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Daily report for 28 October 1997

7th Session of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies (SB 7)

Delegates to the eighth session of the Ad Hoc Group on the Berlin Mandate (AGBM-8) convened non-group sessions on quantified emission limitation and reduction objectives (QELROs), Article 4.1 and policies and measures (P&Ms). The seventh session of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA-7) held its final session in the afternoon and considered draft conclusions and decisions on: methodological issues; the roster of experts; activities implemented jointly (AIJ); cooperation with relevant international organizations; and transfer of technologies. An NGO briefing was held in the morning.


The Chair of the second QELROs non-group, Bo Kjellén (Sweden), said consultations are underway on a paragraph covering countries with economies in transition. Text on banking and borrowing will be taken up again once the other QELROs group has addressed emission budgets. He said he had made proposals regarding trading and joint implementation. He said the non-group hopes to polish texts and narrow differences so that various elements are easier to fit into a final agreement in Kyoto.

Luiz Gylvan Meira Filho (Brazil), Chair of the first QELROs non-group, said intense activity continued in contact groups. One is considering differentiation, attempting to define criteria rather than a formula, which seems to be "impossible." On the question of using single-year net emissions or a multi-year budget approach, he said the non- group is still struggling with how to deal with different gases. Discussions continue on using greenhouse warming potentials (GWPs) or other mechanisms to account collectively for a number of gases.

Chair Estrada summarized the activity of the non-group on existing commitments under FCCC Article 4.1. He said the negotiations appeared to be in a "time machine" with delegations repeating positions he had heard 30 years ago, the result: "totally nonsense." Developing countries are asking for a specific reference to technology transfer; developed countries are trying to avoid one. In paragraphs relating to financial support, he said delegates were developing a formula to specify which actions warrant full and which incremental support.

On institutions and mechanisms, non-group Chair Takao Shibata (Japan) said the group agreed that the Convention COP should serve as the protocol Meeting of Parties (MOP), and that other Convention bodies should serve a protocol. Specific functions of the MOP are to be decided. Delegates are also discussing whether to use the number of ratifications and/or a percentage of total emissions as the basis for ratification.

Chair Estrada said the non-group on policies & measures (P&Ms) was discussing three main proposals: the EU prefers mandatory P&Ms with consultations to coordinate their implementation; a number of JUSCANZ countries opposes mandatory P&Ms but may retain the ability to select some; and the G-77/CHINA is seeking criteria to ensure developing countries are not negatively affected by P&Ms.


SBSTA considered draft conclusions on development and transfer of technology. Under the draft conclusions, SBSTA: noted the need to accelerate the process of providing information; urged Parties to provide comments on (an) international centre(s) and requested SBI to consider funding options; and agreed to consider at its ninth session additions or amendments to the revised guidelines for national communications. Under the draft decision for COP-3, the COP would, inter alia, request the Secretariat to consult with the GEF and other international organizations on their ability to support the work of (an) international centre(s); requests SBI to consider options for funding (an) international centre(s); and urge Parties to create an enabling environment to further stimulate private sector investment in and transfer of technology.

On methodological issues, delegates considered a draft decision for adoption by COP-3 (FCCC/SBSTA/1997/L.5) under which SBSTA reaffirms that Parties should use the Revised 1996 Guidelines for National GHG inventories of the IPCC. The draft decision also contained bracketed text reaffirming that Global Warming Potentials (GWPs) used by Parties should be those provided by the IPCC. The US proposed removing the brackets. CHINA said the paragraph should be deleted. The Chair noted that the AGBM Chair had requested advice from SBSTA and the substance of the answer is independent of any AGBM outcome. MALAYSIA and the EU said a decision on this should await the outcome of the protocol negotiations. Delegates agreed that no decision should be produced.

Delegates agreed to draft conclusions under which SBSTA requested the Secretariat to prepare a report that identifies the gaps faced by developing countries in research and development on methodologies related to GHG inventories. Following an amendment from the EU, SBSTA further concluded that adjustments, in particular temperature adjustments, to national GHG inventory and projections may be a useful tool for assessing the effectiveness of P&Ms.

SBSTA adopted draft conclusions on the roster of experts. In utilizing the roster, SBSTA requested the Secreteriat, inter alia, to take into account certain criteria such as experts' relevant professional backgrounds and ensuring balanced regional representation. SBSTA also concluded that, to date, "there had not been sufficient experience to fully evaluate the utility of the roster or its use by the Secretariat" and requested further evaluation of the roster for COP-5. SBSTA forwarded the synthesis report on activities implemented jointly (AIJ) to the COP, and recommended a draft decision to be adopted by COP-3 reaffirming decision 5/CP.1 on AIJ under the pilot phase, taking note of the synthesis report and adopting the uniform reporting format contained in document FCCC/SBSTA/1997/INF.3.

On cooperation with international organizations, WMO commented on two documents requested by SBSTA: a report by the Conference on the World Climate Change Research Program and a document that explores ways to further enhance coordination between the work of international organizations. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) reported on its increased cooperation with the COP, particularly through research on the impact of emissions from aircraft engines on climate change.

UNEP introduced a report on the Technology and Economic Assessments Under the Montreal Protocol: Terms of Reference and Future Work. Parties commented on Item 3 (FCCC/SBSTA/1997/8; MISC.6). MONGOLIA and MALAYSIA noted the need to enhance the global observation network. AUSTRALIA said the maintenance of long-term homogenous records are essential for global and regional climate monitoring. He urged the GEF to consider further funding of GHG monitoring. CANADA encouraged Parties to sustain and expand the Global Atmosphere Watch network. The EU recommended that the WMO work with the IPCC and others on network design, harmonization and analysis. He urged the GEF to support developing countries’ observation capacity. The US said the WMO’s concerns about the long term sustainability of the global monitoring system must be taken seriously. UGANDA said the lack of data on Africa was a serious concern. He called on the GEF to assist.

The Chair introduced his draft conclusions on cooperation with relevant international organizations. The US suggested a reference to SBSTA’s desire to give further consideration to observation systems at its next session. On Party submissions for the IPCC TAR, the EU noted that some Parties have already submitted policy-relevant questions. On a list of key issues to be addressed in the TAR (Annex I), CHINA added general suggestions on improving assessments by narrowing the range of uncertainties and indicating the limitations of results, and on the advisory nature of reports. On cooperation with the IPCC (Annex II), the UK introduced amendments to specify the nature of the IPCC’s prompt responses to SBSTA’s requests for input. On observational networks (Annex III), the US introduced two new paragraphs: one recognizing concerns raised by relevant intergovernmental organizations regarding the long term sustainability of observation systems, and a second, incorporating a Canadian addition, requesting that the SBSTA, through the Secretariat and the IPCC, consider the adequacy of observing systems and report to COP-4. With suggestions from UGANDA and MALAYSIA, CANADA introduced a replacement paragraph calling on Parties to provide the necessary resources to reverse the decline in systematic observation networks and support observational system development. SBSTA adopted the report of its seventh session contained in document FCCC/SBSTA/1997/CRP.4.


One coutry presented a regional group's "bubble concept" for group members to share a collective emissions target. A number of Parties objected to the proposal. One Party supported it. No agreement was reached.


The non-group chaired by Bo Kjellén (Sweden) discussed articles on voluntary commitments, national communications, inventories and monitoring of commitments. A group of countries proposed deleting a paragraph on voluntary commitments indicating that these were a disguised form of new commitments for developing countries. A regional group stated that voluntary commitments allowed countries to participate according to their own capacities and capabilities. A comment to the effect that the article would allow developed non-Annex I Parties to take on commitments, met objection by three countries. A sub- paragraph became the chapeau of the article on national communications. Two delegations insisted on the deletion of a sub-paragraph concerning the coordination of expert teams by the Secretariat. A delegation proposed text to the effect that the review process shall provide a thorough and comprehensive assessment of a Party's implementation of the Convention. A proposal by a regional group for "all Parties" to be subject to a periodic review of their commitments, was opposed by one delegation. Some delegates noted some improvement in the general tone of the discussions.


The non-group completed its last meeting at AGBM-8 with agreement only on a chapeau. The non-group Chair presented revised texts for most paragraphs in the AGBM Chair's draft article. Delegates discussion focused on three. In a paragraph on national communications, delegates discussed a number of bracketed alternatives. In the paragraph on national programmes, a group of countries said the paragraph represents new commitments for developing countries. A Party suggested that the text fleshes out existing commitments. One Party objected to text on removing obstacles to the "limitation" of anthropogenic emissions. Another proposed "limitation or abatement in the increase" of emissions.

In a paragraph on reporting, a Party proposed moving the text into a separate protocol article. A group of countries said the paragraph should be divided to define Annex-I and non-Annex-I responsibilities. A regional group objected to separating developed and developing country responsibilities in the paragraph. On the draft article on finance, the non-group discussed various proposals for bracketed portions of the text without reaching consensus.


The non-group on policies and measures (P&Ms) discussed a paragraph suggesting that P&Ms should "minimize adverse effects on other Parties." A group of countries suggested amending the text to "avoid" effects and to list specific climate, economic and trade effects. The group also proposed a reference to a compensation fund for affected developing countries, or a cross-reference to such a fund in the article on QELROs. Other delegations objected to the proposals. A regional group proposed that the P&Ms implementation "take account of" adverse effects. The group also suggested substituting Convention language for a sentence describing actions the MOP might take. The meeting paused so a small group could seek consensus language.


As negotiations in two non-groups wrapped up their work with few agreements, the only statement gaining consensus in the corridors appeared to be "send it to Kyoto." Delegates and observers have reported that negotiators in Bonn are unable, unwilling or without political authority to push major issues beyond the steady and longstanding disagreements that have characterized AGBM-8. Some delegates said it was difficult to expect more at this stage, but others worried that some new strategy was needed to salvage greater progress before the climate negotiations leave town.


NGO Briefing: An NGO briefing will be held at 9:30 am.
SBI: SBI will meet at 10:00 am.
Non-groups: Consult the journal for non-group meetings.

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