Earth Negotiations Bulletin

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 A Reporting Service for Environment and Development Negotiations

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Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

Vol. 12 No. 190
Monday, 15 April 2002

SUMMARY OF THE WORKSHOP OF THE CONSULTATIVE GROUP OF EXPERTS ON NATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS FROM NON-ANNEX I PARTIES:
10-11 APRIL 2002

The workshop of the Consultative Group of Experts (CGE) on national communications from non-Annex I Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was held from 10-11 April 2002 in Bonn, Germany. More than 40 delegates attended the session, including expert representatives of governments and intergovernmental organizations.

The objective of the CGE is to improve national communications from non-Annex I Parties to the UNFCCC. During the workshop, participants met in plenary sessions to hear reports from the CGE task groups on greenhouse gas inventories, vulnerability and adaptation assessment (V&A) and research and systematic observation (RSO), and education, training and public awareness (ETPA), as well as the crosscutting issues of information and networking, national circumstances and planning, and financial and technical support. The group also heard presentations on the problems and constraints facing some non-Annex I Parties in relation to the preparation of their national communications.

Participants convened in four Working Group sessions on Wednesday afternoon, 10 April, and Thursday, 11 April, focusing on greenhouse gas inventories, V&A and RSO, abatement, and ETPA. These Working Groups considered new issues that have emerged since the last CGE workshop held in Panama in March 2001, relating to transfer of technology, capacity building, financial and technical support, and information and networking. The Working Groups prepared conclusions, which were presented in a plenary session on Thursday afternoon,11 April. Participants then discussed the draft revised guidelines for the preparation of national communications from non-Annex I Parties, concluding on Friday, 12 April. These discussions were closed, and are not included in this report. The conclusions from the workshop will be compiled by the UNFCCC Secretariat into an informational document to be considered by the UNFCCC subsidiary bodies at their next sessions in June 2002.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE UNFCCC AND THE CGE

Climate change is considered one of the most serious threats to the sustainability of the world's environment, human health and well-being, and the global economy. Mainstream scientists agree that the Earth's climate is being affected by the build-up of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, caused by human activities. A majority of scientists believe that prompt precautionary action is necessary.

UNFCCC: The international political response to climate change took shape with the development of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Adopted in 1992, the UNFCCC sets out a framework for action aimed at stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases at a level that would prevent human-induced actions from leading to "dangerous interference" with the climate system. The UNFCCC entered into force on 21 March 1994. It now has 186 Parties.

NATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS: The UNFCCC stipulated that Parties must report on the actions they take or are planning in order to implement the UNFCCC. Consistent with the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities," the content and timetable for submitting these reports – or "national communications" – varies depending on whether the country is an Annex I (developed or economy-in-transition) Party to the Convention or a non-Annex I (developing country) Party. Non-Annex I Parties have a more flexible timetable for preparing and submitting their national communications. Most non-Annex I Parties must submit their first national communications within three years of the Convention’s entry into force for that Party, although the least developed countries (LDCs) can make their initial communication "at their discretion." Non-Annex I Parties are also eligible for some financial and technical assistance from the Global Environment Facility (GEF). In addition, some other donors and agencies have assisted non-Annex I Parties in preparing their national communications.

Further work on non-Annex I Parties’ national communications was completed at the Second Conference of the Parties (COP-2), held in Geneva in July 1996. At COP-2 delegates agreed on the substance that should be contained in national communications, and set out guidelines for such communications (as contained in the Annex to decision 10/CP.2).

THE CONSULTATIVE GROUP OF EXPERTS (CGE): At COP-5, held in late 1999 in Bonn, Parties initiated a process to review the reporting guidelines agreed at COP-2 and to improve the preparation of non-Annex I national communications. To facilitate this process, the COP established a Consultative Group of Experts on national communications from non-Annex I Parties (CGE). The COP decided that the CGE should be composed of five experts from each of the developing country regions (Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean), six experts from Annex I Parties, and three experts from organizations with relevant experience. The CGE has met four times to date. In addition, three regional workshops have taken place, and a fourth, interregional workshop, was held in March 2001.

The work and mandate of the CGE and the process of reviewing the reporting guidelines have been taken up during recent meetings of the COP’s Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI), most recently during COP-7, held in late 2002 in Marrakech, Morocco. At COP-7, delegates agreed to continue the process of reviewing the guidelines in accordance with decision 8/CP.5, with a view to improving these guidelines at COP-8. They also agreed that the UNFCCC Secretariat should prepare some draft guidelines as well as background information on national communications from non-Annex I Parties submitted as of 31 December 2001, and that these should be considered during an intersessional workshop prior to SB-16, will take place in June 2002 (FCCC/CP/2001/L.20).

REPORT OF THE WORKSHOP

Martha Perdomo, Manager, Non-Annex I Implementation Sub-Programme, UNFCCC Secretariat, opened the workshop on Wednesday morning, 10 April. She welcomed participants and thanked the Netherlands, US, Switzerland, Germany as well as Uruguay for providing financial and other support necessary for the meeting to take place. She presented some background information on the development of the national communications process, noting that COP-2 had provided guidance for the more than 174 first and second national communications from non-Annex I countries submitted to date. She stressed that the process has been one of learning by doing, with the number of submissions growing from year to year. In this context, she noted that the first compilation and synthesis of non-Annex I Parties’ national communications prepared by the UNFCCC Secretariat had comprised 10 submissions, whereas the fourth compilation currently underway will include 85 submissions. She drew attention to the COP-7 decision mandating the organization of two workshops, and said the current workshop was the first of these.

CGE Chair Philip Weech (Bahamas) welcomed participants and stressed that the purpose of the workshop was to exchange experiences and information, including from the subregional and local levels. He highlighted the mandate of the CGE, as provided for in decision 8/ CP.5, which includes: exchanging experiences; considering the need for financial and technical resources; considering information in non-Annex I national communications; reviewing existing activities and programmes to support the preparation of national communications; identifying difficulties in the preparation of national communications; identifying analytical and methodological issues with a view to improving the quality of national communications; examining national communications with a view to overcoming difficulties in the use of methodologies and guidelines; and encouraging expert interaction.

CGE TASK GROUP REPORTS

On Wednesday, 10 April, participants heard presentations of the CGE task group reports on greenhouse gas inventories; vulnerability and adaptation assessment (V&A) and research and systematic observation (RSO); abatement; education, training and public awareness (ETPA); and crosscutting issues. These presentations focused on those national communications submitted following the Panama workshop in March 2001, and before 31 December 2001.

GREENHOUSE GAS INVENTORIES: Ayité-lo Ajavon (Togo), Coordinator of the CGE Task Group on greenhouse gas inventories, presented findings relating to inventories of emissions and removals from 26 of the newly-submitted national communications. On methodological issues, he said all Parties had followed the 1995 and the revised 1996 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Guidelines to compile their inventories, although some Parties had employed national methodologies for certain sectors. He observed that all Parties had presented emissions estimates for the three main gases (CO2, CH4, and N2O), and that some had also done so for the ozone precursors. Nearly all Parties had reported inventories in accordance with the UNFCCC Guidelines, and most had provided more information than requested. He indicated that uncertainty was addressed qualitatively by ten Parties, quantitatively by two, and both qualitatively and quantitatively by one Party.

On data acquisition, databases and networking, he noted that activity data was generally referenced. He noted that IPCC default emission factors were used, although Parties had indicated that these do not reflect national circumstances. He observed that some Parties had developed emission factors, which express emission quantity per unit of activity, for certain sectors to fit national circumstances. On institutional issues, Parties had identified a number of areas for improvement, including activity data and emission factors. Parties had also noted the need for financial and technical assistance to improve their inventories.

Ajavon then described the results compiled from newly-submitted national communications. For CO2, he said fuel combustion in the energy sector was the largest contributor reported. For CH4, agriculture and waste were the most significant sources of emissions, while for N2O, agriculture and fuel combustion were the primary contributors. He stressed that for most Parties, CO2 was the primary gas, with CH4 or N2O being most important in a few exceptional cases. He summarized the results by noting that energy, agriculture and land use change and forestry (LUCF) were the most important sources of greenhouse gas emissions, with removal by sinks from LUCF in most Parties offsetting emissions from these sectors.

VULNERABILITY AND ADAPTATION ASSESSMENT, AND RESEARCH AND SYSTEMATIC OBSERVATION: Isabelle Niang-Diop (Senegal), Coordinator of the CGE Task Group on V&A and RSO, reported on findings from the last 28 national communications submitted. She observed that the time-horizons of several scenarios were for 2020 and 2050, rather than for 2050 and 2100, noting that this might accommodate decision makers who are more interested in short-term horizons. She indicated that the number of sectors considered had increased to ten, including human settlements, which were considered as part of the coastal zone assessment. On adaptation, she noted that most countries had presented a list of adaptation options for two extreme and opposite scenarios, making it difficult to create an adaptation strategy. She said that constraints had not been reported extensively, but that these appeared to include limited data, availability of models, and funding. On needs, countries had identified: additional research; the expansion of studies within each sector; capacity building; technology transfer; better techniques for collecting and analyzing data; and the strengthening of institutions in charge of climate change issues. She concluded by observing that no progress had been made on integrated impact assessments, or in an-alysis, costing, and prioritization of adaptation options, and drew attention to serious concerns about potential damages linked to extreme events, in particular those relating to the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO).

Participants discussed the use of models, and the link between the experience gained in identifying adaptation measures and the design of LDC National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs). Delegates was noted that, for the purpose of NAPAs, little could be learned from the V&A part of the national communications process.

ABATEMENT: Lorraine Lotter (South Africa), Coordinator of the CGE Task Group on abatement, spoke on abatement reporting. She recalled that reporting on abatement options is voluntary and remarked such reporting has been limited. On methodological issues, she stressed that reporting guidelines are limited, but that abatement analysis should consider the potential social and environmental impacts along with economic consequences. On recent national communications, she said constraints curtailing reporting included lack of funding and technical expertise, inadequate institutions and the absence of public and political support. She suggested a balance be found between the voluntary nature of reporting on abatement options and the need for such reporting to attract potential investors in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC. She stressed that reporting can help prioritize potential projects, enhance the negotiating strength of Parties when engaging potential CDM partners, and increase public awareness.

In the ensuing discussion, Fiji remarked that creating greenhouse gas inventories is a constraint to reporting on abatement options, adding that linking abatement options reporting to CDM work would stimulate abatement options analysis in countries that have neglected it to date. Brazil and Kenya expressed concerns about such a linkage, while Switzerland remarked that a linkage could facilitate funding applications for second national communications.

EDUCATION, TRAINING AND PUBLIC AWARENESS: George Manful, Programme Officer, Implementation Programme, UNFCCC Secretariat, discussed education, training and networking. He remarked that reporting on this issue was varied and that drawing a distinction between ongoing activities and those that are yet to be implemented is difficult. On education, he noted some success in integrating climate change issues into educational programmes, particularly at the university level. On training, he remarked that training scientific, technical, and managerial personnel is critical to implementing the UNFCCC, but that the focus and magnitude of existing training programmes is unclear. He explained that training activities were an important part of preparing national communications, and that training a critical mass of experts would give Parties the capacity to initiate climate change projects. He noted the need for more financial support.

In the ensuing discussion, one delegate suggested that a universal set of education and training materials be created and translated into various national languages. Participants agreed that such materials could be useful if adapted to address national circumstances.

CROSS-CUTTING ISSUES: Brian Challenger (Antigua and Barbuda), Coordinator of the CGE Task Group on cross-cutting issues, spoke on the issues of information and networking, and financial and technical support. He said networking at the national level often takes place through national climate change coordinating committees composed of various actors including government, the private sector, NGOs and scientific institutions. He also provided examples of regional and subregional networking. On financial and technical support, he described his analysis of recently submitted national communications, noting that one constraint appeared to be the lack of a template for presenting countries’ needs. He explained that most countries had identified capacity building as a priority, and that sustainable energy production and adaptation had emerged as significant needs. He supported creating a template for reporting of needs and constraints in terms of financial and technical support in order to enhance consistency, transparency and comparability.

In the ensuing discussion, speakers noted that good examples with regard to cross-cutting issues can be identified within the national communications submitted, but that guidance should not be too prescriptive, given that each country’s unique situations and circumstances.

PRESENTATION AND DISCUSSION OF PROBLEMS AND CONSTRAINTS

On Wednesday, 10 April, participants considered reports by a number of countries on their experiences in preparing national communications, focusing on problems and constraints.

ALBANIA: Ermira Fida, National Coordinator for Climate Change Enabling Activity, Climate Change Unit, Albanian Ministry of Environment, presented on the first national communication of Albania, which is now in its final drafting stage. Regarding the greenhouse gas inventory, she noted weaknesses such as the lack of cooperation between institutions and the lack of legal obligations for reporting, leading to problems in accessing data without a fee. She drew attention to problems with the UNDP/GEF National Execution (NEX) project structure, which she described as inflexible. She also highlighted various technical problems, including a lack of disaggregated data and uncertain or fragmented data in some sectors such as transport and LUCF. A lack of trained experts and individuals with previous experience also presented a serious challenge. In addition, Fida noted similar problems with regard to the abatement analysis, stressing the lack of scenarios, guidelines and models. On vulnerability assessment, she drew attention to a lack of regular monitoring, and difficulties in developing baseline scenarios due to unreliable data prior to 1990. She said better software was necessary to assist, inter alia, in simulating extreme events and in developing socioeconomic scenarios. On ETPA, she indicated that awareness is low in Albania, and said this represents a constraint. In response to a question from the Netherlands, she said the Albanian national adaptation programme of action is submitted as part of the national communication, and is also integrated in the national sustainable development plan.

BRAZIL: In his presentation, Jose Miguez, Coordinator on Global Change, Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology, addressed the issue of project management during the preparation of the national communication of Brazil from the perspective of the project coordinator. He underscored a variety of elements required for success, including keeping the project on schedule and within a budget, and ensuring high quality of the end project. On meeting project deadlines, he noted delays in initiating the project due to disagreements with the GEF, among other factors. On the budget, he underscored that funding from the GEF had been half the amount requested, and that additional funding had come from national entities. He stressed the need for specific emission factors, for instance for sugar cane ethanol used as fuel, cattle nourished on different types of feed, and for the 200 different forest types in Brazil. He said obtaining activity data from private companies was difficult. He also noted that social and economic development and poverty eradication are priorities in Brazil, not climate change. On project control, he outlined problems with contracts, difficulty with communication among participants, and a lack of financial resources, authority, and alternatives. He explained that the three different clients, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the UNFCCC, and UNDP/GEF had different expectations with regard to the end product.

On current status, he said Brazil employed a multi-institutional, multi-stakeholder team spanning 100 institutions and 500 professionals, and indicated that the national communication will be submitted during 2002.

FIJI: Mahendra Kumar, Associate Professor of Physics, School of Pure & Applied Sciences at the University of the South Pacific, remarked on the problems and constraints Fiji is encountering while preparing its first national communication. On institutional constraints, he explained that awareness among decision makers is weak, guidance from outside experts is limited and support for the national climate change coordinator is insufficient. On human resource constraints, he noted a lack of qualified personnel, inadequate training opportunities, and high turnover. On financial constraints, he remarked on insufficient funds for hiring external consultants and for providing a financial incentive for climate change team members to complete their work. He said technical constraints include lack of data or access to data, and lack of appropriate methodology for V&A. Problems unique to Fiji include the year-long political crisis that began in May 2000, the bureaucracy’s lengthy approval process for hiring outside consultants, the low status of the climate change coordinator within the bureaucracy, and the government’s treatment of climate change as a stand-alone issue.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Gwendoline Sissiou, Climate Change Coordinator, Greenhouse Unit, Papua New Guinea Office of Environment and Conservation, described the preparation of the initial national communication, which was the first project supported by UNDP/GEF NEX. She identified the institutional arrangement as a constraint, including lack of clarity over the roles of, and cooperation between, the executing agency, the implementing agency, and UNDP. She also suggested that the arrangement had hindered the use of available trained personnel and experts outside the government, and said the national technical committee members were not paid, and were therefore not willing to work. She also observed that climate change was not regarded as a government priority and that awareness was low.

On technical constraints, she identified a lack of adequate data and problems related to accessing data. She also drew attention to a lack of resources, methods and tools for V&A, as well as for RSO. On mitigation, she highlighted the lack of information on emission factors and mitigation options, and said awareness with regard to climate change was low among government officials as well as the general public. She concluded by noting that, due to the institutional constraints in the project, more emphasis should be placed on subcontracting experts, and expressed the hope that work would improve as awareness increases. She also suggested that improved working relations between the government and UNDP would be of value.

IRAN: Mohammad Soltanich, National Project Manager, Iranian Climate Change Office, presented on problems and constraints related to preparing Iran’s initial national communication. On institutional arrangements, he highlighted that government and non-governmental groups had had no prior experience with such work, and that the orientation process took some time. He indicated that the work involved eight ministries, the Department of Environment, research and educational institutions and the country’s meteorology agency. He noted that the project was difficult to manage, since it involved 50 people. He outlined problems with coordination and said the collection of activity data had been difficult because most of the necessary information was not part of national statistics. He stressed that environmental impact assessments, required by law in Iran for all projects, could also provide an opportunity for carrying out climate change assessments, a concept with which most policy-makers are unfamiliar.

On technical problems and constraints related to preparing national inventories, he noted the many inconsistencies and contradictions in the activity data, and the lack of national emission factors as two constraints. On V&A, he underscored good studies on water resources in Iran.

Regarding abatement options, he informed delegates that climate change was not a concern in national development plans, but that some plans were consistent with recommendations on climate change actions. On education, training, and public awareness, he said organizing workshops had been time-consuming. He drew attention to a lack of formal education on climate change in Iran, noting that only limited research projects have been carried out on climate change science, mitigation, and V&A. He suggested a regional research and educational center be established in the Middle East. On availability of resources, he outlined problems with equipment and logistics, lack of human resources, problems with timely payment of salaries, and access to international experts. He concluded by noting that Iran is prepared to submit its national communication, and has received GEF top-up funds to continue into phase two of the project.

SOUTH AFRICA: Lorraine Lotter, Executive Director, Chemical & Allied Industries Association, South Africa, spoke on the difficulties South Africa encountered while preparing its national communication. The problems and constraints included slow funding approval from GEF, poor accessibility of relevant information, lack of prioritization of climate change issues, inadequate coordination among government departments, lack of specific climate change expertise, and reluctance among individuals to submit poor quality data. She identified several strategies undertaken to overcome these difficulties, including increasing the political commitment to climate change, improving government coordination, linking climate change to sustainable development, extending existing expertise in fields relevant to climate change, and allowing for a review of the draft communication by all government departments. She remarked that government departments and the National Committee on Climate Change, a multi-stakeholder group, have reviewed and approved the final draft of the national communication, and that it will be submitted shortly. She noted that current initiatives following on from preparing the national communication include using the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) to raise awareness, and drafting a CDM investment strategy and a climate change response strategy.

PARAGUAY: Lilian Portillo, Director, Climate Change Programme, Environment Secretariat of Paraguay, described the experiences and institutional arrangements for dealing with climate change in Paraguay. Noting that the country had just submitted its national communication, she provided a brief overview of problems and constraints. She indicated that on a technical level, the country lacked reliable data and data accessibility, and that insufficient data existed to enable an evaluation of different emissions scenarios. She stressed the need for deeper study in sectors such as forestry, agriculture and human settlements, and suggested that there was not enough political support for climate change work and that the political climate was unstable. She drew attention to a lack of stakeholder involvement and insufficient funding for analysis in areas including water resources and vulnerable ecosystems. She highlighted the lack of coordination between institutions and the absence of clearly defined roles, leading to overlaps and unnecessary competition for resources. She concluded by calling for: better coordination between institutions to optimize the use of resources and capacities; continuity of initiatives regardless of political changes; evaluation of the national climate change initiatives; and development of a national compliance and enforcement programme.

WORKING GROUP SESSIONS

Participants attending the CGE workshop divided into four Working Groups on the afternoon of Wednesday, 10 April, and continued to work in these groups throughout Thursday morning, 11 April, reconvening in Plenary on Thursday afternoon. In his introduction to the Working Group sessions, CGE Chair Philip Weech said each Working Group would be coordinated by a CGE member and facilitated by the Secretariat, and indicated that each group should also select a rapporteur. He said the Working Groups would consider the CGE group reports from the Panama workshop, as well as the third compilation and synthesis report of non-Annex I national communications, in order to make a judgment as to whether the conclusions of the Panama report remained valid in light of the experience gained. He also suggested that the groups take up the matter of difficulties and constraints. He said the results of these discussions would be noted by the rapporteurs and produced as an informational document for the next session of the UNFCCC subsidiary bodies, in June 2002.

GREENHOUSE GAS INVENTORIES WORKING GROUP: Ayité-lo Ajavon (Togo) chaired the Working Group on greenhouse gas inventories. The Working Group considered conclusions from the Panama workshop, relating to:

  • institutional issues – preparation and reporting of inventories;

     

  • technical issues – collection of activity data and development of local and/or regional emissions factors;

     

  • methodological issues – revised 1996 IPCC Guidelines;

     

  • use of the UNFCCC Guidelines;

     

  • financial and technological needs and constraints; and

     

  • recommendations relating to all of the above.

In their consideration of the conclusions of the Panama workshop, delegates took into account analyses of greenhouse gas inventories based on non-Annex I national communications since the Panama workshop, prepared by the Secretariat in the form of matrices displaying different issues contained in the reports on a country-by-country basis to allow inter-country comparison, as well as the presentations they heard earlier in the day.

Providing general comments, the UNFCCC Secretariat and others noted that there was little contained in the new national communications that would contradict the conclusions from the Panama workshop, although more detail could be added from these new reports. Brazil stressed that the situation in each country is unique and cautioned against making very specific recommendations, while Chair Ajavon called for flexibility and a contextual understanding of the needs of different countries. Many delegates urged a substantive discussion rather than a focus on textual details.

On institutional issues relating to the preparation and reporting of inventories, some delegates supported defining the resources countries need in order to collect the necessary activity data for estimating greenhouse gas emissions, stressing that these resources are human, technical and financial.

On technical details relating to the collection of activity data and development of local and/or regional emission factors, Iran called for more information on the source and method of calculation of the IPCC emission factors to allow countries to evaluate the certainty and appropriateness of the default figures. Ghana pointed to deviations between developed and developing countries in terms of typical emission factors and called for the development of emission factors more appropriate to national circumstances in non-Annex I countries. The IPCC cautioned that information additional to that already provided would be difficult to produce, but said it is doing what it can to improve the figures. Chair Ajavon said that as the emission factors always contain a degree of uncertainty it is better to use national or regional rather than default figures where possible. Chile supported adding reference to country-specific issues, such as the need for data on the fishing industry in Peru or steppe fires in Mongolia.

On recommendations under this topic, the IPCC clarified that developing a database on emission factors, as recommended at the Panama workshop, referred to an IPCC database. He noted that only one such database currently exists, but said the intention was to regionalize it at a later date. Iran and others called for a recommendation for regional projects to develop regional emission factors that are technology specific. China emphasized that activity data cannot be required when countries do not have the capacity for producing it. Brazil noted that it is up to each country to define the extent of its capacity in this regard, and said this should not be externally imposed.

On methodological issues relating to the revised 1996 IPCC Guidelines, delegates proposed including new examples drawn from the national communications submitted since the Panama workshop. However, they indicated that in all other respects, the Panama workshop conclusions could be considered still valid. Regarding methodological issues related to the energy sector in non-Annex I countries, Iran proposed adding "coal" to "gas and oil" in a comment noting that specific conditions of fugitive methane emissions are not taken into account in the IPCC Guidelines. He also proposed reference to both "hot and cold flaring" rather than just flaring. Uruguay said it should be noted that not all countries use both the sectoral and default approaches, and that even if they do, some do not compare them. In response to a comment from Colombia, the UNFCCC Secretariat noted that the IPCC is currently working to improve the Guidelines with regard to the forestry and land use sector. Some delegates shared their experiences with the use of the guidelines in this sector. The Secretariat proposed that a paragraph should be added on encouraging Parties to develop methods for specific sectors and industries for inclusion in the next revision of the IPCC Guidelines for preparing inventories.

On the use of the UNFCCC Guidelines for preparing national communications, the Secretariat noted that the analysis of their use would have to be updated to include the national communications submitted since the Panama workshop. He said, however, that he did not foresee any substantive changes to the Panama conclusions. Ghana asked that there be more elaboration on when Parties should use the "not available" and "not obtainable" notation keys when preparing their national communications.

V&A AND RSO WORKING GROUP: This working group was chaired by coordinator Isabelle Niang-Diop (Senegal). After initial discussion on the relevant documents, participants agreed to work from the recommendations on V&A and RSO outlined in the report of the Panama workshop (FCCC/SBI/2001/INF.1), adding new recommendations and adjusting existing ones. On Wednesday afternoon, each participant was asked to provide comments on the presentations heard earlier in the day, as well as to raise particular points for any further recommendations. Delegates highlighted the lack of models adapted to national circumstances, particularly for water resources, and difficulty in using the MAGICC/SCENGEN scenario software. Countries noted institutional and bureaucratic problems with executing and funding agencies, including:

  • limited funding;

     

  • differing approaches between UNFCCC and GEF;

     

  • difficulty of communication between governments and UNDP;

     

  • lack of communication between UNDP as executing agency and GEF as funding agency;

     

  • competitive initiatives between the World Bank and the GEF; and

     

  • lack of understanding of the topic of climate change within the UNDP country office.

Change of national government, internal political problems, and lack of support or understanding of climate change by the government were also noted as constraints.

Participants observed that lack of national capacity left assessments deficient, and asked whether international consultants, or time and effort spent on building local capacity, should be used. Related to this, participants said training centers on V&A should be strengthened or, where they did not exist and were necessary, established. Delegates also noted that institutional problems between implementing agencies and governments leading to delays often resulted in less time for training of local staff, and a tendency to hire international experts.

In other comments, the weakness of the adaptation sections was attributed to problems with the methodology for identifying adaptation measures, and the importance of identifying no-regret adaptation measures was stressed. Discussants also noted that extreme events and impacts linked to El Niño and other climatic phenomena deserved greater attention in the context of climate variability as a result of climate change.

On Thursday morning, participants reconvened in the working group, identifying recommendations for each of the following: institutional arrangements; education, training and research; technical issues; research and systematic observation; methodological issues; and financial and technological needs and constraints.

On institutional arrangements, Morocco stressed that focal points should not only be considered as one person, but rather as an institution. Colombia and Belize agreed that if the focal point is an institution, the likelihood of permanence is greater. Discussants noted that there are several types of focal points in each country, including political focal points, technical focal points, national communication focal points, as well as IPCC focal points and GEF focal points.

On education, training and research, Belize said the experiences of preparing the first national communications should be shared among similar countries to facilitate the preparation of the second national communications. Regarding courses on V&A, Malaysia questioned their practicality. Participants agreed that introducing concepts and skills within existing curricula would ensure capacity building. Fiji said that regional or subregional centers for training would be more practical and require training fewer instructors.

On technical issues, participants addressed the use and challenges of providing a baseline scenario assuming no climate change, in addition to the scenario assuming climate change, noting that the comparison would indicate impacts of climate change. It was stressed that distinguishing climate change from other environmental changes is very difficult, and that in many countries the baseline is already affected by climate change. Limited understanding of climate change and climate variability and the difference between these also contributed to making this task difficult, as did lack of data.

On research and systematic observation, Belize recommended encouraging the use and identification of climate change indicators, such as coral reefs. Development of models and research addressing ENSO, and communication of such research to groups working on climate change was noted.

On methodological issues, Chair Niang-Diop suggested that adaptation options were not well addressed, and that this is a weakness of national communications. She raised questions of how to address adaptation strategies, how best to cost the options, and how to integrate these into national development strategies. Colombia asked whether participants felt that the methodological tools for assessing adaptation, such as the IPCC guidelines or UNEP handbook, were sufficient. The Netherlands suggested that fewer tools would make the work easier, referring to work in the LDC Expert Group where this approach is being taken for the development of NAPAs. He said the constraint was not the number of tools, but rather the lack of capacity to apply them. Discussants stressed the importance of socioeconomic scenarios for identifying adaptation options, and recalled that no-regrets adaptation options are the priority.

In discussing financial and technological needs and constraints, Colombia stressed that the amount of funding provided by the GEF for preparing national communications was inadequate, and said her country had invested national funds totaling more than this amount to implement V&A. Bilateral or multilateral agencies were suggested as alternative funders for such work. The Secretariat noted that in providing additional guidance to the GEF, COP-7 had included a provision for strengthening vulnerable countries in Stage I adaptation activities, and that this could be used to carry out further V&A studies (decision 6/CP.7). Several other initiatives providing countries with opportunities to carry out additional V&A studies, beyond the framework of the national communications, were noted, including the UNEP/GEF Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel to the GEF (STAP) and other GEF initiatives.

Participants also addressed the role of the national communications in providing input for Stage II and III adaptation activities. Stage I activities include the preparation of national communications, while Stage II activities identify priorities, and Stage III activities involve the implementation of adaptation measures. It was agreed that national communications identify desirable adaptation options, and in some cases may provide funders with concrete lists of activities that can be implemented. The US questioned the relationship between national communications and implementation of actual projects under the framework of Stage III. Colombia said national communications can promote funding from sources besides the GEF. The Netherlands added that the exercise of preparing a national communication implies a later move toward Stages II and III. Morocco stressed that the V&A process should be continuous, but said that within the framework of the GEF funding for such projects was not possible, for instance for studying V&A of coastal zones and fisheries. The US asked how the national communications process could be broadened to include such additional studies. Participants observed that the funds could be partitioned among the different sections of the national communications at the prerogative of the country, but that the exercise of creating a greenhouse gas inventory was generally very costly, and V&A was consequently underfunded. Participants agreed to recommend that funding should be increased to allow for more comprehensive V&A studies.

ABATEMENT WORKING GROUP: Editor’s Note: This Working Group met in parallel with the other three groups. For reasons of resource limitations, the discussions were not covered by the Earth Negotiations Bulletin. However, the conclusions reached by this group are reported in the section on Working Group conclusions.

EDUCATION, TRAINING AND PUBLIC AWARENESS (ETPA) WORKING GROUP: Brian Challenger (Antigua and Barbuda) chaired the ETPA Working Group. The Group discussed: the difficulties in interpreting the information provided in national communications; the education, training and public awareness needed for preparing national communications; the need to foster interdisciplinary educational programmes; general training issues; and how public awareness programmes should target key decision-makers and place climate change in the context of other environmental challenges. The Group was guided by the recent CGE report (FCCC/SBI/2001/15), including information and analyses of non-Annex I communications and recommendations for the future, information provided in recent national communications, and the presentation on ETPA from Wednesday morning.

On interpreting national communications, the Secretariat, with Chair Challenger and Switzerland, noted that Parties often fail to distinguish between ongoing and planned programmes, between general environmental awareness and specific awareness of climate change, and between educating the general public and training key decision-makers.

On preparing national communications, Switzerland, with the Secretariat, characterized a lack of education, training and public awareness as a major impediment to preparing national communications. The Secretariat noted that public awareness helps national coordinators who are preparing national communications to garner political and technical support. Chair Challenger remarked that continuing these programmes after a national communication has been completed will facilitate the preparation of future national communications.

On education, the Secretariat observed that some national communications had emphasized a lack of interdisciplinary input into discussions on environmental issues. The Cook Islands stated that this can lead to a lack of coordination among government departments because officials fail to recognize the range of issues related to climate change. The Secretariat noted that a number of countries had stressed the need to improve institutional cooperation between the universities and other research institutions in teaching on climate change.

On training, the Secretariat, with Switzerland, noted that several Parties had stressed the importance of keeping policy makers up-to-date with the latest information on climate change. Chair Challenger highlighted that international meetings can be used to train government officials. The Cook Islands stressed that international meetings are particularly important for training officials from States without universities or other institutions that provide guidance on writing national communications. Chair Challenger remarked on the difficulty of training a critical mass of experts to guide the process of preparing national communications. Georgia said that while some EIT countries have a critical mass of experts, they are unable to finance participation of experts in the climate change process. Switzerland stated that linking training programmes to specific climate change projects could enhance their effectiveness.

On public awareness programmes, Chair Challenger noted that some countries have emphasized community level awareness. Switzerland observed that in many cases sensitization training of a small portion of the population is sufficient. Chair Challenger also suggested that training key decision-makers properly requires sound scientific understanding of the implications climate change has for different sectors, and that this scientific understanding is lacking in non-Annex I Parties. The Secretariat emphasized the need to build climate change concerns into the mandates of existing institutions so that these concerns are reflected in their activities. Swaziland, with the Cook Islands and Chair Challenger, stated that information on climate change should be promoted as part of a larger package of environmental and sustainable development concerns.

WORKING GROUP SESSION CONCLUSIONS

Workshop participants met in a closing plenary session on Thursday afternoon, 11 April, to hear reports on the conclusions of the four working groups.

GREENHOUSE GAS INVENTORIES: Philip Acquah, rapporteur from the group on national inventories, presented the results of the discussions in his group. He said the group had considered the conclusions from the Panama workshop paragraph-by-paragraph. On institutional issues for the preparation and reporting of inventories, the group had decided to clarify the mutual reinforcement between the preparation of inventories and national sustainable development plans, and had noted that the GEF has funded only two regional projects aimed at improving non-Annex I countries’ capacities with regard to developing activity data and local and regional emission factors. The group added a recommendation that technical coordinators with a clear mandate and resources for performing their functions should be designated for the preparation of greenhouse gas inventories. This recommendation was based on the presentations describing the difficulties experienced with the UNDP/GEF NEX projects.

On technical and methodological issues related to the collection of activity data and development of local and/or regional emission factors, Acquah said the group had noted the need to strengthen data collection and the use of national expertise to develop projects for relevant country specific data.

On financial and technological needs and constraints, he presented the group’s proposal that support should be provided for further UNDP/GEF regional and subregional projects aimed at improving countries’ ability to choose, process and archive activity data, and at developing local and regional emission factors, as appropriate.

In the ensuing discussion, Chile added that data collection should be enhanced for country-specific sectors such as the fish processing industry in Peru and the sugar cane industry in Cuba. Belize stressed the importance of developing emission factors for small aircraft, which would be worldwide rather than country specific. The US supported the idea of developing unique country specific source categories using national expertise and then publishing the methodology for inclusion in the IPCC database. Malaysia stressed that non-Annex I countries should not be burdened with new commitments, as in the case of explaining the gaps between the use of sectoral and reference approaches for estimating emissions.

V&A AND RSO: Mahendra Kumar (Fiji), speaking as rapporteur of this Working Group, outlined the recommendations identified by the group. He noted the institutional difficulties affecting the preparation and completion of the V&A reports, highlighting participants’ suggestions that these difficulties were relevant to the entire national communication process, and their agreement of the need to include text on this in the chapeau of the document, so as to address all sections of the national communications. Regarding institutional arrangements, he explained that the group had recommended greater efficiency by the focal point, and had argued that the focal point should be seen as an institution rather than an individual. On education, training, and research, he said the group had recommended encouraging organizations to provide additional methodologies for impact assessments and/ or for studies on coastal zones, fisheries, human settlements, desertification, forestry and other ecosystems. He also noted the recommendation to share experiences between countries with similar national circumstances. On technical issues, he noted the discussion in the group addressing the difficulty in noting distinction in national communications between impacts from climate change and impacts from other forces, and the recommendation that countries provide more detailed baseline scenarios.

On RSO, he highlighted the need for: particular attention to be given to monitoring climate change indicators; the development of national research on climate change, including scenarios, modeling, socioeconomic and integrated assessments, and impacts of climate change on large scale oceanographic circulation like ENSO and extreme events; and better communication and information from the research community. On methodological issues, he underscored the discussion on providing a description of scenarios with and without climate change. He noted that socioeconomic scenarios are useful if linked to climate change scenarios. He said the group had agreed that systematic formulation of adaptation is often lacking, without cost-estimation and cost-efficiency analysis. Similarly, there is a need for better tools to formulate adaptation strategies, and emphasis should be given to no-regret options. In conclusion, on financial and technological needs and constraints, he noted that the level of funding for national communications needs to be increased significantly to allow for more comprehensive V&A studies. This includes funding for pilot and/or demonstration projects, as well as actual projects.

ABATEMENT: Vute Wangwacharakul (Thailand), who chaired this working group, presented the issues and problems and recommendations from the group. He highlighted participants’ comments that issues and problems included the lack of distinction made between the supply- and demand-side options in the energy sector. He also noted statements that institutional factors and lack of project management were serious constraints.

He outlined various recommendations, including that Parties should be encouraged to consider linkages between inventories and possible abatement options. He highlighted proposals that baselines should be constructed, and that guidelines should include advice to report on the status of options. In addition, he drew attention to the group’s recommendation that implementing agencies should include appropriate sequencing of activities, and that local implementing agencies should be able to provide technical support. Finally, he noted support for cross-sectoral coordination among sectors in the identification of abatement options, since this is practical for attracting funding.

On financial and technological needs and constraints, he indicated that these should be incorporated into the implementation of the relevant COP-7 decisions. He reported the group’s recommendation that the CGE evaluate the TTClear website (technology transfer information clearinghouse website), and asked Parties to provide feedback on it. He noted concern regarding the discontinuation of the UNDP/GEF National Communications Support Programme (NCSP), and recommended an alternative programme. Finally, he recommended speedy implementation of the additional guidance on financial resources to the financial entity, as well as the special climate change fund addressing energy, transport, industry, agriculture, forestry and waste management.

The Secretariat noted that no official confirmation of the discontinuation of the NCSP has been given, and said that many decisions from COP-7 included reference to such an entity, implying that it may resurface in some form.

EDUCATION, TRAINING AND PUBLIC AWARENESS: Diane McFadzien (Cook Islands), ETPA Working Group rapporteur, presented the group’s draft recommendations. These included providing financial and technical support for the following activities:

  • integrating climate change into environmental and sustainable development education initiatives, in both formal and non-formal education systems and at all levels;

     

  • increasing environmental awareness among stakeholders involved in preparing national sustainable development and environmental plans;

     

  • increasing the awareness of climate change issues among decision makers involved in preparing national communications; and

     

  • providing targeted training to policy and decision makers so that they may appreciate the relevance of climate change to the effective implementation of policies and programmes across all sectors of society.

CLOSING REMARKS: Following the presentations from the working groups, CGE Chair Weech drew the workshop to a close at 5:40 pm, thanking participants for their hard work and applauding the success of the workshop.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR BEFORE COP-8

THE BEIJING FORUM FOR NEW AND EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: This Forum is scheduled to take place from 15-17 April 2002, in Beijing, China. The purpose of the meeting is to promote the role of business-science partnership in utilizing new and emerging technologies for sustainable development. For more information, contact: UN DESA; tel: +1-212-963-8798; e-mail: makk@un.org; Internet: http://www.johannesburgsummit.org/html/calendar/meeting.docs/beijing.pdf

ASIA BIO-FUELS 2002 CONFERENCE: This meeting will be held from 22-23 April 2002, in Singapore. It will address the development of bio-fuels projects in Asia, including case studies, analysis of the economic and social benefits from bio-fuels application, and evaluation of technology options for fast track project implementation. For more information, contact: Juliana Lim; tel: +65-732-1970; fax: +65-733-5087; e-mail: juliana.lim@ibcasia.com.sg; Internet: http://www.ibc-asia.com/biofuels.htm

UPCOMING CLIMATE CHANGE WORKSHOPS: A number of climate change workshops will be held prior to the 16th session of the UNFCCC subsidiary bodies. These include the following:

  • Expert meeting on methodologies for technology needs assessments, Seoul, Republic of Korea, 23 - 25 April 2002;

     

  • Workshop on the status of modelling activities to assess the adverse effects of climate change and impacts of response measures, Bonn, Germany, 16 - 18 May 2002;

     

  • Workshop on cleaner or less greenhouse gas-emitting energy, Whistler, Canada, 7 - 8 May 2002;

     

  • Workshop to develop a work programme on activities related to Article 6 of the Convention, (Date and venue to be confirmed);

     

  • Pre-sessional consultations on registries, Bonn, Germany, 2 - 3 June 2002; and

     

  • Pre-sessional workshop on the draft revised uniform reporting format for activities implemented jointly, Bonn, Germany, 2 - 3 June 2002.

For more information, contact: UNFCCC Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-1000; fax: +49-228-815-1999; e-mail: secretariat@unfccc.int; Internet: http://www.unfccc.int

CONFERENCE ON EU AND GERMAN CLIMATE POLICY - CHALLENGES BEFORE THE ENTRY INTO FORCE OF THE KYOTO PROTOCOL: This meeting will be held from 6-8 May 2002, in Hamburg, Germany. Organized by the Hamburg Institute of International Economics, the conference will focus on the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol in the EU, challenges with regard to EU national climate strategies, internal EU emissions trading, integration of EU accession countries, the role of the Kyoto mechanisms, and EU strategies for achieving entry into force. For more information, contact: Axel Michaelowa, Hamburg Institute of International Economics; tel: +49-404-283-4309; fax: +49-404-283-4451; e-mail: michaelowa@hwwa.de; Internet: http://www.hwwa.de/climate.htm

CONFERENCE AND WORKSHOP ON CLIMATE VARIABILITY AND CHANGE AND THEIR HEALTH EFFECTS IN THE CARIBBEAN: This conference will take place from 21-25 May 2002. in Bridgetown, Barbados. The conference is being sponsored by the Pan-American Health Organization and the WHO under the auspices of the Interagency Network on Climate and Human Health. Participants will consider climate variability and climate change, linkages between climate and human health, and public health policies and strategies for adaptation to climate variability and change. For more information, contact the Pan-American Health Organization, tel: +1-(246) 426-3860; fax: +1-(246) 436-9779; e-mail: cpcadmin@cpc.paho.org; Internet: http://www.cpc.paho.org

FOURTH SESSION OF THE PREPARATORY COMMITTEE FOR THE WSSD: PrepCom IV will take place from 24 May - 7 June 2002, in Bali, Indonesia. Regional group consultations are scheduled for 24 May and informal-informals for 25-26 May. PrepCom IV will also include Multi-Stakeholder Dialogues and a Ministerial Segment, and is expected to complete the document on review of Agenda 21, with recommendations for further action, and develop a concise political document, to be submitted to the WSSD. For more information, contact: Mr. Andrey Vasilyev, DESA; tel: +1-212-963-5949; fax: +1-212-963-4260; e-mail: vasilyev@un.org; Major groups contact: Ms. Zehra Aydin-Sipos, DESA; tel: +1-212-963-8811; fax: +1-212-963-1267; e-mail: aydin@un.org; Internet: http://www.johannesburgsummit.org/

16TH SESSION OF THE UNFCCC SUBSIDIARY BODIES: SB-16 will take place in Bonn, Germany, from 3-14 June 2002. For more information, contact: UNFCCC Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-1000; fax: +49-228-815-1999; e-mail: secretariat@unfccc.int; Internet: http://www.unfccc.int

WORLD SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: The World Summit on Sustainable Development will take place from 26 August - 4 September 2002, in Johannesburg, South Africa. For more information, contact: Mr. Andrey Vasilyev, DESA; tel: +1-212-963-5949; fax: +1-212-963-4260; e-mail: vasilyev@un.org; Major groups contact: Ms. Zehra Aydin-Sipos, DESA; tel: +1-212-963-8811; fax: +1-212-963-1267; e-mail: aydin@un.org; Internet: http://www.johannesburgsummit.org/

EIGHTH CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE UNFCCC: COP-8 is scheduled to take place from 23 October - 1 November 2002, in New Delhi, India. For more information contact: UNFCCC Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-1000; fax: +49-228-815-1999; e-mail: secretariat@unfccc.int; Internet: http://www.unfccc.int/

This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin � enb@iisd.org is written and edited by Michael Lisowski michael@iisd.org, Lisa Schipper lisa@iisd.org and Malena Sell malena@iisd.org. This issue has been edited by Chris Spence chris@iisd.org. The Editor is Pamela S. Chasek, Ph.D. pam@iisd.org and the Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James "Kimo" Goree VI kimo@iisd.org. The Operations Manager is Marcela Rojo marcela@iisd.org and the On-Line Assistant is Diego Noguera diego@iisd.org. The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Canada (through CIDA), the United States (through USAID), the Swiss Agency for Environment, Forests and Landscape (SAEFL), the United Kingdom (through the Department for International Development - DFID), the European Commission (DG-ENV), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Government of Germany (through German Federal Ministry of Environment - BMU, and the German Federal Ministry of Development Cooperation - BMZ). General Support for the Bulletin during 2002 is provided by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Environment of Finland, the Government of Australia, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Environment of Norway, Swan International, and the Japanese Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies � IGES). The Bulletin can be contacted by e-mail at enb@iisd.org and at tel: +1-212-644-0204; fax: +1-212-644-0206. IISD can be contacted by e-mail at info@iisd.ca and at 161 Portage Avenue East, 6th Floor, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0Y4, Canada. The opinions expressed in the Earth Negotiations Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD and other funders. Excerpts from the Earth Negotiations Bulletin may be used in non-commercial publications only and only with appropriate academic citation. For permission to use this material in commercial publications, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services. Electronic versions of the Bulletin are sent to e-mail distribution lists and can be found on the Linkages WWW server at http://www.iisd.ca. The satellite image was taken above New York �2002 The Living Earth, Inc. http://livingearth.com. For information on the Earth Negotiations Bulletin or to arrange coverage of a meeting, conference or workshop, send e-mail to the Director, IISD Reporting Services at kimo@iisd.org or call to +1-212-644-0217.

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