The text contains several major points of divergence that remain bracketed. Paragraph 3, which relates to the basis of financing, has not been agreed. The contentious issue is whether contributions should be voluntary or not. The US and Japan support a voluntary assessment, while others, including Sweden and the Netherlands, would like payments to be obligatory. The issue is not that some countries do not want to contribute regular payments to the trust fund, but rather that domestic policies in some countries dictate that all contributions must be voluntary. For example, if the payment is obligatory, the US requires Congressional approval. Other countries, however, prefer mandatory payments to ensure predictable cash flows. Another suggestion made by Australia and supported by China is that funding should come from the UN regular budget.
Paragraph 4, which relates to the scale of assessment, is also unresolved. One issue is that many countries support a formula that ensures that no single contribution shall exceed 25% of the total. This is an important issue for some of the donor countries who fear that if more countries do not ratify the Convention there is the potential that their proportion of financing will account for more than 25% of the total contributions. Other countries do not want such a ceiling in the event that a contributor would like to pay more than 25%. The second issue in this paragraph relates to a proposal by Brazil that no developing country is to pay more than any developed country. This proposal is based in the principle that developed countries are meant to be financing the implementation of the Convention, including the secretariat. In reality, this would mean that countries such as Luxembourg and Portugal would have to contribute more than countries such as Brazil and India. Some countries find this unacceptable.
Paragraph 15 also remains bracketed and it, too, has two alternative texts. This paragraph relates to how agreement should be reached on both the scale of assessment used and the budget. One alternative is to reach agreement on these issues by consensus. The other proposes that agreement on the budget should be reached by consensus, however, failing that, it should be agreed by a majority. Whether the majority should be two-thirds or four-fifths is also undecided. [Return to start of article]