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bringing you the latest news, information and analysis from
international environment and sustainable development negotiations


Recent Meetings

Climate and Atmosphere


Meetings from: 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 

December 2003

UNFCCC COP-9 - MILAN CLIMATE MEETING SCORES “MIXED” RESULTS

Major climate change negotiations held in Milan have ended with “mixed” results, according to observers. The ninth Conference of the Parties (COP-9) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) ended in mid-December with experts applauding a deal on the use of carbon sinks in the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). However, some critics left the meeting displeased at a lack of progress in other areas. The conference took place against a backdrop of uncertainty over Russia's intentions towards the Kyoto treaty, and allegations that the U.S. was trying to “derail” the negotiations. Russian ratification is essential if the Kyoto agreement is ever to enter into force as a legally-binding treaty (see the “Media Reports” section for more details). With the successful end to talks on using sinks in the CDM, some experts are already referring to the Milan meeting as “the forest COP.” Progress was also reported in discussions on the Special Climate Change Fund and the Least Developed Countries' Fund, although negotiators remained deadlocked on several other issues, with some participants complaining of slow progress and “inertia” in a few cases. However, while the formal negotiations secured only “mixed” results, there was positive feedback from many of the side events and workshops organized on the periphery of the negotiations. According to reports, these side events demonstrated that climate change issues remain high on the political agendas of many NGOs, business groups, and the academic community, regardless of the progress - or lack of it - in the formal negotiations. The conference, which took place from 1-12 December, was attended by 5000 participants representing more than 160 governments, 300 intergovernmental, non-governmental and other observer organizations, and 190 media outlets. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin report on COP-9 is available online at: http://www.iisd.ca/climate/cop9/

November 2003

European Conference on Local Energy Action

New programmes, directives and other actions initiated by the European Commission came under the spotlight at a recent conference on energy management. The European Conference on Local Energy Action, an annual event for energy management agents, was held on 26 and 27 November 2003, in Brussels, Belgium. The conference examined various EU goals relating to renewables, energy efficiency and environmentally-friendly urban transport, as well as other objectives for achieving sustainable energy use. In particular, the conference focused on local and regional initiatives to achieve these objectives, with delegates discussing financing through the region's Structural Funds. Participants also exchanged lessons learned in implementing appropriate policies and discussed how to communicate effectively with key stakeholders. Further information about this conference is available online at: http://www.managenergy.net/conference/2003.html
Sustainable Energy and Energy Efficiency Asia Exhibition and Conference

Sustainable energy in Asia was the focus of a recent conference held in Singapore. The Sustainable Energy and Energy Efficiency Asia Exhibition and Conference, which took place from 18-20 November 2003, considered the role of various stakeholders, particularly government and the private sector, in achieving sustainable energy development in the region. The conference focused on the theme of “accessing new markets and commercializing sustainable energy in Asia,” while numerous seminars were also held, focusing on developments in fields such as co-generation, energy from waste, energy efficiency, and clean fuels/fuel cells. A workshop to foster the market-driven development of environmentally-friendly independent power producers in Southeast Asia also took place. Further information about this event is available online at: http://www.sustainableenergyasia.com/index.asp
15th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol (MOP-15)

Negotiations on protecting the ozone layer have failed to secure a deal on the use of methyl bromide, an ozone-depleting pesticide. The 15th Meeting of Parties to the Montreal Protocol (MOP-15), held from 10-14 November 2003 in Nairobi, Kenya, ended without an agreement on whether to grant exemptions for the use of methyl bromide. The Montreal Protocol states that developed countries should phase out the use of methyl bromide by 1 January 2005. However, some farmers have called for an exemption to permit its use, arguing that no cost-effective alternatives to this pesticide currently exist. While the US supported an exemption to allow the use of this ozone-depleting substance, others opposed it. “Unfortunately and despite a great deal of discussion, governments could not find consensus on this complex issue at this week's meeting,” UNEP's Executive Director, Klaus Töpfer announced after the conference had ended. Some environmental groups now fear that the US may come under pressure to ignore this aspect of the Protocol's rules, which could undermine the treaty. UNEP will host a special meeting in March 2004 to try to resolve the issue. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin report on MOP-15 is available online at: http://www.iisd.ca/ozone/mop15/

October 2003

Industry Joint Seminar on Technology Diffusion in Eastern Europe and Central Asia and Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on energy efficiency in the context of carbon financing

Industry's role in combating climate change was at the center of two back-to-back meetings held recently in Vienna, Austria. The first meeting, which took place from 28-29 October, focused on technology diffusion in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The meeting aimed to increase participants' awareness of climate change and technology transfer issues, review experiences in the two regions, and promote the development of environmentally-sound projects by encouraging collaboration between policymakers, technology transfer specialists, financial institutions, and the private sector. The second, an expert group meeting on industrial energy efficiency and carbon financing, convened from 30-31 October. Its aim was to identify how carbon financing can accelerate the uptake of energy efficient technologies and systems in the industrial sector using the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), and Joint Implementation (JI). The meetings involved experts from UN agencies such as the UN Industrial Development Organization and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, as well as representatives of governments, non-governmental organizations, business and industry groups, and academic institutions. The Sustainable Developments reports of these meetings are available online at: http://www.iisd.ca/crs/sdiee/
Second International Conference on Early Warning (EWCII)

The use of early warning systems to reduce the impact of natural disasters was the subject of a meeting held from 16-18 October 2003 in Bonn, Germany. The Second International Conference on Early Warning focused on good practices in early warning and on emerging issues, as well as on solutions for integrating early warning into public policy, new technologies and low-technology solutions for early warning systems, and the responsibilities of policy makers in the context of early warning and urban risks. Additional sessions were also held to discuss flooding, the use of hazard maps for effective early warning, integrated approaches to reduce societal vulnerability to droughts, integrating early warning into public policy processes, the implementation of transboundary early warning systems for floods, and new technologies and scientific networks. Three working groups discussed elements of a future international early warning programme, on the basis of which two conference documents were drafted. One includes specific recommendations from the conference, and the other is the Conference Statement. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin report of this meeting is available online at: http://www.iisd.ca/isdr/ewc2/
THE THIRD WORLD CONFERENCE ON CLIMATE CHANGE

- CLIMATE CONFERENCE KEEPS KYOTO PUNDITS GUESSING Hopes that Russia might announce a firm timetable for ratifying the Kyoto Protocol were dashed at a major climate change conference held recently in Moscow. Some experts had predicted that the World Climate Change Conference, held from 29 September to 3 October 2003, would witness a declaration of Russian intentions to ratify the treaty. However, Russian President Vladimir Putin told the gathering that his government was still considering the issue, and gave no deadline for a decision. Russian ratification is essential for the treaty to enter into force as a legally-binding agreement. Responding to President Putin's comments, Joke Waller-Hunter, executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, told conference participants she was disappointed that a firm date for ratification had not been given by their Russian hosts. The conference included discussions on emissions cuts planned in the Russian Federation and elsewhere, particularly those projects involving western companies. Experts at the meeting also shared knowledge on the latest climate science. More information on the conference is available online at: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/stories/2003/09/30/001.html, http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/oct2003/2003-10-01-03.asp and http://unfccc.int/sessions/othermt/moscow03/

September 2003

Seventh Annual Fall Meeting of the Emissions Marketing Association

The use of market-based solutions for global environmental management was the focus of a recent meeting held in Miami Beach, Florida. The Emissions Marketing Association's Seventh Annual Fall Meeting, held from 21-23 September 2003, played host to discussion and debate on the current state of US and international activities related to emissions trading and the environment. The meeting included sessions covering a range of relevant issues, including the status of greenhouse gas emissions trading programmes, renewable energy certificates and green power, the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Joint Implementation (JI), North America's nitrous oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) markets, and international perspectives on greenhouse gas emissions trading. Sessions were also held to consider greenhouse gas inventory, accounting and registry rules, environmental risk management, project measurement and verification, and carbon sequestration. The official report of the meeting is available online at: http://www.emissions.org/publications/summary_reports/summar...
SOUTH EAST ASIA FORUM ON GREENHOUSE GAS MARKET MECHANISMS AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

The use of market mechanisms to combat climate change and support sustainable development was the focus of a recent meeting held in Manila, the Philippines. The South East Asia Forum on Greenhouse Gas Mitigation, Market Mechanisms and Sustainable Development took place from 10-12 September 2003. Participants discussed the global climate change negotiations, opportunities for countries hosting projects relating to climate change, the greenhouse gas market and the use of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the Kyoto Protocol. The Forum also included briefings from companies based in the region on their activities and experiences working on climate-related projects. Participants supported the use of market mechanisms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote sustainable development. In particular, the meeting focused on obstacles and lessons in developing CDM projects, which are projects undertaken in developing countries with support from developed countries. The Sustainable Developments report of the meeting is available online at: http://www.iisd.ca/linkages/sd/seasia/
Workshop on the Application of Climate Change and Energy Technologies: Opportunities and Incentives for Investment in Africa

The use of CDM projects to combat both climate change and poverty, and to accelerate sound environmental management and sustainable development, came under the spotlight during a recent meeting held in Nairobi, Kenya. A workshop on the Application of Climate Change and Energy Technologies: Opportunities and Incentives for Investment in Africa, was held from 3-5 September 2003. The meeting was organized as a capacity-building initiative by the Bureau of Environmental Analysis (BEA), a Nairobi-based business network. Participants recommended a variety of measures to encourage CDM projects in Africa, including the establishment of a joint stakeholders' forum, and the removal of various technological, political, regulatory, and financial barriers. They also supported a proposal that BEA organize a follow-up workshop to identify projects for investments by funding agencies such as the African Development Bank and the Development Bank of Southern Africa. In addition, workshop participants specifically recommended that BEA consult with these two institutions and assist in the further development of the Mozambique Energy Project. The report of the meeting is available online at: http://www.climatebusiness.net/Members.htm#top

July 2003

23rd meeting of the Open-ended Working Group of Parties to the Montreal Protocol

Delegates attending the 23rd meeting of the Open-ended Working Group of Parties to the Montreal Protocol engaged in a review of progress and prepared for the upcoming 15th Meeting of the Parties (MOP-15) in November 2003. The Working Group, which met in Montreal, Canada, from 7-11 July 2003, considered a proposal to amend the Protocol submitted by the European Community, as well as issues addressed by the Technology and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP) in its 2003 progress report, and a report from the Halons Technical Options Committee. Delegates examined issues related to methyl bromide use in some detail. They also looked at progress made on the issue of a global harmonized system for the classification of ozone-depleting substances, and discussed the terms of reference for the evaluation of the Multilateral Fund. In their discussions on methyl bromide, some participants expressed concerns at the assumptions used by the Technical Options Committee in its recent evaluation, and several speakers also drew attention to the considerable number of nominations for exemptions. However, following deliberations in a contact group, progress was reported on many of the matters under discussion. The official report of the Working Group contains proposals for a number of draft decisions that are likely to be taken up at MOP-15, including text on conditions for granting critical-use exemptions for methyl bromide. The report of the meeting is available online at: http://www.unep.ch/ozone/oewg/oewg-reports.shtml
30th Meeting of the Implementation Committee under the Non-Compliance Procedure for the Montreal Protocol

Non-compliance by dozens of Parties to the Montreal Protocol was the focus of the 30th Meeting of the Implementation Committee under the Non-Compliance Procedure for the Montreal Protocol. In a meeting held from 4-7 July 2003 in Montreal, Canada, the Committee considered a substantial agenda of compliance-related matters, including cases of non-compliance with previous decisions by Parties. The Committee agreed to request additional information from several countries, expressed concerns at some Parties' apparent non-compliance, and congratulated others on their success in addressing earlier problems. Delegates also discussed ways to improve the Committee's work. Several speakers observed that closer liaison with the implementing agencies would be of value in supplying relevant information to the Committee. Some delegates also suggested that implementing agencies should be given the opportunity to comment on documents prepared by the Ozone Secretariat before they are circulated to the Committee, and that all documents should be circulated to the Committee prior to the meeting. After discussing the matter, the Committee agreed to present a draft decision to MOP-15 urging the implementing agencies, and in particular UNEP's Compliance Assistance Programme, to assist the Committee, through the Ozone Secretariat, in following up decisions of the Parties on non-compliance and data reporting. The report of the meeting is available online at: http://www.unep.ch/ozone/impcom/impcom-reports.shtml
UNFCCC WORKSHOPS ON SYNERGIES AND COOPERATION WITH OTHER CONVENTIONS

The workshops on synergies and cooperation with other conventions were held from 2-4 July 2003 in Espoo, Finland. The workshops were organized by the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) workshop was convened in response to a request made to the SBI by the seventh session of the Conference of the Parties (COP), held in November 2001. The Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) workshop was convened in response to a request made to the UNFCCC Secretariat by SBSTA-17, held in October-November 2002. The SBI workshop focused on possible synergies and joint action with other multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), while the SBSTA workshop addressed cooperation with other conventions. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin report outlining these discussions in detail can be found at: http://www.iisd.ca/linkages/climate/cespo

June 2003

UNFCCC SB-18

The eighteenth sessions of the Subsidiary Bodies (SB-18) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) were held from 4-13 June 2003 in Bonn, Germany. Over 1288 participants representing 137 Parties, one observer State, 107 observer organizations, and six media outlets were in attendance. At SB-18, delegates continued to address issues under negotiation since COP-8 and prepare for the Kyoto Protocol's entry into force. Throughout the meeting, Parties convened in contact groups, informal consultations, and plenary sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) to adopt draft conclusions and approve draft COP decisions on a number of issues, including: the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF); implementation of UNFCCC Article 4.8 and 4.9 (adverse effects); capacity building; the programme budget for the biennium 2004-2005; definitions and modalities for including afforestation and reforestation activities under Protocol Article 12 (Clean Development Mechanism); "good practices" in policies and measures (P&Ms); the IPCC Third Assessment Report (TAR); and methodological issues. Since the UNFCCC was adopted in 1992, negotiators have been busy constructing a Protocol strong enough to meet the challenge of climate change. With Russia's ratification, the Kyoto Protocol will enter into force. SB-18 may not have sent a stream of positive signals to Moscow or other Annex I Parties, but positive signs were perceptible in discussions on several issues that relate to the regime's effectiveness and the future direction of negotiations. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin report outlining these discussions in detail is available at: http://www.iisd.ca/linkages/climate/sb18/

May 2003

UNFCCC workshops on insurance and climate change

Two UNFCCC workshops on insurance-related actions to address the specific needs and concerns of developing country Parties arising from the adverse effects of climate change and from the impact of the implementation of response measures were held in Bonn, Germany on 12-13 and 14-15 May 2003, respectively. These workshops were mandated by a COP-7 decision on the implementation of Articles 4, paragraphs 8 and 9 of the Convention. The first workshop addressed insurance and risk assessment in the context of climate change and extreme weather events, and the second workshop covered insurance-related actions to address the specific needs and concerns of developing country Parties arising from the adverse effects of climate change and from the impact of the implementation of response measures. The discussions centred on the following main themes: existing insurance systems for natural and environmental disasters; private insurance-industry perspectives; the role of national and international public-private partnerships; and hedging mechanisms and economic diversification strategies against possible economic losses arising from the implementation of response measures. Participants also presented ideas and views on issues for further discussion in the context of both the adverse effects of climate change and the impact of the implementation of response measures. The workshops were attended by approximately 45 participants from the fields of insurance, risk assessment and climate change, representing Parties, international organizations, research institutions, and the private sector. For more information: http://unfccc.int/sessions/workshops.html. For key documents: http://unfccc.int/sessions/workshop/140503/index.html

April 2003

Fourth Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe

30 April 2003: The fourth Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE-4), also called the “Vienna Living Forest Summit,” convened at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria, from 28-30 April 2003. It was attended by Ministers responsible for forests and high-level representatives of 40 European countries and the European Community, as well as representatives of four observer countries and 22 international governmental and non-governmental organizations. The Conference provided an opportunity to discuss and take decisions on the future of the protection and sustainable management of forests in Europe. Conference participants adopted the Vienna Living Forest Summit Declaration, “European Forests-Common Benefits, Shared Responsibilities,” and five Resolutions on: strengthening synergies for sustainable forest management (SFM) in Europe through cross-sectoral cooperation and national forest programmes; enhancing the economic viability of SFM in Europe; preserving and enhancing the social and cultural dimensions of SFM in Europe; conserving and enhancing forest biological diversity in Europe; and climate change and SFM in Europe. Other highlights of the Conference included: a tree-planting ceremony; the opening of an international exhibition “Forest.Art”; a multi-stakeholder dialogue; a signing ceremony for the Vienna Declaration; and an excursion to the Danube Floodplain National Park. [IISD RS coverage: http://www.iisd.ca/linkages/sd/sdpfe/sdvol84num1.html]
UNFCCC Workshop on enabling environments for technology transfer

Fifty-three representatives of governments, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, business and industry groups, and academic institutions met in Ghent, Belgium from 9-10 April 2003 in a workshop organized by the UNFCCC Secretariat in collaboration with Ghent University's Center for Sustainable Development. The workshop was convened in response to a request by the UNFCCC's Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) at its seventeenth session, held in October 2002. The SBSTA also requested the Secretariat to prepare a technical paper on enabling environments for the transfer of environmentally-sound technology (ESTs) for consideration by the UNFCCC Expert Group on Technology Transfer (EGTT) at its third meeting in late May 2003. In response to this request, the Secretariat commissioned the Tata Energy and Resource Institute (TERI) to develop a draft technical paper on the issue. The workshop reviewed the TERI draft technical paper and addressed technology transfer issues, such as barriers to technology transfer and the role of multilateral lending institutions, bilateral programmes and the private sector in assisting governments overcome them. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin report summarizing these discussions in detail can be found at: http://www.iisd.ca/linkages/climate/cghen/

March 2003

IPCC scoping meeting on climate change and sustainable development

Approximately 40 experts met in Colombo, Sri Lanka from 4-6 March to attend an IPCC scoping meeting on climate change and sustainable development. Participants included representatives from research institutions, universities, two governments, and co-chairs from IPCC Working Groups 2 and 3. Participants noted that the issue of climate change and sustainable development related to both developing and developed countries, with some emphasizing the link between income wealth and emissions. Participants also noted the need for a more integrated approach in addressing responses to climate change, urging that mitigation and adaptation be considered as complementary elements of development strategies. Also underscored was the need to regard all three pillars of sustainable development, ensuring social development, economic growth in addition to environmental protection, to mainstream sustainable development into decision making. Participants proposed tackling the issue of climate change and sustainable development by: working off conclusions reached at the WSSD; simultaneously addressing other relevant international issues such as financing, and trade and environment conventions; and effectively integrating the issue with other cross cutting themes identified for the Fourth Assessment Report.

February 2003

20th Session of the IPCC

Government officials and climate change experts gathered in Paris, France from 19-21 February 2003 to advance preparations for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report on global warming. At the session delegates agreed on a work plan for two expert “scoping meetings,” to be held later this year. Experts also identified a work plan of how to progress and structure the Report, and identified themes for Special Reports to assess climate change and appropriate mitigation and adaptation strategies at a regional level. The Forth Assessment Report is expected to be completed by 2007. More information is available at: http://www.ipcc.ch/meet/meet_dt.htm
Third UNEP Working Group Meeting on Economic Instruments

18 February 2003: Approximately 35 participants from government, academic and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations gathered on 17-18 February 2003 in Geneva, Switzerland for the Third UNEP Working Group Meeting on Economic Instruments. The Working Group provides a platform to help define modalities for the use of economic instruments for environmental management and sustainable development. A key aim of the Group is to enhance policy coordination at the national level related to the design and use of economic instruments, including maximizing the net development gains from trade liberalization. Participants discussed two papers: “Opportunities, Prospects and Challenges for the Use of Economic Instruments in Environmental Policy Making” and “The Use of Economic Instruments to Implement Selected Multilateral Environmental Agreements.” The “Opportunities” paper provides practical guidance on when economic instruments may be appropriate and effective, how to introduce them and how to assess and respond to their economic, social and environmental effects. Using the framework presented in the paper, a number of country projects on economic instruments that UNEP has commissioned were reviewed to provide insights into the potential country-level use of the methodology proposed. The second paper was prepared in close collaboration between UNEP and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and Ramsar Convention Secretariats. It analyzes existing provisions in these Conventions and decisions of the Conferences of the Parties for the use of economic instruments, their implementation and relevant environment and trade implications. The meeting website contains links to the papers and to presentations made during the meeting, as well as a list of participants. For more information contact: UNEP DTIE Economics and Trade Branch; tel: +41-22-917-8243; e-mail: etb@unep.ch; Internet: http://www.unep.ch/etu/etp/events/Economic_Instruments/2003_...