The Bonn Climate Change Conference opened on Monday. In the morning and afternoon, opening plenaries of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) took place.
ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: Opening the session, SBI Chair Thomasz Chruszczow (Poland) urged parties to look towards 2015 stressing that the SBI “has to make progress here and now.”
UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Christiana Figueres applauded the United Arab Emirates, the first party to ratify the Doha amendment to the Kyoto Protocol, and encouraged others to follow, noting that 143 instruments of acceptance are necessary for the amendment to enter into force.
On the supplementary provisional agenda (FCCC/SBI/2013/1/Add.1), the RUSSIAN FEDERATION, with BELARUS and UKRAINE, highlighted a proposal to introduce an additional item on procedural and legal issues relating to decision-making by the COP and CMP, in response “to deficiencies in the UNFCCC’s application of UN system rules of procedures, norms and principles.”
Fiji, for the G-77/CHINA, proposed proceeding on the basis of the provisional agenda (FCCC/SBI/2013/1). Acknowledging the importance of adopting rules of procedure, the EU stressed it was not for the SBI to adopt these rules.
Chair Chruszczow proposed that the SBI launch its work, based on the supplementary provisional agenda (FCCC/2013/1/Add.1) without adopting it and invite the SBI vice-chair to conduct informal consultations with interested parties on the proposal by the Russian Federation, Ukraine and Belarus. He added that, after this, the SBI could come back to the adoption of the agenda.
The Secretariat advised that if there was an issue with the supplementary agenda, parties could proceed under the provisional agenda, without adopting it, while consulting on whether to include the supplementary items proposed.
The RUSSIAN FEDERATION, BELARUS and UKRAINE opposed starting work without adopting the agenda. Noting a lack of consensus, Chair Chruszczow suspended the meeting and invited heads of delegation to consult with him on the item.
In the afternoon, Chruszczow reported that informal consultations resulted in two proposals; noting that his proposal to place consideration of the procedural issue within the agenda item on arrangements for intergovernmental meetings was not accepted by many parties. He then asked parties to consider G-77/CHINA’s proposal to start work based on the supplementary provisional agenda without adopting it formally, pending inclusive consultations on the issue. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION, BELARUS and UKRAINE opposed. Chair Chruszczow suspended the session urging parties to continue discussions.
ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: SBSTA Chair Richard Muyungi (Tanzania) opened the meeting. Parties then adopted the agenda and organization of work (FCCC/SBSTA/2013/1).
OPENING STATEMENTS: Fiji, for the G-77/CHINA, stressed, inter alia, that guidelines for biennial update reports (BURs) should build on existing domestic systems and capacity, and allow for voluntary use of independent third-party verification at the domestic level.
The EU called for progress under all SBSTA agenda items, particularly agriculture as a potential sector to progress on both mitigation and adaptation.
Swaziland, for the AFRICAN GROUP, highlighted the need for progress under the Nairobi Work Programme (NWP); and addressing agriculture to enhance food security and build resilience.
Australia, for the UMBRELLA GROUP, called for progress on the work programme on market- and non-market-based approaches.
The Republic of Korea, for the ENVIRONMENTAL INTEGRITY GROUP (EIG), called for decisions on the framework for various approaches and new market-based mechanisms to establish a pilot phase at COP 19.
Nepal, for the LDCs, urged a focus on, inter alia: “concrete outcomes” on the NWP; finalizing the institutional arrangements between the CTCN and TEC; and ensuring a role for science in the Review. Papua New Guinea, for the COALITION FOR RAINFOREST NATIONS, called for finalization of work on: measuring, reporting and verification (MRV), national reporting; and payments for results-based action. She supported the establishment of a REDD+ committee.
Bolivia, FOR THE BOLIVARIAN ALLIANCE FOR THE PEOPLES OF OUR AMERICA (ALBA), cited vulnerability as a “top priority” linked to the provision of technology, finance and capacity building.
Thailand, for the LIKE-MINDED DEVELOPING COUNTRIES, said the Doha outcome on Annex I countries’ ambition was “extremely disappointing.” He stressed that NAMAs must not create new obligations for developing countries
Chile, for the ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN STATES (AILAC) urged progress on market and non-market approaches.
India, for Brazil, South Africa, India and China (BASIC), called for: progress on IPRs; agriculture discussions to only focus on adaptation; and the COP to provide guidance to ICAO and IMO.
CLIMATE JUSTICE NOW said carbon trading has failed the environmental integrity test, describing market mechanisms as environmentally and socially flawed.
CLIMATE ACTION NETWORK said that discussions on the new market mechanism should reflect environmental integrity and cautioned against double-counting.
INTERNATIONAL INDIGENOUS PEOPLES FORUM ON CLIMATE CHANGE called for: respect of indigenous peoples’ rights to forests and lands; and ensuring their full and effective participation in all REDD+ phases.
Parties were then invited to consider the SBSTA agenda items.
COORDINATION OF SUPPORT FOR MITIGATION ACTIONS IN THE FOREST SECTOR BY DEVELOPING COUNTRIES, INCLUDING INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS: On this item (FCCC/SB/2013/MISC.3 & Add.1), Malawi, for the LDCs, said that no new bodies should be established. The US said the COP decision taken in Doha only mandates the submission of views by parties and a workshop. She added it is premature to consider institutions for REDD+. Cameroon, for the CENTRAL AFRICAN FORESTRY COMMISSION (COMIFAC), supported the creation of an institution for REDD+ under the Convention. GUYANA said the Doha mandate is to launch “a process, not just a workshop.” A joint SBI/SBSTA contact group will be chaired by Madeleine Diouf (Senegal) and Keith Anderson (Switzerland).
AGRICULTURE: URUGUAY said parties should recognize that emissions from agriculture might not decrease because the sector has to meet the demands of a growing population. MALAWI urged parties to think of this issue holistically, including in relation to REDD+. The Gambia, for the LDCs, suggested using the draft text proposed in Doha for discussions and urged, with TUVALU and TANZANIA, a focus on adaptation, not mitigation. A contact group will be chaired by Hans Åke Nilsagard (Sweden) and Esther Magambo (Kenya).
CONVENTION METHODOLOGICAL ISSUES: Work programme on the revision of the guidelines for the review of biennial reports and national communications: Under this agenda item (FCCC/SBSTA/2013/INF.2), Nepal, for the LDCs, highlighted transparency and verifiability. She called for support for developing countries, so that they could become “expert reviewers. A contact group will be chaired by Rittaa Pipati (Finland) and Qiang Liu (China).
Emissions from international aviation and marine transport: Under this issue (FCCC/SBSTA/2013/MISC.15), Astrid Dispert, International Maritime Organization (IMO), reported mandatory energy efficiency measures for new ships recently entered into force.
CUBA, for Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, China, Ecuador, Egypt, Malaysia, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Thailand, Pakistan, Uruguay, Sierra Leone, Paraguay, India and Bolivia, supported by CHINA, outlined elements that should guide International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and IMO, including: Article 2.2 of the Kyoto Protocol (Annex I parties emission reductions from international transport); and respect the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CDBR); and recognition of the legal distinction between developed and developing countries’ obligations. He underlined that any discussion of a market-based mechanism in ICAO should be voluntary and based on mutual consent. CHINA added that market-based mechanisms should not link unilateral measures with multilateral processes.
JAPAN noted that IMO’s decision on technical cooperation states that parties are “cognizant” of CDBR and opposed applying CBDR to ships because of their complex legal administration. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA cautioned against excessive burdens and said unilateral measures could undermine international cooperation.
SINGAPORE stated that, with appropriate technical expertise, ICAO and IMO are the “most competent bodies” to develop measures to limit emissions and sustain growth in the sectors. AUSTRALIA stressed that ICAO and IMO have their own principles and provisions. Chair Muyungi will consult on this issue.
METHODOLOGICAL ISSUES UNDER THE KYOTO PROTOCOL: Implications of Decisions 2/CMP.7 to 4/CMP.7 and 1/CMP.8: On this issue (FCCC/SBSTA/2013/INF.3, FCCC/SBSTA/2013/MISC.1, Add.1& 2), Saint Lucia, for AOSIS, highlighted the need for an overarching decision on rules and procedures for the second commitment period. Malawi, for the LDCs, cautioned against undermining the Marrakesh Accords, but supported a decision on this matter.
MARKET AND NON-MARKET MECHANISMS: Framework for various approaches: On this issue (FCCC/SBSTA/2013/MISC.11, Add.1 and MISC.16) Saint Lucia, for AOSIS, cautioned against a fragmented and decentralized approach. Tuvalu, for the LDCs, highlighted the need to learn from the Kyoto Protocol’s flexibility mechanisms and avoid undermining the current trading system. A contact group will be chaired by Giza Gasper Martins (Angola) and Martin Cames (Germany).
Non-market-based approaches: Under this agenda item (FCCC/SBSTA/2013/MISC.12, Add.1 and MISC.13), Saint Lucia, for AOSIS, noted that non-market approaches were helpful in situations of low abatement costs, risks of non-permanence and low data reliability. She expressed concern about holding separate contact groups for closely related sub-agenda items. A contact group will be chaired by Eduardo Sánchez (Chile) and Natalia Kuszko (Ukraine).
New market-based mechanism: Under this agenda item (FCCC/SBSTA/2013/MISC.9, Adds 1&10), Tuvalu, for the LDCs, emphasized comparable eligibility rules for any proposed mechanism. Saint Lucia, for AOSIS, underlined the need to ensure environmental integrity and go beyond offsetting to increasing mitigation ambition. A contact group will be co-chaired by Colin Beck (Solomon Islands) and Laurence Mortier (Switzerland).
OTHER AGENDA ITEMS: The following agenda items were briefly considered and forwarded for further consideration to contact groups or informal groups:
- Nairobi Work Programme;
- Methodological guidance for REDD+;
- Impact of the implementation of response measures;
- Technology transfer, and development and implementation of the Technology Mechanism;
- Research and systematic observation;
- Guidelines for domestic MRV of domestically supported NAMAs;
- Revision of the UNFCCC reporting guidelines on annual inventories for Annex I parties;
- Greenhouse gas data interface;
- Land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF);
- Forests in exhaustion;
- The 2013-2015 Review;
- Work programme on clarification of developed countries quantified economy-wide emission reduction targets;
- Scientific, technical and socioeconomic aspects of mitigation; and
- Cooperation with other international organizations.
IN THE CORRIDORS
In a tale of two SB plenaries, the atmosphere varied vastly. SBSTA moved smoothly, albeit slower than some wished, while the SBI plenary barely took a step before being stopped in its tracks. Overall, there was a feeling of frustration – or perhaps boredom – with the lack of progress, possibly caused by the latest SBI procedural wrangling. Two participants labeled this turn of events as “disappointing” as they had hoped for a “focused and productive” SBI session.
One optimistic delegate noted that it is “only the first day,” but others expressed fear “that at this pace we will never reach agreement by 2015.” Heading out to the reception, some delegates remarked that they would do their best to follow the SBI Chair’s advice and “rid themselves of the bad ghosts of the past” to overcome the SBI impasse.