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. 279
Friday, 21 October 2005

SUMMARY OF THE WORKSHOP ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE FIVE-YEAR PROGRAMME OF WORK ON IMPACTS, VULNERABILITY AND ADAPTATION:

17-19 OCTOBER 2005

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) informal workshop on the development of the five-year programme of work on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation was held from 17-19 October 2005, at the Wissenschaftszentrum in Bonn, Germany. More than fifty participants from Annex I and non-Annex I parties, as well as non-governmental organizations, were in attendance. The purpose of the workshop was to develop common ground and understanding on the possible content, structure, process for implementation and modalities of the programme of work.

The workshop was convened following a request from the UNFCCC’s Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) at its twenty-second session in May 2005, for the UNFCCC Secretariat to organize, under the guidance of the Chair of the SBSTA, an informal workshop to facilitate the development of the programme of work on adaptation before SBSTA 23, with a view to recommending a decision to COP 11 in November/December 2005.

The workshop presented an opportunity for parties to exchange views on what the content of the SBSTA five-year programme of work might be. Discussion centered on four possible thematic or action areas identified in decision 1/CP.10, namely: methodologies, data and modelling; vulnerability assessments; adaptation planning, measures and actions; and integration into sustainable development. Options for the process of implementation and modalities of the programme of work were also addressed. As a basis for discussion, participants used first a discussion paper prepared by the Secretariat based on submissions by parties and discussions at the in-session workshop and at the contact group on adaptation at SBSTA 22, and then an informal summary of the discussion at the workshop prepared by the Co-Chairs.

The agenda of the workshop was fully dedicated to a discussion of the programme of work. On Monday and Tuesday, 17-18 October, participants exchanged general comments and addressed the possible thematic areas identified in decision 1/CP.10 and elaborated upon in the discussion paper. On Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday, 19 October, participants turned their attention to the Co-Chairs’ informal summary of the discussion. At the end of the meeting, the Co-Chairs presented a revised version of the informal summary of the discussion incorporating comments from the workshop. This revised summary, which is an advance version of the SBSTA Chair’s summary of the workshop, was not open for comments but will be posted on the UNFCCC website within a period of two weeks.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE UNFCCC AND ADAPTATION

Climate change is considered to be one of the most serious threats to sustainable development, with adverse impacts expected on the environment, human health, food security, economic activity and physical infrastructure. Global climate varies naturally but scientists agree that rising concentrations of anthropogenic greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere are leading to changes in the climate. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the effects of climate change have already been observed, and scientific findings indicate that precautionary and prompt action is necessary.

The international political response to climate change began with the adoption of the UNFCCC in 1992. The UNFCCC sets out a framework for action aimed at stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases in order to avoid “dangerous anthropogenic interference” with the climate system. Controlled gases include methane, nitrous oxide and, in particular, carbon dioxide. The UNFCCC entered into force on 21 March 1994, and now has 189 parties. The parties to the UNFCCC typically convene once a year in a Conference of the Parties (COP), and twice a year in meetings of its subsidiary bodies.

THE KYOTO PROTOCOL: In December 1997, delegates at COP 3 in Kyoto, Japan, agreed to a protocol to the UNFCCC that commits developed countries and countries making the transition to a market economy to achieve quantified emissions reduction targets. These countries, known under the UNFCCC as Annex I parties, agreed to reduce their overall emissions of six greenhouse gases by an average of 5.2% below 1990 levels between 2008-2012 (the first commitment period), with specific targets varying from country to country. The Protocol also establishes three flexible mechanisms to assist Annex I parties in meeting their national targets cost-effectively: an emissions trading system; joint implementation of emissions-reduction projects between Annex I parties; and the Clean Development Mechanism, which allows for projects to be implemented in non-Annex I parties. To date, 156 parties have ratified the Protocol, including 37 Annex I parties, representing 61.6% of 1990 Annex I greenhouse gas emissions, meeting the requirements for entry into force of the Protocol, which took place on 16 February 2005. The first Meeting of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP/MOP 1) will take place in conjunction with COP 11 in Montreal, Canada, from 28 November – 9 December 2005.

ADAPTATION: Adaptation is a cross-cutting theme of the UNFCCC and is referred to in different articles. In particular, Convention Article 4.1 states that parties shall “formulate, implement, publish and regularly update national and, where appropriate, regional programmes containing measures to facilitate adequate adaptation to climate change,” and “cooperate in preparing for adaptation to the impacts of climate change.” Convention Article 4.4 states that developed country parties shall “assist the developing country parties that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change in meeting costs of adaptation to those adverse effects.” While COP 1 in 1995 addressed funding for adaptation (decision 11/CP.1), it was not until the adoption of the Marrakesh Accords in 2001 that adaptation began to be more widely seen as a prominent area for action, as set out in decision 5/CP.7 (adverse effects of climate change).

The actual process for the development of a structured programme of work on adaptation began in Milan at COP 9 in December 2003, following the conclusion of consideration of the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In what is sometimes referred to as the “Milan process on adaptation,” COP 9 requested the SBSTA to initiate work on scientific, technical and socioeconomic aspects of, and vulnerability and adaptation to, climate change (decision 10/CP.9). SBSTA conducted one pre-sessional workshop on this matter at SBSTA 19 in December 2003, and two in-session workshops at SBSTA 20 and 21.

With decision 1/CP.10 (Buenos Aires Programme of Work on Adaptation and Response Measures), parties reached a new milestone in terms of work on adaptation, as the COP called for SBSTA to develop a structured five-year programme of work on the scientific, technical and socioeconomic aspects, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change. This request specified four general issues or thematic areas to be addressed by the programme of work: methodologies, data and modelling; vulnerability assessments; adaptation planning, measures and actions; and integration into sustainable development, in the context of the terms of reference of the SBSTA as referred to in Convention Article 9. The COP also invited parties to submit their views on the programme of work and its implementation.

Parties initiated deliberations on the programme of work in an in-session workshop at SBSTA 22 in May 2005. The SBSTA Chair prepared a summary of this workshop containing possible elements of the programme of work to serve as the basis for further discussions. These were taken up by a contact group, which continued deliberations on the objective, scope of work, process, structure, activities, modalities and review of the programme of work. The contact group met six times and held numerous informal consultations. However, the programme of work could not be completed at SBSTA 22, and the text was fully bracketed. In its conclusions (FCCC/SBSTA/2005/4), SBSTA agreed to further consider and elaborate at SBSTA 23 the draft COP decision and its draft annex containing the possible elements of the programme of work, with a view to forwarding a draft decision for adoption at COP 11. To facilitate this, SBSTA also agreed to hold an informal workshop under the guidance of the Chair of the SBSTA before SBSTA 23, meeting in conjunction with COP 11 in Montreal, beginning on 28 November 2005.

REPORT OF THE WORKSHOP

Halldór Thorgeirsson, SBSTA Coordinator, UNFCCC Secretariat, welcomed participants and announced with sadness the passing away of Joke Waller-Hunter, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, on Saturday, 14 October 2005. He recalled her work, and noted her down-to-earth, straightforward personality and the passion with which she worked, emphasizing her sincere commitment to the principles of the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol. Thorgeirsson also noted that Waller-Hunter was particularly interested in developing a strategic approach to adaptation. Participants observed a minute of silence.

SBSTA Chair Abdullatif Salem Benrageb (Libya) reiterated the excellent work done by Waller-Hunter as UNFCCC Executive Secretary and the many good things she left behind. Regarding the workshop, he said that despite common agreement on the urgency of developing the programme of work and a lack of fundamental differences of opinion on its general content, there is no common vision on what the focus and actions of the programme of work should be, and that to address this, the workshop agenda was fully dedicated to a discussion of these issues. Benrageb pointed to high-level meetings since SBSTA 22 that addressed the importance of adaptation and risk management, including the G8 Gleneagles Summit and the UN World Summit, and expressed hope that the programme of work would be ready for adoption at COP 11. He asked Kishan Kumarsingh (Trinidad and Tobago) and Helen Plume (New Zealand) to co-chair the workshop.

Thorgeirsson then presented a discussion paper prepared by the Secretariat, based on submissions by parties and the in-session workshop and discussions at SBSTA 22, and which includes options for the possible content, structure, thematic areas, process of implementation, and modalities of the programme of work. He identified the broad requirements that should guide the programme, namely: responsiveness, inclusiveness, continuity, practicality, action-oriented, and consistency with SBSTA’s mandate. Noting that all that needs to be done cannot be covered by SBSTA in five years, he suggested a phased “two-line” approach for implementation of the programme of work, with a first line of initial actions that could be launched immediately, and a parallel, stocktaking activity for which actions would be defined later. He proposed focusing discussion on the possible content of the programme of work and on the process of implementation and modalities that may be used.

In the initial round of general comments, participants commended the paper as a basis for discussions, and highlighted the need to focus on the desirable outcome of the five-year programme of work, noting, inter alia, the importance of stocktaking, flexibility, and balance.

Canada, supported by South Africa, Austria and many others, urged taking a broad approach so that the programme of work serves as a catalyst for other actions outside of SBSTA. The Cook Islands underscored the importance of several courses of action addressing the urgent needs of the most vulnerable countries, and with Bangladesh and others, called for an ad hoc expert group on adaptation. Austria noted the work of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) and of the Ad-Hoc Technical Expert Group on Biological Diversity and Climate Change, and Peru drew attention to the upcoming IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (4AR). Spain highlighted capacity building and dissemination of knowledge as the general objectives of the programme of work.

Noting the increase in hurricane intensity, Jamaica stressed attending to the needs of the most vulnerable countries, while Ukraine emphasized the needs of all countries.

Japan noted the limited time before COP 11 and, with China, urged prioritizing actions relating to the programme of work. Kenya drew attention to the work on adaptation done by the Consultative Group of Experts on National Communications from parties not included in Annex I to the Convention (CGE). Croatia, with others, underscored the need to be proactive, while India and the Netherlands emphasized engaging governments and NGOs working at the local level.

POSSIBLE CONTENT, PROCESS AND MODALITIES OF THE PROGRAMME OF WORK

Co-Chair Plume invited general comments on the possible thematic areas of the programme of work elaborated upon in the paper prepared by the Secretariat. The US underscored the importance of discussing the connection between vulnerability, impacts and adaptation, while the UK called for achieving a balance between the three elements. The UK also suggested taking into account already existing information. Poland highlighted that vulnerability depends largely on local and national conditions, which limits the extent to which SBSTA can identify vulnerability, and Brazil noted that many actions are likely to extend beyond the five-year programme of work. China highlighted the inadequate technical capacity in many developing countries to undertake certain activities.

METHODOLOGIES, DATA AND MODELLING: Co-Chair Plume then invited a discussion on methodologies, data and modelling. Highlighting the UNFCCC’s Compendium of methods and tools to evaluate impacts of, and vulnerability and adaptation to, climate change (adaptation Compendium), the UK stressed the need to seek updates from parties on the use of the adaptation Compendium and the development of new methods. Canada emphasized the need to consider the work of bodies other than the UNFCCC on adaptation. The Cook Islands noted the role of learning by doing and using multiple methodologies for pursuing adaptation. Brazil outlined its regional climate modelling capacities, while Senegal, with Bangladesh, stressed the need to make global climate models more user-friendly and locally applicable. Responding to Co-Chair Plume’s questions regarding South-South cooperation, Brazil elaborated on the need for building capacity in other South American countries to be able to use the analyses of the Brazilian regional climate model.

Responding to comments on the resolution of models, the US urged avoiding discussion of precise details and instead developing notional categories. SBSTA Chair Benrageb recalled SBSTA’s mandate, and reminded participants that this is not a negotiating session but that the goal of the workshop is to lay the groundwork for the programme of work.

On a call from Bangladesh to downscale models, Austria warned against taking a narrow approach, noting that shortcomings exist in various areas, such as lack of data or capacity, and not just in the lack of available models. The Cook Islands proposed to include resilience indicators and pointed to other processes where adaptation needs have been identified. She also called for making the thematic areas more action oriented. Switzerland suggested ordering items in the proposed thematic areas before considering further terms of reference. Brazil stressed identifying pre-existing capacities for adaptation in countries and institutions.

Co-Chair Kumarsingh underscored the importance of the two-line approach and of identifying actions rather than defining the exact objectives and making them fit a thematic area. Bangladesh highlighted a targeted time-bound approach for each activity. Finland added that it would be useful to make the distinction between partners and clients in adaptation activities. Canada, followed by the US and Australia, suggested a strategic approach to developing the programme of work. The US, along with Finland and others, suggested that the discussion was being hamstrung by the four categories in the discussion paper. She highlighted that methodologies, data and modelling is a crosscutting area that runs throughout the other thematic areas.

Co-Chair Kumarsingh proposed, and participants agreed, to make the methodologies, data and modelling thematic area a cross-cutting issue running throughout the other thematic areas. The UK called for distinguishing the work to be undertaken at the Convention and at the national level. Co-Chair Kumarsingh said that the goal of the workshop was to develop a common understanding that would allow the completion of the decision text. Uzbekistan stressed the urgency to provide decision makers with advice on integrating adaptation into development.

Responding to various comments on the level of detail and criteria, Thorgeirsson stressed the need to prioritize, and cautioned against a programme of work that would seem overly complex or vague to ministers attending COP 11, noting that some of the ministers are very concerned about the impacts of climate change.

VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENTS: On vulnerability assessments, Switzerland stressed the need to benefit from already existing information sources. The Netherlands noted the importance of multidisciplinary efforts involving people working in alternative sectors as well as decision makers for conducting vulnerability and impact assessments. The US said that stocktaking might be more important in some areas than others, and supported by the UK, suggested looking at regional impacts rather than impacts on specific parties. The UK, supported by Spain and others, said that one could capture the information on vulnerability through a broadly-structured questionnaire that would address methodological issues and costs of implementation across sectors. Australia noted the need to introduce action-oriented verbs in the proposed sub-themes under the thematic areas. Peru suggested including both social and economic impacts as a necessary component of vulnerability assessments. Bangladesh highlighted the role of the SBSTA in providing tools to examine economic impacts of climate change, and Jamaica noted that many of the tools available are more suitable for developed countries than for developing ones.

ADAPTATION PLANNING, MEASURES AND ACTIONS: On Tuesday, 18 October, participants addressed adaptation planning, measures and actions. Austria, supported by Poland, emphasized the importance of including adaptation in national development strategies. The UK proposed collecting information on country experiences. He drew attention to the UNFCCC seminar on the development and transfer of environmentally sound technologies for adaptation held in Trinidad and Tobago in June 2005, and other work within the Convention. Senegal stressed the importance of technology transfer and, with Cuba, noted the need for climate predictions for developing countries, given increased climate variability. Australia, supported by the US, proposed combining the list of actions on this thematic area under three headings: collection and analysis of data, monitoring and evaluation; promotion and development of analytical tools and technology transfer; and assessment processes related to decision-making. He added that agreement on long term targets for adaptation is a political decision to be taken at the national level and should be addressed elsewhere. Switzerland emphasized bottom-up approaches that take into account national experiences with adaptation in different sectors, both in terms of successes and gaps identified in the national communications. He also noted the importance of analyses of adaptation costs, “solidarity mechanisms” and cooperation, and clear governance.

Austria, supported by Japan, and opposed by China, Brazil, Switzerland and Peru, suggested making a link between long-term targets for adaptation and mitigation. China, Brazil and others stressed the need to avoid making the programme of work more complex than necessary by linking adaptation to mitigation. Japan, supported by Finland, emphasized that linking adaptation and mitigation would be a useful addition to cost-benefit analyses of adaptation. He also noted that good vulnerability assessments are a prerequisite for adaptation planning. SBSTA Chair Benrageb emphasized the need to build capacity given the differential capabilities of countries to undertake adaptation.

Co-Chair Plume cautioned against an oversimplification of the thematic areas identified in the discussion paper and the absence of reference to short term targets. The Philippines underscored strengthening data collection and recovery mechanisms, and the Russian Federation proposed making reference not only to data access but also data preparation. India noted that adaptation planning should be included in the planning of infrastructure development projects, and Poland proposed including social aspects of adaptation. Drawing attention to the actions listed in decision 1/CP.10, the US, supported by Finland, highlighted the need for provision of scientific advice. The UK noted the absence of publications on national adaptation strategies and, with Cuba and others, stressed the link between adaptation planning and integration into sustainable development. Canada noted that adaptive capacity naturally links vulnerability, impacts and adaptation, and cautioned against losing the focus on adaptation when addressing sustainable development as a cross-cutting issue. Supported by the Philippines and others, she suggested including chapeau headings with broad action plans, such as monitoring and evaluation, under which specific actions could be identified. The Netherlands stressed considering the long-term perspective and said that the programme of work should be a country-driven exercise. Spain called for specific reference to participatory processes and emphasized the need to identify short-term results as part of the programme of work.

Australia, with Sudan and others, called for enhancing capacities at the local level, and Saudi Arabia emphasized the need for an assistance mechanism. Noting that communication is a key component of adaptation, he proposed the early establishment of a website for information dissemination, and added that adaptation implies a lifestyle change and that a long- term perspective is critical. Switzerland proposed compiling existing material on adaptation under National Adaptation Plans for Action and National Communications. Ukraine referred to the importance of indicators for adaptation.

INTEGRATION INTO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: On integrating adaptation into sustainable development, Finland emphasized the importance of partnerships, including with local governments. Maldives, supporting Kenya and Bangladesh, noted its readiness to move forward towards implementation of a number of adaptation activities. Senegal, supported by the Cook Islands, stressed the importance of examining how adaptation activities fit into a larger sustainable development agenda. The Cook Islands urged taking into account outputs and short term objectives, and highlighted impacts of adaptation on sustainable development. With Canada, she suggested that adaptation success stories can only emerge from demonstration projects. Samoa emphasized the need to address the balance between vulnerability, adaptation and impacts, and addressing actual adaptation activities over stocktaking. Switzerland cautioned against using general tools and practices for identifying synergies between climate change and sustainable development. He also noted that vulnerability assessments are country-dependent and that risk assessment involves value judgments. With others, he identified the need to provide both policymakers and stakeholders with better information to enhance resilience of areas such as economic sectors. The UK highlighted the need to create modalities for quantifying climate risks as they apply to key sectors and to conduct vulnerability assessments. Japan emphasized extricating only those issues in sustainable development that are related to climate change. Jamaica highlighted that many of the adaptation activities are becoming increasingly expensive, while Portugal said that adaptation is both a developed and developing country issue. Thorgeirsson noted that COP 11 will provide guidance on the allocation of the new US$100 million funding available through the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and that the two new Secretariat programmes – on support to implementation and on adaptation, science and technology – could be useful to the programme of work.

PROCESS AND MODALITIES: Noting participants’ comments on stocktaking, exchanging information on best practices and lessons learned, and the potential creation of an ad hoc expert group, Co-Chair Plume proposed addressing options for the process of implementation and modalities of the programme of work. Canada, with Australia, the US and others, said that modalities would depend on what actions are adopted. The US noted the usefulness of workshops, while the UK stressed the need to clearly define the nature and role of a possible ad hoc expert group. Co-Chair Plume said that a summary of the discussion would be made available during the afternoon session.

CO-CHAIRS’ INFORMAL SUMMARY OF THE DISCUSSION

On Tuesday afternoon, Co-Chair Kumarsingh introduced an informal summary of the workshop discussion on the programme of work, and asked for general comments.

Several participants proposed using language from Convention Article 9 (SBSTA), and the UK proposed to address the issue of consistency with SBSTA’s mandate in a chapeau paragraph. On the expected outcome of the programme of work, the UK, with others, noted that the intent of the programme of work should be to enhance capacity to identify, decide on and implement adaptation actions.

Switzerland suggested giving priority to stocktaking before proposing specific actions. Co-Chair Kumarsingh asked participants to focus on possible specific activities under each thematic area. The US noted that it is important that this process lead to improvement in the quality of information collected and that there is a need to identify the target audience before undertaking activities such as promotion of understanding of climate risks and vulnerabilities. Australia said that integration of sustainable development is not a thematic area, and noted that all countries are vulnerable to climate change. He suggested clarifying the target audience for improving availability of socioeconomic information. Peru emphasized that a number of actions pertaining to capacity building and technical training mentioned in decision 1/CP.10 were not mentioned in the summary of the discussion. Co-Chair Kumarsingh responded that capacity building is very much a part of the framework of the programme of work. Samoa noted the need for making reference to the needs of the most vulnerable countries, and Bangladesh stressed that socioeconomic information on vulnerable populations is essential.

SBSTA Chair Benrageb reminded participants of the need for a fair and balanced proposal that has a good chance of being adopted at COP 11.

On promoting understanding of climate risks, key vulnerabilities and thresholds of climate change, Austria, opposed by Brazil and Peru, proposed including reference to forests. Peru suggested instead a reference to fragile ecosystems.

Canada, supported by Austria, Sudan and many others, stressed the need to avoid limiting the programme of work to decision 1/CP.10, saying that the programme of work should serve as a broad framework to stimulate investment and work outside the Convention. In this regard, she mentioned Canada’s national government and indigenous communities, as well as the CGE, as examples of other processes and communities who are looking for guidance from the UNFCCC on adaptation. The US, with the Netherlands, called for a reference to sectors and, on SBSTA’s work, she proposed to use language along the lines that SBSTA “will explore” the actions identified in the programme of work, instead of using other verbs such as “promote,” “improve” or “collect.”

Peru, with Saudi Arabia, Norway and several others, proposed considering integration as a cross-cutting issue, while Portugal suggested increased reference to synergies. The Netherlands, supported by Finland, called for adding explicit reference to local knowledge, while Switzerland preferred reference to local stakeholders. Norway noted that adaptation should be mainstreamed into development and this could open new areas of funding. South Africa disagreed, saying that funding for adaptation projects should not rely on development funding.

Co-Chair Kumarsingh asked participants to identify the modalities and time frames of the programme of work. Australia suggested the use of a compendium or website as a tool for information dissemination. Switzerland suggested that actions could be initially defined on an annual or semi-annual basis and subsequently amended at SBSTA meetings. Responding to Switzerland’s query on the availability of Secretariat resources, Thorgeirsson noted that the Secretariat’s budget was limited and that the programme of work is SBSTA’s responsibility, not the Secretariat’s. He added that most of the adaptation activities would involve other actors.

Finland stressed the need to identify the form and sources of information available before deciding on the modality for information dissemination to users on impacts and vulnerabilities. Jamaica noted that useful information is included in national communications and, supported by Kenya, outlined other existing initiatives, including stakeholder consultations.

Switzerland stressed the need to compile lessons learned before promoting development and dissemination of methods for impacts and vulnerability assessments. He stressed that a large amount of information is available regarding adaptation strategies in the national communication of Annex I parties. He also said that institutions such as the Data Distribution Center of the IPCC could provide information on crosscutting areas for modelling and that the Secretariat could assist in collecting and making this information available.

Noting a request in decision 1/CP.10 to organize regional workshops, Peru offered to host the first one of these workshops. The US, with Finland, noted that the workshops referred to in decision 1/CP.10 were already spoken for. Canada said that the UNFCCC could invite its own bodies, such as the CGE, to conduct workshops. Responding to a question by the UK on the specific purpose of the regional workshops, Thorgeirsson said the goal is to reflect on regional needs and priorities but the programme of work should make the workshops more targeted. Canada, with Spain, added that regional workshops might be the best means to share information, discuss opportunities, and integrate other sectors and institutions. Croatia added that there is a need for separate workshops where the climate change specialists can interact with the relevant sectoral representatives. Austria recommended holding in-session workshops during SBSTA meetings as a forum for parties to report on lessons learned on adaptation, while the Cook Islands highlighted the potential role of intersessional working groups.

Spain proposed that the UNFCCC Secretariat complete and update the current adaptation Compendium. Switzerland called for specific time frames, while Japan, supported by the US, noted budget and other limitations and stressed the need to focus on a five-year programme of work. The US supported an ad hoc expert group to start the programme of work.

South Africa, supported by many participants, proposed to have “landmarks” or deadlines on actions identified to allow feedback for recommendations and further progress. Thorgeirsson noted that SBSTA will be considering the IPCC 4AR in 2008 and this would present a good opportunity to interact with experts. He suggested that a possible request to the IPCC to report on adaptation issues should not be restricted to the IPCC 4AR, but also include later research not covered in the assessment report. Thorgeirsson also noted that there will be a report by the Global Climate Observing System on systematic observation at SBSTA 23 in Montreal.

Switzerland called for a strong role of the UNFCCC Secretariat in the programme of work, particularly in dissemination of information. Responding to Brazil’s question on the Secretariat’s capacity for setting up a clearinghouse for disseminating information, Thorgeirsson replied that the Secretariat does possess the requisite technical but not the financial resources.

On Wednesday, 19 October, participants continued discussion of the Co-Chairs’ informal summary of the discussion. On promotion of development and dissemination of analytical and decision-making tools, Austria noted the lack of a compilation on such tools, and said that this is something a possible questionnaire could address. He also noted the effectiveness of in-session workshops for sharing experiences. The Cook Islands, supported by Sudan, stressed the need for rapid vulnerability assessment tools. Australia, with others, proposed the use of practical, simple tools to provide guidance on the effectiveness of adaptation measures, while South Africa stressed the need for evaluation of the programme of work itself. The Russian Federation and the Philippines noted the importance of including information on unusual climate conditions and of engaging country experts for this purpose.

The UK noted the lack of readily available methodologies to assess adaptation measures, while Jamaica noted that measures could be gauged by their effectiveness. Sudan called for some kind of good practice guidance on adaptation, and with Jamaica and others, emphasized reference to adaptation planning. Jamaica and others suggested requesting a special report on adaptation from the IPCC. Cuba proposed making use of existing information in the national communications and expert bodies within the Convention, such as the CGE and the Expert Group on Technology Transfer. The Philippines, supported by the Cook Islands and Japan, highlighted the linkages between assessments, adaptation and integration, and suggested that these should be reflected in a database on adaptation that should also include useful experiences of developing countries.

The US proposed stocktaking as an initial action. Noting that adaptation measures include policies as well as infrastructure, Australia, supported by the Cook Islands, Saudi Arabia and others, called for different types of stocktaking.

Highlighting the importance of participatory processes, the Cook Islands proposed reference to international cooperation “among parties and other organizations.” She also noted the need to take into account local knowledge and to enhance resilience. The Netherlands emphasized the role of the private sector in international cooperation and the need to examine and extend the adaptation agenda to relevant sustainable development institutions. Bangladesh, with China and Thailand, emphasized the importance of international cooperation and bilateral collaboration in capacity building for impact and vulnerability assessments. Sudan highlighted the need for greater cooperation between the Convention and multilateral processes, while Brazil noted the importance of national focal points in promoting synergies of the programme of work with other multilateral environmental agreements.

On possible workshops, Finland, supported by the US and Canada, proposed structuring workshops on adaptation along four themes: tools and data requirements and availability; critical issues; monitoring and evaluation tools; and best practices, and the US, supported by Saudi Arabia, stressed a sectoral approach to the workshops. The Cook Islands noted the need for flexibility in structuring the workshops and cautioned against duplication of work. Thorgeirsson noted the need for guidance on specifying a target audience for the workshops.

Japan highlighted the benefits of various adaptation actions, while the UK emphasized the need to bring the users and producers of climate information together at the regional and national levels. The US said that an identification of the audience for actions would help to better define the modalities. Finland noted the importance of influencing decision-makers, who are the major audiences of the programme of work. The Philippines supported the Netherlands in stressing the importance of incorporating the views of those outside the convention, such as the business sector, and highlighted some of the country efforts in reinforcing the relationship of users and producers of information.

REVISED SUMMARY OF THE DISCUSSION: Co-Chair Kumarsingh then presented a revised version of the Co-Chairs� informal summary incorporating the previous discussions. The draft was not open for comment but was an advance version of what would be presented as the SBSTA Chair�s summary of the workshop discussion.

The informal summary of the discussions states that the programme of work would consist of three thematic areas, namely: impacts and vulnerability; adaptation planning, measures and actions; and integration. Methodologies, data and modelling appear as a cross-cutting issue. The summary also notes that the expected outcome of the programme of work is enhanced capacity at multiple levels to identify and understand impacts and vulnerabilities and possible adaptation responses, and to enable countries to select and implement effective and high priority adaptation actions. The programme of work is also expected to facilitate the implementation of decision 1/CP.10, where relevant.

The Co-Chairs� summary of the discussion further identifies sub-themes for each thematic area. On impacts and vulnerability, it identifies:

  • promoting development and dissemination of impact and vulnerability assessment tools and methods;

  • improving access to high quality data and information on current and future climatic variability and extreme events;

  • promoting understanding of climate risks, key vulnerabilities and thresholds of climate change;

  • improving availability of socioeconomic information on vulnerable populations and economic sectors and on the economic impacts of climate change; and

  • collecting, analyzing and disseminating lessons learned.

On adaptation planning, measures and action, the summary of the discussion identifies:

  • promoting development and dissemination of analytical and decision-making tools;

  • collecting and disseminating lessons learned from adaptation strategies;

  • stimulating adaptation research and technology and dissemination of adaptation solutions and technologies; and

  • promoting international cooperation to assist vulnerable countries in enhancing their resilience and managing climate risks, giving priority to the most vulnerable countries.

On integration, the discussion summary identifies enhancing synergies between actions to build resilience to climate risks with other sustainable development objectives. Moreover, the Co-Chairs� summary of the discussion states that: the programme of work will consist of both short-term specific activities, and activities requiring additional information before they are launched; and activities would be guided by the general requirements of: responsiveness, inclusiveness, continuity, practicality, and action-orientation. The summary also notes possible modalities, including workshops, limited ad hoc working groups of experts, web-based resources, questionnaires, �targeted submissions� from parties, and different types of stocktaking.

CLOSING REMARKS

Along with Co-Chair Plume, Co-Chair Kumarsingh noted the very constructive discussion in the workshop that would provide valuable guidance towards a decision in Montreal at COP 11. SBSTA Chair Benrageb thanked the government of Canada and others who had provided funding for the informal workshop, the Secretariat, the Co-Chairs and the participants, and brought the meeting to a close at 1:11 pm.

UPCOMING MEETINGS

WORKSHOP ON INTERNATIONAL POLICY APPROACHES TO ADDRESS THE CLIMATE CHANGE CHALLENGE: Organized by the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Organization (IPIECA) and China�s Office of Global Environmental Affairs, this workshop will take place from 25-26 October 2005, in Beijing, China. For more information, contact: IPEICA; tel: +44-020-7633-2388; fax: +44-020-7633-2389; e-mail: paula.lynch@ipieca.org; internet: http://www.ipieca.org/downloads/climate_change/beijing2005/beijing_email/ccwg_beijing.html

CREATING THE CLIMATE FOR CHANGE � THE SECOND SUSTAINABLE ENERGY FINANCE ROUNDTABLE: This roundtable will take place on 27 October 2005, in New York. This event will follow the UNEP Finance Initiative Global Roundtable to be held between 26-27 October 2005. For more information, contact: Eric Usher, UNEP Energy Branch; tel: +33 (0)1-44-37-76-14; e-mail: eric.usher@unep.fr; or Paul Clements-Hunt, UNEP Finance Initiative; tel: +41 (0)22-917-8116; e-mail; pch@unep.ch; internet: http://www.sefi-roundtable.org/

ENERGY SUMMIT IN AFRICA: This conference will take place from 7-9 November 2005, in Dakar, Senegal. The Summit will support the New Partnership for Africa�s Development (NEPAD). For more information, contact: Jean-Pierre Favennec; tel: +33-1-4752-7116; e-mail: j-pierre.favennec@ifp.fr; internet: http://www.gvep.org/content/calendar/detail/9326

XII WORLD WATER CONGRESS: Organized by the International Water Resource Association, this conference will be held from 22-25 November 2005, in New Delhi, India. For more information contact: G.N. Mathur, Adhering Committee of International Water Resources Association; tel: +91-11-2611-5984; fax: +91-11-2611-6347; e-mail: info@worldwatercongress.org; internet: http://wc.worldwatercongress.org:5050/index.jsp

FIRST MEETING OF PARTIES TO THE KYOTO PROTOCOL AND ELEVENTH CONFERENCE OF PARTIES TO THE UNFCCC: The first Meeting of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP/MOP 1) is taking place in conjunction with COP 11 of the UNFCCC from 28 November to 9 December 2005, in Montreal, Canada. For more information, contact: UNFCCC Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-1000; fax: +49-228-815-1999; e-mail: secretariat@unfccc.int; internet: http://unfccc.int/meetings/cop_11/items/3394.php

Joke Waller-Hunter (1946-2005)
In fond memory.


This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin � <enb@iisd.org> is written and edited by Asmita Bhardwaj and Mar�a Guti�rrez. 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), the Swiss Agency for Environment, Forests and Landscape (SAEFL), the United Kingdom (through the Department for International Development - DFID), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Germany (through the German Federal Ministry of Environment - BMU, and the German Federal Ministry of Development Cooperation - BMZ), the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Commission (DG-ENV), and the Italian Ministry of Environment. General Support for the Bulletin during 2005 is provided by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Government of Australia, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management, the Ministry of Sustainable Development and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, SWAN International, the Japanese Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies - IGES) and the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (through the Global Industrial and Social Progress Research Institute - GISPRI). Funding for translation of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin into French has been provided by the International Organization of the Francophonie (IOF) and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Funding for the translation of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin into Spanish has been provided by the Ministry of Environment of Spain. 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>, +1-646-536-7556 or 212 East 47th St. #21F, New York, NY 10017, USA.