Earth Negotiations Bulletin

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Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

Vol. 12 No. 222
Tuesday, 2 December 2003

UNFCCC COP-9 HIGHLIGHTS:

MONDAY, 1 DECEMBER 2003

The Ninth Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP-9) and the Nineteenth Sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI-19) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA-19) opened on Monday, 1 December, in Milan, Italy. In the morning, delegates heard opening statements and addressed organizational matters in the COP Plenary. In the afternoon, the opening sessions of the SBI and SBSTA were held. Participants discussed organizational matters, the Third Assessment Report (TAR) of the IPCC, methodological issues and non-Annex I national communications. In the evening, Parties convened in contact groups on the IPCC TAR and non-Annex I national communications.

COP PLENARY

OPENING OF THE SESSION: COP-8 Vice-President Enele Sopoaga (Tuvalu) opened the session.

Speaking for COP-8 President T.R. Baalu, C. Viswanath, India’s Joint Secretary for Environment and Forests, called on Annex I Parties to take the lead in addressing the impacts of climate change, provide developing countries with financial and technological assistance, and rejected the introduction of commitments for developing countries.

Vice-President Sopoaga then introduced Miklós Persányi, Minister of Environment and Water, Hungary, who was elected COP-9 President by acclamation.

President Persányi highlighted efforts in developing countries to implement climate friendly production patterns. Although the Protocol has not yet entered into force, he said its ratification by numerous Parties demonstrates its importance.

Altero Matteoli, Italy’s Minister for the Environment and Territory, stressed that COP-9 provides an opportunity to identify new and stronger initiatives for combating climate change.

Roberto Formigoni, President of the Region of Lombardy, stressed the importance of regional action on climate change.

Gabriel Albertini, Mayor of Milan, said delegates must take long-term views of climate change, its impacts, and the well-being of future generations.

Luigi Cocchiaro, for the President of the Province of Milan, called for increasing implementation in the areas of transport and renewable energy.

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Joke Waller-Hunter said that, while the date of the Protocol’s entry into force remains uncertain, it is encouraging that this has not slowed the momentum for action. She emphasized the need to ensure that adequate resources are provided to meet programme delivery and implementation of COP decisions, and said it was essential that the budget discussions result in a realistic match of demand and supply.

ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: Adoption of the rules of procedure: The COP agreed to apply the draft Rules of Procedure, except for Rule 42 (voting). President Persányi noted that he would consult with Parties and report to COP-10 on adopting the Rules of Procedure in their entirety.

Adoption of the agenda: President Persányi presented the agenda for adoption (FCCC/CP/2003/1 and Add.1), noting that the COP-8 Bureau had recommended that the item on the second review of the adequacy of commitments under UNFCCC Article 4.2(a) and (b) be held in abeyance. SAUDI ARABIA, supported by OMAN and the EU, and opposed by CANADA, requested the exclusion of a Canadian proposal on modalities for the accounting of assigned amounts in relation to cleaner energy exports.

Parties adopted the agenda with the items on the second review of adequacy of commitments, the proposal by Canada on cleaner energy exports, and matters relating to Protocol Article 2.3 (adverse effects of policies and measures) held in abeyance. President Persányi agreed to consult with Parties on these items.

OPENING STATEMENTS: MOROCCO, for G-77/China, called on the Russian Federation to ratify the Protocol and for the US to "come back on board," and expressed concern about the low level of financial contributions to the Secretariat.

ZIMBABWE, on behalf of the Africa Group, said Annex I Parties have failed to assume leadership in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and lack political will to do so.

ITALY, for the EU, urged the US to take actions comparable to those that would have been expected from them under the Protocol.

TUVALU, for AOSIS, said the discussion on afforestation and reforestation under the CDM must maintain the social, environmental and economic integrity of the mechanism.

PAKISTAN said work at COP-9 must focus on capacity building, technology transfer, and the SCCF.

Highlighting the vulnerability of LDCs, TANZANIA, for the LDCs, stressed the need for the entry into force of the Protocol and constructive work on matters relating to technology transfer, capacity building and LDCs.

SBI

ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: Adoption of the agenda: SBI Chair Daniela Stoycheva (Bulgaria) opened the session, and introduced the agenda for adoption (FCCC/SBI/2003/ 9 and Corr.1). Regarding the sub-item on submission of second and third national communications, the G-77/CHINA objected to the reference to the "frequency of" submissions, and, with SAUDI ARABIA, stressed the importance of financial and technical support for preparing national communications before addressing the issue of their timing. Supporting the inclusion of the reference, the EU, with AUSTRALIA, noted that decision 17/CP.8 (guidelines for the preparation on non-Annex I national communications) refers to the "frequency of" submissions.

On the sub-item dealing with the consideration of the fifth compilation and synthesis of initial national communications, the G-77/CHINA, opposed by the US, objected to a document tabled by the Secretariat on steps taken by non-Annex I Parties to reduce emissions.

Following a break for informal consultations on the two sub-items, discussions continued in Plenary, with delegates agreeing to delete reference to the document, and to hold the sub-item on the frequency of submission in abeyance.

Delegates then discussed the agenda item addressing the implementation of UNFCCC Article 4.8 and 4.9 (adverse affects). The EU, with the US, emphasized the need to discuss the implementation of decision 5/CP.7 as a sub-item. The G-77/CHINA, and others, proposed that the agenda sub-item not be restricted to decision 5/CP.7, but address all matters related to Article 4.8. Following discussion, this sub-item was also held in abeyance, and the agenda was adopted, as amended.

NON-ANNEX I NATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS: Consideration of the fifth compilation and synthesis of initial national communications: The EU, supported by JAPAN, requested a detailed compilation and synthesis regarding all national communications to date.

Work of the CGE: The EU underlined the importance of maximum participation in workshops. The US stressed the need for transparent information, clear and realistic objectives, and an efficient and flexible programme.

Provision of financial and technical support: The EU encouraged Parties that have not initiated their national communications to make full use of GEF support.

SBI agreed to convene a contact group on national communications, chaired by S.N. Sok Appadu (Mauritius).

SBSTA

OPENING OF THE SESSION: SBSTA Chair Halldór Thorgeirsson (Iceland) opened the session, and delegates adopted the agenda (FCCC/SBSTA/2003/11). On election of officers other than the Chair, Chair Thorgeirsson said this would be considered in conjunction with the election of COP-9 Bureau members.

IPCC TAR: Introducing the Chair’s summary of the pre-sessional consultations, Chair Thorgeirsson said approaches to considering the new agenda items include: enhancing information exchange and experiences; identifying gaps in data and information; and providing policy-relevant analyses. He outlined solutions and opportunities in which adaptation and mitigation can contribute to sustainable development. MALAYSIA, for the G-77/ China, expressed hope that the new agenda items will not introduce new commitments for developing country Parties, and emphasized that SBSTA should not focus on long-term planning of adaptation and mitigation issues given the urgency of adaptation needs.

The EU said SBSTA should use a wide range of approaches and methodologies, including case-studies, technical papers, and workshops, and draw on activities being developed by stakeholders. JAPAN said the process should be based on a stepwise practical approach. NORWAY noted the level of convergence and optimism in the pre-sessional consultations and, with NEW ZEALAND, stressed the importance of keeping a balance between bottom-up and top-down approaches.

SAUDI ARABIA stressed that SBSTA not go beyond its mandate, and stay within the context of UNFCCC Article 4 (commitments). The US expressed concern over dividing the consideration of adaptation and mitigation into solutions and opportunities to contribute to sustainable development, and into long-term planning. SAUDI ARABIA expressed concern over taking a broad view of the issue. SBSTA agreed to convene a contact group on this issue.

METHODOLOGICAL ISSUES: Review of methodological work: AUSTRALIA noted the value of the synthesis of views on a future work programme on methodological work and, with the EU, stressed the need for a data interface. The US highlighted the need to prioritize important issues, and take into account capacity, expertise, and financial considerations. SBSTA agreed to convene a contact group to discuss these issues.

Greenhouse gas inventories: The IPCC outlined progress on the revision of the Revised 1996 Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) updated SBSTA on ICAO’s work on aviation emissions. ARGENTINA called for the identification of options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from civil aviation.

The EU noted the increase in emissions from international aviation and maritime transportation by 48% in the past ten years, and proposed that SBSTA work with ICAO to achieve further progress in this area. TUVALU urged a more proactive role than information gathering on emissions from aviation and maritime transportation and requested the Chair to initiate a process for mitigating emissions from this sector. JAPAN said revised methodologies should be used by all Parties, and stressed the importance of equity in this regard. AUSTRALIA encouraged SBSTA to support programmes for improving maritime and aviation emissions estimates, and supported a comparison of aviation fuel and emissions data with ICAO models.

Chair Thorgeirsson requested Helen Plume (New Zealand) to conduct informal consultations on the matter, and said the issue would be taken up by SBSTA on Tuesday, 9 December.

CONTACT GROUPS

IPCC TAR: The contact group, chaired by SBSTA Chair Thorgeirsson, met in the evening to discuss the overall task under the two agenda items, specific next steps for SBSTA-20, and a draft COP decision. The EU, opposed by SAUDI ARABIA, suggested developing a practical, longer-term work programme. CHINA and AUSTRALIA called for a focus on practical steps, and AUSTRALIA, with NORWAY, proposed convening round-tables at SBSTA-20. CANADA, the US and JAPAN, emphasized the importance of information exchange. NEW ZEALAND, supported by the G-77/CHINA, suggested establishing a clearing house. CANADA proposed developing a COP decision on the basis of the Chair�s Summary of the pre-sessional consultations. Chair Thorgeirsson said he would prepare draft SBSTA conclusions and a COP decision on the basis of Parties� suggestions.

NATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS: The group decided to request the CGE Chair to present the CGE work programme at the next contact group meeting on Wednesday, 3 December.

IN THE CORRIDORS

With the issue of the second commitment period simmering under the surface, the opening COP and SBI plenaries were full of lengthy discussions on issues likely to dominate the COP agenda over the next two weeks. As in the past, the inclusion of the second review of adequacy of commitments remains controversial, and the item was held in abeyance for the fifth year running. The adoption of the agenda in SBI took much longer, with discussions focusing on a Secretariat document that highlights mitigation measures by developing countries. One delegate observed that the insistence by developing countries to oppose the recognition of the document is ironic as it puts into question one of the reasons the US rejected the Protocol. Others suggested that the Secretariat�s document could have provided some "ammunition" to increase financial and technical assistance for developing countries, while reinforcing the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, and providing an opportunity for the US to come back on board.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY

SBSTA: The SBSTA will convene at 10:00 am in Plenary II and again at 3:00 pm in Plenary I.

SBI: The SBI will meet at 10:00 am in Plenary I and again at 3:00 pm in Plenary II.

CONTACT GROUPS: A contact group on methodological issues will meet from 6:00 to 8:00 pm in the Naples Room.   

This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin � enb@iisd.org is written and edited by Mar�a Guti�rrez maria@iisd.org, Dagmar Lohan, Ph.D. dagmar@iisd.org, Lisa Schipper lisa@iisd.org, Richard Sherman rsherman@iisd.org, and Hugh Wilkins hugh@iisd.org. The Digital Editor is Leslie Paas leslie@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 Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are the Government of the United States of America (through the Department of State Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs), the Government of Canada (through CIDA, DFAIT and Environment Canada), the Swiss Agency for Environment, Forests and Landscape (SAEFL), the United Kingdom (through the Department for International Development - DFID and Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs - DEFRA), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Government of Germany (through the German Federal Ministry of Environment - BMU, and the German Federal Ministry of Development Cooperation - BMZ). General Support for the Bulletin during 2003 is provided by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Government of Australia, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, Swan International, the Japanese Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies - IGES) the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (through the Global Industrial and Social Progress Research Institute - GISPRI). The opinions expressed in the Earth Negotiations Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD or other donors. Excerpts from the Earth Negotiations Bulletin may be used in non-commercial publications with appropriate academic citation. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at kimo@iisd.org, +1-212-644-0217 or 212 East 47th St. #21F, New York, NY 10017, USA.  

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