair Sach undertook to draft conclusions for Monday morning and reconvene the contact group on Monday afternoon.

PROGRAMME BUDGET FOR THE BIENNIUM 2006-7: Delegates met in the morning to ask substantive questions about the proposed budget, and informally in the afternoon to discuss draft SBI and COP/MOP 1 decisions from the Chair. Much of the discussion focused on how to insulate the Secretariat’s budget from the impacts of exchange rate fluctuations, with the EU and others, opposed by the US, supporting fixing the budget in Euros. The next meeting takes place on Monday.

RESEARCH NEEDS RELATING TO THE CONVENTION: Delegates met informally to exchange views on a draft decision prepared by Co-Chairs Castellari and Cigarán. Discussions focused on the process, national and regional research needs, the need for action-oriented decisions, the need for better communication between research bodies and SBSTA, as well as feedback from the scientific community, systematic observation, capacity building and lists of needs. By Saturday evening some progress was reported. Draft conclusions will be circulated on Monday.

MATTERS RELATING TO THE LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES: Delegates stressed the need to finally conclude this item, and agreed that the pre-session consultations and decision 6/CP.9 were the starting points for deliberations. The UK, TUVALU and CANADA noted that the COP gives direction to the GEF and not the reverse, and that the GEF’s responsibility is to operationalize this direction.

Delegates then discussed those elements that should be in the draft COP/MOP 1 decision. The EU noted that the LDC Fund should, inter alia, support integration with development plans, be country-driven, and support implementation of urgent adaptation measures. The LDC Group added that a portion of the LDC Fund should support other elements of the LDC Work Programme. The GEF agreed to provide delegates with a document defining “additionality” to help clarify its applicability to the Fund. NORWAY noted that the draft COP/MOP 1 decision should state that guidance to GEF should be revisited annually. Based on this input, the Chairs will develop text for distribution and consideration at the group’s Monday afternoon meeting.

OZONE AND CLIMATE ISSUES – HFCS AND PFCS: Chair Goetze presented draft conclusions. The US expressed reservations about inviting submissions from Parties on this matter. CHINA, with SAUDI ARABIA and JAMAICA, proposed removing a paragraph inviting the Montreal Protocol to make a statement at a future session of SBSTA, while the EU, NORWAY and SENEGAL supported retaining it. The US said it would accept the paragraph if the call for submissions was removed. Informal consultations will continue.

TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER: Co-Chairs Liptow and Agyemang-Bonsu introduced their compilation of submissions for draft conclusions and terms of reference for the EGTT, which was welcomed by parties as a good basis for negotiations. JAPAN and CANADA noted the absence of innovative financing and TT:CLEAR. Malaysia, for the G-77/CHINA, noted the lack of reference to technologies listings.

Delegates then began negotiating on proposed text paragraph-by-paragraph. Discussions focused on technology needs assessments and on publicly-owned technologies. Debate centered on what “publicly-owned” and “public-domain” technologies actually mean, and the links to intellectual property rights. The G-77/CHINA said it is interested in technologies that can be released to the public domain, and CHINA stated that it would not accept any linkage between public domain technologies and property rights. The Co-Chairs will prepare a revised text and consult informally.

ADJUSTMENTS FOR LULUCF: Co-Chair Rosland presented an amended version of the annex to the draft COP 11 and COP/MOP 1 decision on technical guidance for methodologies for adjustments for LULUCF (FCCC/SBSTA/2005/2), and delegates engaged in paragraph-by-paragraph discussions. Whether or not to include a reference to the magnitude of adjustments as a report requirement of expert review teams was left unresolved. Consultations will continue informally.


Some delegates were studying comments made during the in-session SBSTA adaptation workshop over issues of climate change versus natural climate variability. One observer suggested the issue could have more to do with liability than atmospheric science.

Meanwhile, at the end of a busy but unexceptional Saturday in the contact groups, Secretariat staff and contact group chairs retired to their offices burdened with preparing a large number of draft decisions and conclusions by Monday.

There was some compensation for their “lost weekend” in Bonn, though, with the prospect Saturday evening of the traditional NGO party. “Some Parties may be saving their energy for COP/MOP 1,” said one participant, “but the most important Party here is the NGO Party,” he added, referring to Saturday night’s festivities.

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