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.
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
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
Roberto Formigoni, President of the Region of
Lombardy, stressed the importance of regional action on climate
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
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.
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"
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).
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
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
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.
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 Chairï¿½s Summary of the pre-sessional consultations.
Chair Thorgeirsson said he would prepare draft SBSTA conclusions and
a COP decision on the basis of Partiesï¿½ 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 Secretariatï¿½s
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