In his opening statement, the Chair of the AGBM, Mr. Raul Estrada-Oyuela (Argentina), noted that this meeting marked the beginning of a new phase in the life of the Convention, consolidating all of its past work and achievements. He said that COP 1 had concluded that current commitments were inadequate to achieve the Convention's objectives and had initiated the BM process for the purpose of taking appropriate action for the period beyond 2000, particularly with regard to the strengthening of Annex I Parties' commitments. He added that the process must include an analysis to identify policies and measures, but that undertaking these activities does not preclude work on other topics pertaining to the BM. He concluded that the task before this group is complex, but expressed confidence that the group will help draft a legal instrument to reflect the wishes of the international community.
The Executive Secretary of the Permanent Secretariat, Mr. Michael Zammit-Cutajar, said that 16 States had become Parties since COP 1. Noting the short time available to accomplish the tasks at hand, he stated that the AGBM must now discuss the assessment of policies and measures and the integration of these assessments into the overall process. He added that the communications already submitted have been a "reality check," because they reveal the difficulty in achieving the aim of reducing emissions to 1990 levels.