Earth Negotiations Bulletin

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Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

Vol. 12 No. 230
Friday, 12 December 2003

UNFCCC COP-9 HIGHLIGHTS:

THURSDAY, 11 DECEMBER 2003

On Thursday, the second and third high-level round-table discussions took place. Ministers and heads of delegation addressed "technology, including technology use and development and transfer of technologies" and "assessment of progress at the national, regional and international levels to fulfill the promise and objective enshrined in the climate change agreements, including the scientific, information, policy and financial aspects." Consultations undertaken on behalf of COP-9 President Persányi on the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) continued throughout the day.

HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT

ROUND TABLE II – "TECHNOLOGY, INCLUDING TECHNOLOGY USE AND DEVELOPMENT AND TRANSFER OF TECHNOLOGIES:" COP-9 President Persányi opened the second round-table discussion, co-chaired by Paula Dobriansky, Under-Secretary for Global Affairs, US, and Mohammed Valli Moosa, Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, South Africa. Co-Chair Dobriansky raised questions on promoting access to technology in developing countries, and harnessing the private sector in advancing clean technology. Co-Chair Moosa stressed a focus on actions that can already be taken. He proposed drawing up an inventory of existing technologies, and questioned the use of discussing the matter without engaging the private sector.

In the first part of the round-table discussions, Parties addressed facilitating technology innovation, development and diffusion for mitigation and adaptation in the context of sustainable development. IRELAND, for the EU, stressed the importance of decoupling economic growth and emissions, and said renewables are a priority. He encouraged other governments to adopt similar approaches to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, and noted that technology transfer can also occur on South-South and South-North bases. BURUNDI expressed concern over access to data from developed countries, and noted the lack of capacity in poor countries to predict local climate impacts. ICELAND called for vision, leadership and partnership, and for engaging the business community. GERMANY stressed the importance of existing clean technologies in establishing the infrastructure necessary for developing future clean technologies. SAUDI ARABIA, with OMAN, pointed to carbon sequestration as an option to offset emissions from fossil fuel use. INDIA expressed concern that the only concrete outcome of calls for technology transfer is TT:CLEAR. He said technology transfer should not be a strictly commercial consideration, but rather requires policy frameworks. TUVALU stressed appropriate technologies, and RWANDA said donors must address the need for poverty reduction when transferring technologies. The INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ ORGANIZATIONS called for greater participation and securing indigenous peoples’ prior informed consent when undertaking action.

SURINAME underlined the need to transfer sustainable development technologies, building capacity and addressing recipient country needs. NEPAL and CANADA advocated using a range of technologies. SWEDEN said policy-makers should focus on equity issues and modalities for the adoption of technologies at local levels. PERU noted the need for effective international and domestic programmes and infrastructures. PANAMA underscored the need to develop technologies to "clean the atmosphere," and SLOVENIA urged the development of new technologies to mitigate climate change. CHAD requested a list of the technologies that have been transferred to developing countries. SPAIN urged the establishment of institutional frameworks to facilitate investment by the private sector in projects that promote sustainable development.

In the second part of the discussions, Parties spoke on development assistance, research, technology development cooperation, partnerships, capacity building, financing and enabling environments. MALAWI said commitments should be translated into concrete actions including technology transfer and poverty alleviation. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA, for the Environmental Integrity Group, emphasized the importance of publicly funded technologies and support to the private sector. CUBA stressed the need to consider economic and social contexts when transferring technology. KUWAIT highlighted the value of developing technologies that capture carbon dioxide. SENEGAL emphasized the need for private sector engagement. BELGIUM highlighted the need to focus on clean energy and reducing emissions, not end-of-pipe solutions. In response to Belgium, SAUDI ARABIA said the UNFCCC’s aim is not to reduce oil dependency. The UK stressed the need for the development of low carbon technologies, immediate use of existing technologies, and clean development trajectories. The G-77/CHINA called for effective support for technology transfer in non-Annex I Parties and research to encourage local-level capacity building. MADAGASCAR called on Annex I Parties to fulfill their obligations. The UKRAINE said EITs could reduce emissions through using the latest technologies and renewables.

In the third part of the round-table, Parties discussed private sector involvement, market mechanisms, and public-private partnerships. ITALY presented data on world energy demand, and concluded that electricity production in developing countries is both the biggest challenge and opportunity for the dissemination of renewables. MALAYSIA noted the importance of tax incentives. BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY ORGANIZATIONS urged governments to provide enabling frameworks, and said that non-commercial investments are needed for long-term commitment. The US emphasized public-private partnerships and noted national programmes on carbon sequestration, hydrogen and nuclear energy. GHANA said technology transfer must include know-how and human-resource development. Noting that the Protocol is the only viable option, JAPAN stressed developing common rules to apply to all countries. In response to Co-Chair Moosa’s request to comment on carbon sequestration, NORWAY highlighted successes in re-injecting carbon dioxide into the continental shelf. CHILE underscored the role played by market conditions in ensuring cleaner technology, particularly in transportation. The GAMBIA underlined the need for appropriate technologies, capacity building, and enhanced international cooperation. MOZAMBIQUE said LDCs with limited private sectors need capacity building to participate in the technology-transfer process.

Co-Chair Dobriansky reviewed the comments, noting a focus on, inter alia,sustainable development, adaptation, the roles of the public and private sectors, and the roles of new and existing technologies. Co-Chair Moosa identified a focus on future technologies, the need to develop advanced technologies and ensuring that present and existing technologies are put to maximum use.

ROUND TABLE III – "ASSESSMENT OF PROGRESS AT THE NATIONAL, REGIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL LEVELS:" The final round-table was co-chaired by Fernando Tudela Abad, Chief of Staff of the Secretariat for Environment, Natural Resources and Fisheries, Mexico, and Jürgen Trittin, Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany, on "assessment of progress at the national, regional and international levels to fulfill the promise and objective enshrined in the climate change agreements, including the scientific, information, policy and financial aspects." Co-Chair Tudela Abad said the CDM faces challenges arising from the delay in the Protocol’s entry into force, limited markets, and "crippling" transaction costs. Co-Chair Trittin said the UNFCCC obliges all Parties to tackle climate change, and questioned the extent to which developed countries have taken the lead in combating climate change and addressing adverse effects.

In the first part of the round-table, Parties discussed lessons learned from local and national climate change measures. The CZECH REPUBLIC said cooperation should be based on clear rules. TANZANIA said support for adaptation measures in LDCs is a moral requirement. The EUROPEAN COMMISSION said effective climate change measures require political will, and stressed that emissions can be reduced at low costs, using existing technologies. YEMEN expressed concern at the reluctance of Annex I Parties to take necessary actions to address climate change. The NETHERLANDS said it will continue to implement its Protocol obligations in the absence of the Russian Federation’s ratification. KAZAKHSTAN said it is preparing procedures for the Protocol’s ratification. IRAN underscored the benefits of economic diversification and stressed Parties’ common but differentiated responsibilities. GREECE stressed the importance of scientific data for sound climate change policies. COSTA RICA said future generations will judge the present generation based on whether the Protocol is ratified. YEMEN, COSTA RICA, PERU and the PHILIPPINES urged Parties who have not yet done so to ratify the Protocol. AZERBAIJAN emphasized the need for technology transfer and carbon sequestration projects. TURKEY announced its accession to the UNFCCC.

In the second part of the round-table, Parties discussed lessons learned from implementation of regional and international climate change measures. NORWAY observed recognition in the business and finance communities of the move toward a carbon-constrained world. COLOMBIA and others shared experiences on the CDM. The MALDIVES and MAURITIUS highlighted the vulnerability of SIDS, and called for technology transfer to address adaptation needs. The US said there are many types of international cooperation, and stressed the role of international technology partnerships. Regarding regional cooperation, COLOMBIA stressed the important role of regional institutions and the need to strengthen regional development banks. SWEDEN highlighted the value of EU Emissions Trading Scheme. BANGLADESH emphasized the need for regional capacity-building activities. NAMIBIA said the SCCF must be operationalized to justify continued expenditures on UNFCCC-related work to constituencies of LDCs. NIGERIA said the SCCF negotiations have re-opened agreements reached at previous COP sessions.

In the third part of the round-table, Parties discussed the assessment of progress and practical steps for future actions, focusing in particular on cooperation and cross-sectoral partnerships to promote action on climate change. The PHILIPPINES said the current pace of negotiations is "grossly inadequate." The G-77/ CHINA called on developed countries to fulfill their greenhouse gas emissions reduction commitments and limit adverse effects. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION urged clear procedures for the CDM, operationalization of JI, and simplification of existing Protocol procedures. BRAZIL said progress in implementing the Protocol is hindered by uncertainty of its entry into force. TUVALU noted that progress made so far does not reflect the seriousness of climate change and emphasized that real action is needed. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA stressed that state-of-the-art technology is necessary for decoupling economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions. BHUTAN expressed concern that the LDC Fund will be inaccessible to most LDCs. OMAN, and others, urged Annex I Parties to provide greater technical and financial assistance to developing countries. AUSTRALIA said it will strive to meet its Protocol targets. KIRIBATI called for a framework that ensures that vulnerable countries have access to financing to address the adverse affects of climate change. CUBA noted the importance of accessing technologies and knowledge. POLAND stressed the need to balance mitigation and adaptation measures.

In his conclusion, Co-Chair Trittin stressed collaboration between Parties to limit the increase in global temperature to below two degrees Celsius this century. Co-Chair Tudela Abad said many developing countries have gone beyond their obligations under the UNFCCC and said the only option now is to "turn off the heat."

In closing, President Pers�nyi noted Argentina�s offer to host COP-10 and said several Parties had proposed changing the date of COP-10. He requested Parties to consult on this matter before Friday�s bureau meeting and COP Plenary.

IN THE CORRIDORS

With one day of COP-9 remaining, some observers have remarked on the growing divisions in the negotiating positions of regional groups and the amount of time spent coordinating and building consensus within groups. One delegate observed that if the groups are unable to agree on their negotiating positions, then the possibility of reaching consensus in the final COP Plenary, which will deal with outstanding decisions on financing, might be in jeopardy. Despite consensus-building attempts by President Pers�nyi, negotiations on the SCCF continued late into the night Thursday, with disagreement and entrenched positions defining the discussions. On the LDC Fund, another observer suggested that President Pers�nyi should be prepared for a "highly charged" meeting with LDC ministers on Friday, to resolve growing resentment between LDCs and some developed countries over inaction and indecision on the necessary steps to implement NAPAs.

On another note, while the environmental NGOs hosted a birthday party for the Protocol, several observers were wondering whether the 120 Parties to the Protocol would initiate a "Friends of the Protocol" meeting. Some have suggested that such an initiative would not be missed by Russia�s President Putin who would not want to be an "outsider" to this important leadership initiative.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY

COP PLENARY: The COP Plenary is scheduled to meet at 10:00 am and again at 3:00 pm to finalize its work and adopt decisions.      

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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