The Chair, Veit Koester of Denmark, announced the possibility of a Wednesday night meeting and moved directly to approval of the programme of work, amended to reflect decisions from the morning Plenary.
Ian Johnson spoke on the question of full and incremental costs, calling it but one element of an overall decision-making process to identify and agree on specific actions. The other elements include technical viability, social impact, linkages to the national strategy and guidance from the COP. The concept of incremental costs will help in defining a framework to access the multiplicity of actions needed, noting that all must be set in a context of flexibility, pragmatism and tests of reasonableness. Incremental costs should not be confused with incrementalism.
In the discussion that followed, Johnson stated that when domestic benefits could be easily "monetized," they would be deducted on a case by case basis. Malaysia stated that the working group was "testing" the GEF to see if it would measure up to expectations. She called "incremental costs" and "global benefits" undefinable, and asking if they would be removed from the GEF vocabulary, she said that projects be considered on an individual basis. In response, Johnson justified the concept of incremental costs as a necessary rule for the allocation of limited funds. When asked by Norway about the financing of domestic biodiversity he explained that the GEF has not focussed on this. When asked by Costa Rica whether GEF funding was dependent on a country's ratification, Johnson replied that this was a matter for the COP.
The Chair introduced the next agenda item, "characteristics desired in the institution(s) operating the financial mechanism under the Convention." The US noted that since this session is not a negotiation, the group should not feel the need to reach consensus and conclusions and asked how the committee's discussion would be reflected in a written summary. The Chair responded that conclusions would be duly reported. Mexico, supported by Brazil, Senegal and Venezuela, insisted that delegating the outcome of the meeting to a small group for review was unacceptable. Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela suggested sending a message to the GEF. Sweden said a decision must be made regarding the GEF to give it guidance in the restructuring phase. Australia supported the US but said the group should not resist reaching conclusions. Colombia said that, as a UN working group, they should prepare resolutions to be transmitted to the COP or the GEF, as was done by the Climate Change INC. The Chair called the notion of small groups a "ghost" and supported Colombia's suggestion that recommendations from the group would go to Plenary and then on to the relevant body.
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