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FINAL MEETING OF THE COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE

Friday, 27 June, began amid considerable confusion as delegates, many bleary-eyed from previous all-night sessions, tried to find out where and when negotiations would resume. Rumors were afoot that delegates had abandoned discussions on the draft political statement. By mid-morning, informal groups were busily trying to resolve outstanding issues related to climate change, desertification and forests. Groups were also discussing sectoral issues, such as a transport and the proposed aviation fuel tax, and a number of cross-sectoral issues, such as consumption and production patterns and trade. The groups were to report their results to Tolba by early afternoon and the COW would resume soon after.

The closing meeting of the COW was called to order at 5:10 pm. It continued, albeit with extensive breaks, until 12:10 am. The COW Chair noted that Idunn Eidheim (Norway) would serve as rapporteur. She presented the proposed UNGASS outcome, as contained in A/S-19/AC.1/L.1 and Add. 1-32. The Addenda reflect changes made to A/S-19/14- E/1997/60 during UNGASS. All documents were adopted, with a few reservations and comments.

Tolba noted that the Statement of Commitment, Add.1, replaced the political statement, for which a large body of outstanding paragraphs remained after extensive negotiations. He said there was no time to dwell on the remaining paragraphs, so the President of UNGASS presented a shorter text informally to various regional representatives, who, as he understood it, did not object.

Following adoption of the second paragraph regarding atmosphere, Japan said that, as host country for the upcoming Conference of the Parties to the FCCC, he appreciated the commitment of all to this issue. Saudi Arabia thanked Derek Osborn for successfully meeting the concerns of all delegations. He noted that his country cares about the impact of climate change, but added that it could also be the victim of the response measures that the Annex I countries will have to take to reduce emissions. He noted his country’s willingness to cooperate but unwillingness to be the loser from such a process. The EU expressed appreciation to Japan and thanked Saudi Arabia for its constructive attitude. Norway, Samoa, Russia, the US and Australia spoke in favor of the text and thanked Japan and Chair Osborn for their work on the issue. The COW concluded its work at 12:20 am.

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