Daily report for 19 May 2005

22nd Session of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies (SB 22)

The twenty-second sessions of the Subsidiary Bodies (SB-22) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) opened in Bonn, Germany on Thursday, 19 May, with meetings of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA). In the morning, SBSTA adopted its agenda and organization of work and addressed several methodological issues. In the afternoon, delegates discussed cooperation with relevant international organizations, the development and transfer of technologies, policies and measures among Annex I Parties, research needs relating to the UNFCCC, and implementation of Protocol Article 2.3 (adverse effects of policies and measures). In the evening, two contact groups convened.


OPENING OF THE SESSION: UNFCCC Executive Secretary Joke Waller-Hunter welcomed delegates and conveyed SBSTA Chair Abdullatif Benrageb’s regrets that he was unable to attend. She thanked Amjad Abdulla (Maldives) for chairing the meeting. She observed that SBSTA has a heavy agenda that will contribute to the eleventh Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC and first Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP-11/MOP-1).

Luxembourg, for the EU, urged delegates to build on the positive experience of the Seminar of Governmental Experts, and supported setting in motion deliberations on the post-2012 period. On the SBSTA agenda, he emphasized the item on mitigation, and welcomed discussions on adaptation, aviation and maritime transport.

Jamaica, for the G-77/CHINA, stressed international action on climate change and its linkages with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). She also highlighted issues of adaptation, mitigation and methodological issues. Kenya, for the AFRICA GROUP, pressed for simplified CDM modalities and urgent action on technology transfer and adaptation. Tuvalu, on behalf of the ALLIANCE OF SMALL ISLAND STATES (AOSIS), highlighted adaptation and the needs of small island developing States (SIDS). EGYPT called for increased efforts on mitigation. MALI highlighted the impacts of climate change on least developed countries (LDCs).

ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: Chair Amjad Abdulla introduced the agenda (FCCC/SBSTA/2005/1). SAUDI ARABIA, supported by QATAR, stated that COP decision 10/CP.9 on adaptation should also be reflected in the agenda of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI), and suggested deferring adoption of the SBSTA agenda until the matter was resolved. The EU, G-77/CHINA, AFRICA GROUP, NORWAY, JAPAN, SOUTH AFRICA, NEW ZEALAND, KENYA, TANZANIA and others supported adopting the SBSTA agenda. Chair Abdulla took note of Saudi Arabia’s concerns, and the agenda was adopted. Delegates also accepted Chair Abdulla’s updated proposal for the session’s organization of work.

METHODOLOGICAL ISSUES: Emissions from Fuel Used for International Aviation and Maritime Transport: The UNFCCC Secretariat introduced its updated note on this matter (FCCC/SBSTA/2005/INF.2). The International Civil Aviation Organization then summarized its work in this area. Several Parties underscored the importance of this issue. SAUDI ARABIA questioned whether the UNFCCC report is consistent with the request of SB-21, because it references non-Annex I Parties even though they are not required to report on bunker fuels. José Romero (Switzerland) will chair a contact group on this agenda item.

Implications of CDM Project Activities for the Achievement of Objectives of Other Environmental Conventions and Protocols: The Secretariat recalled COP-10 decision 12/CP.10 requesting SBSTA and the CDM Executive Board to develop a recommendation for COP/MOP-1 on implications for other environmental instruments, particularly the Montreal Protocol, arising from the establishment of new hydrochlorofluorocarbon-22 facilities to earn certified emissions reductions (CERs) for the destruction of hydrofluorocarbon-23.

The EU, supported by ARGENTINA, AOSIS and the US, suggested that the Secretariat invite contributions from the Parties and prepare a paper for SB-23. AOSIS proposed a limit on credits. ARGENTINA noted that some facilities were being moved from developed to developing countries. Chair Abdulla invited Georg Børsting (Norway) to convene a contact group.

Completion of the Technical Guidance on Methodologies for Adjustments under Protocol Article 5.2 (Methodologies for LULUCF): The EU, with AOSIS, welcomed the Secretariat’s document (FCCC/SBSTA/2005/2) as a sound basis to begin discussions and looked forward to completing the work at this session. JAPAN stressed consistency with previous decisions and the need for simplified guidance, taking into account the specific nature of land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF). Noting the possibility of disagreements between review teams and Parties, AUSTRALIA welcomed SBSTA’s discussion on adjustments following completion of the trial period. Audun Rosland (Norway) and Newton Paciornik (Brazil) were requested to co-chair a contact group.

Registry Systems: Murray Ward (New Zealand) presented results from informal negotiations held prior to SBSTA-22 (FCCC/SBSTA/2005/Inf.3), and announced that the international transaction log (ITL) will not be operative before the second half of 2006. He noted that CDM projects cannot participate in the EU carbon market until the ITL is operational, underscoring the Secretariat’s funding needs to complete ITL. Chair Abdulla said informal consultations would be held.

COOPERATION WITH RELEVANT INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS: Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on Safeguarding the Ozone Layer and Global Climate System – Issues Relating to HFCs and PFCs: Susan Solomon and Bert Metz, IPCC, presented the main findings of the new report. Solomon reported that there had been a significant increase in HFC and HCFC concentrations. Metz noted the potential for reducing emissions through, inter alia, recovery, recycling, and containment, and emphasized that although HCFCs and CFC banks are a significant contributor to emissions, there are no regulatory restrictions under either the Montreal or the Kyoto Protocols. Rajendra Pachauri, IPCC Chair, updated delegates on IPCC’s work, including progress on the Special Report on Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage, Guidelines for National GHG Inventories, and the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report. URUGUAY, with KENYA and JAPAN, called for coordinated work between the Montreal Protocol and the UNFCCC, taking into account national circumstances. AUSTRALIA said further consideration by SBSTA was unnecessary and encouraged domestic action.

GREENPEACE highlighted the existence of larger banks than previously thought, which would continue to rise beyond 2015, and urged progressive phase out. Noting that future technology will advance rapidly, the ALLIANCE FOR RESPONSIBLE ATMOSPHERIC POLICY stressed the need for cost-effective reductions. A contact group will be formed.

International Meeting to Review the Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of SIDS: AOSIS noted that the UN General Assembly will consider the Mauritius Strategy during its next session, and proposed that SBSTA consider the Strategy at SBSTA-23. Chair Abdulla said he would prepare draft conclusions.

DEVELOPMENT AND TRANSFER OF TECHNOLOGIES: Chair Abdulla reminded Parties that SBSTA-22 must provide clear guidance and terms of reference for the future work of the Expert Group on Technology Transfer (EGTT). EGTT Chair Kumar Singh (Trinidad and Tobago) reported on the EGTT’s seventh meeting and on future EGTT work. Malaysia, for the G-77/CHINA, said SBSTA should now consider how to meet the needs identified in countries’ technology needs assessments. He called for a full review of all COP decisions relating to technology transfer since COP-1.

The EU noted its pledge of voluntary financial resources to support the EGTT 2005 programme of work, and proposed that Parties request that the EGTT suggests a way forward on public and/or private partnerships, cooperation with relevant conventions, and medium- and long-term planning for the EGTT. Australia, for the UMBRELLA GROUP, noted the emphasis at the recent Seminar of Governmental Experts on mobilizing private sector resources and support for an enabling environment. GHANA underlined the importance of prioritizing countries’ technology assessments. CHINA said the development and transfer of technologies for adaptation and mitigation can yield commercial benefits, but noted man-made barriers to the effective operation of the market. CANADA underlined the benefits of early action on technology transfer, enabling environments and appropriate capacity building. JAPAN noted that the private sector holds most climate-related technologies and stressed the importance of public-private partnerships. A contact group was formed to continue these discussions.

RESEARCH NEEDS RELATING TO THE CONVENTION: Introducing its synthesis of views on issues from the research event at SB-20 (FCCC/SBSTA/2005/3), the Secretariat cited its efforts to look across various agenda items to find relationships among them. The EU, opposed by KENYA, proposed a brief study to identify key policy relevant research issues to be communicated to the research community. SWITZERLAND and AUSTRALIA underscored that duplication of IPCC efforts should be avoided. There was agreement on the need to enhance the capacity of developing countries to contribute to global climate change efforts. SENEGAL and GHANA noted their desire to be more actively involved in a range of research areas. Mar�a Paz Cigaran Tolmos (Peru) and Sergio Castellari (Italy) will chair a contact group on this issue.

POLICIES AND MEASURES: Chair Abdulla drew attention to a document prepared by the Secretariat on options for using web-based approaches to share experiences and exchange information on good practices in policies and measures (FCCC/SBSTA/2004/Inf.10). 

SAUDI ARABIA said he would provide input during the roundtable discussion scheduled for Tuesday morning, 24 May 2005. The EU expressed disappointment that more progress was not made at SBSTA-21, and favored a “prompt start to a smart, low-cost website.” AOSIS noted that exchanges of ideas will help post-2012 discussions. Tony Surridge (South Africa) and Normand Tremblay (Canada) will chair a contact group.

OTHER MATTERS: Issues Relating to the Implementation of Kyoto Protocol Article 2.3 (Adverse Effects of Policies and Measures): Chair Abdulla introduced this issue, noting that little progress had been made in previous discussions. The EU and JAPAN emphasized that these issues are covered by other agenda items, and the EU added that the Article should be considered after COP/MOP-1. Chair Abdulla said he would convene informal consultations.

Global Climate Observing System: Chair Abdulla said he would draft conclusions on the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) for SBSTA’s consideration.


ADJUSTMENTS FOR LULUCF: On Thursday evening, the Contact Group on technical guidance on methodologies for adjustments under the Protocol convened. The Secretariat presented the proposed technical guidance for adjustment of LULUCF estimates, noting that it was built into existing technical guidance. The EU expressed its preference for annual calculations of adjustments and, with AUSTRALIA, RUSSIA, and NEW ZEALAND, called for a trial review period. Discussions will continue in formal and informal meetings co-chaired by Audun Rosland (Norway) and Newton Paciornik (Brazil).

TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER: William Kojo Agyemang-Bonsu (Ghana) and Holger Liptow (Germany) convened a Contact Group to advance discussion on terms of reference to guide EGTT recommendations on enhancing its framework for implementation of a technology transfer framework pursuant to COP decision 6/CP.10. Participants exchanged views on the scope of SBSTA's mandate, which MALAYSIA described as flawed. The US cautioned against producing a universal wish list. CHINA called for a consensus on what constitutes meaningful activity. Co-Chair Liptow invited participants to consider some key words to orient informal discussions on Friday, 20 May.


As SB-22 got underway Thursday morning, there were few signs of the enthusiasm or openness evident at the Seminar of Governmental Experts earlier in the week. Apparently, few delegates expected such enthusiasm. “Business-as-usual” is how one delegate described the day’s session, which began with lengthy disagreements over the adoption of the SBSTA agenda due to initial objections from Saudi Arabia. “Standard delaying tactics,” is how another delegate described the dispute, although some delegates seemed gratified by the G-77/China’s stated position in support of the agenda. For its part, the Saudi delegation was adamant its concerns were genuine.

Meanwhile, one expert pointed out that delegations are smaller at SB-22 than at previous SBs, and speculated on whether Parties are “keeping their powder dry” for COP/MOP-1.

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