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UNFCCC COP-4
THE FOURTH MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE UN FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA
2 - 13  November 1998

BRIEFING - 14 NOVEMBER

DAILY COVERAGE

COP-4 Adopts ‘Buenos Aires Plan of Action’

The Fourth Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC concluded in the early hours of Saturday morning with the adoption a ‘Buenos Aires Action Plan’ establishing deadlines for finalizing work on the Kyoto Mechanisms (Joint Implementation, Emissions Trading and the Clean Development Mechanism), compliance issues and policies and measures.

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Michael Zammit Cutajar joined a number of Parties and NGOs in welcoming the Action Plan’s year 2000 deadline for the completion of work. The Buenos Aires Plan of Action includes deadlines on a number of important issues:

  • Financial mechanisms - which will assist the developing world to respond to the challenges related to climate change.
  • Further work on policies and measures - an issue introduced by the EU at a late stage in the Conference.
  • Development and transfer of technologies.
  • Rules governing the Kyoto Mechanisms with priority given to the Clean Development Mechanism.
  • An undertaking to discuss supplementarity, ceilings, long term convergence and equity.

On technology transfer Parties broke a 4-year deadlock in the debate. The Conference decision outlines a process on how to overcome the barriers to the transfer of environmentally sound technology. On compliance Parties reached a common understanding that a strong and comprehensive regime is needed to ensure an effective implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. Countries vulnerable to the impacts of climate change will receive further support from the Global Environment Facility to plan concrete measures for adaptation.

At the close of the Conference, Zammit Cutajar said: "We now have an action plan with timetables. The crunch will come at the sixth session of the Conference of the Parties at the end of the year 2000." The EU’s Commissioner for the Environment Ritt Bjerregaard said: "We would have wanted to achieve more - you always do. But this was what we could push the other Parties in the Conference to agree on." US Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs, Stuart E.Eizenstat, who announced his country’s intention to sign the Kyoto Protocol Thursday, said the success of COP-4 proved that the framework built in Kyoto was indeed sound.

The World Wide Fund for Nature welcomed the year 2000 deadline in the Action Plan but expressed disappointment at the absence of any discussion on guiding principles for the Kyoto Mechanisms. Lars Georg Jensen added: "It’s another small turn on the rudder of the climate change supertanker. But governments have much more to do to steer clear of the rocks."

 

Version française: BNT

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Late-breaking news

bullet United States Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs, Stuart E. Eizenstat, told the ENB that the small island states of Niue and Nauru have expressed a strong interest in becoming more engaged in the climate change regime. Mr. Eizenstat was answering a question about those developing countries he expected to follow Argentina in undertaking voluntary commitments.

 


Official documents of COP-4 available from the UNFCCC web site, under Official Documents, COP-4

Images and RealAudio of the closing Plenary available on our Special last day coverage page.

/journal/
October 98:

Special climate change edition

Expert Group meeting
on the CDM (UNIDO)

UNFCCC Secretariat
COP-4 website

WBCSD and COP4:
A Business Perspective

Photo highlights from the final day of negotiations

11closed1_s.jpg (5901 bytes)Everything happened behind closed doors as the reconvening of the Plenary was postponed indefinitely 11sleepchi_s.jpg (6204 bytes) Delegates sleeping as the scheduled time of the Closing Plenary time is postponed until the early morning
11algos_s.jpg (5693 bytes) COP President Maria Julia Alsogaray on her way to the podium to preside over the closing Plenary 11austria_s.jpg (6442 bytes) Martin Bartenstein, Federal Minister for the Environment, Austria, and speaking on behalf of the EU, proposed naming the Program of Action after Buenos Aires which was accepted by acclamation

For the complete selection of images and RealAudio from the negotiations floor go to the day's page:

 

Photo & RealAudio from COP-4 SPECIAL EVENTS

Special Events are the independent presentations convened by organizations with an interest in the negotiations and related issues.  For the complete selection of images and RealAudio from the Special Events go to the day's page:

 

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE ROAD TO BUENOS AIRES


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� Earth Negotiations Bulletin, 1998. All rights reserved.