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Summary report, 25 October – 5 November 1999


The Fifth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-5) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) met in Bonn, Germany, from 25 October - 5 November 1999. With over 3000 participants in attendance and 165 Parties represented, delegates continued their work toward fulfilling the Buenos Aires Plan of Action (BAPA) adopted at the Fourth Conference of the Parties (COP-4) in November 1998. Under the BAPA, Parties set a two-year deadline for strengthening FCCC implementation and preparing for the future entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol.

During the course of COP-5, the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) were assisted in their work by eight contact groups, a joint SBI/SBSTA working group and numerous informal consultations. During its last two days, COP-5 adopted 32 draft decisions and conclusions. on, inter alia, the review of the implementation of commitments and other FCCC provisions and preparations for the first session of the COP serving as the Meeting of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP/MOP-1). Ninety-three ministers and other heads of delegation addressed COP-5 during a high-level segment held from 2 - 3 November. Delegates completed their work ahead of schedule and generated an “unexpected mood of optimism” in the lead-up to COP-6. After a faltering COP in Buenos Aires, the process recovered vital momentum and began to gather determination and support for a self-imposed deadline for entry into force of the Protocol by 2002.


The FCCC was adopted on 9 May 1992, and was opened for signature at the UN Conference on Environment and Development in June 1992. The FCCC entered into force on 21 March 1994, 90 days after receipt of the 50th ratification. To date, 180 countries have ratified the Convention.

COP-1: The First Conference of the Parties to the FCCC (COP-1) took place in Berlin from 28 March - 7 April 1995. In addition to addressing a number of important issues related to the future of the FCCC, delegates reached agreement on what many believed to be the central issue before COP-1 – adequacy of commitments, the "Berlin Mandate." Delegates agreed to establish an open-ended Ad Hoc Group on the Berlin Mandate (AGBM) to begin a process toward appropriate action for the period beyond 2000, including the strengthening of the commitments of Annex I Parties through the adoption of a protocol or other legal instrument. COP-1 also requested the Secretariat to make arrangements for sessions of the subsidiary bodies on scientific and technological advice (SBSTA) and implementation (SBI). SBSTA serves as the link between the information provided by competent international bodies, and the policy-oriented needs of the COP. SBI was created to develop recommendations to assist the COP in the review and assessment of the implementation of the FCCC and in the preparation and implementation of its decisions.

AD HOC GROUP ON ARTICLE 13: The Ad Hoc Group on Article 13 (resolution of questions regarding implementation) was set up to consider the establishment of a multilateral consultative process (MCP) available to Parties to resolve questions on implementation. At its fifth session, Parties agreed that the MCP should be advisory rather than supervisory in nature and AG13 should complete its work by COP-4.

AD HOC GROUP ON THE BERLIN MANDATE/COP-2: The AGBM met eight times between August 1995 and COP-3 in December 1997. During the first three sessions, delegates focused on analyzing and assessing possible policies and measures to strengthen the commitments of Annex I Parties, how Annex I countries might distribute or share new commitments and whether commitments should take the form of an amendment or protocol. AGBM-4, which coincided with COP-2 in Geneva in July 1996, completed its in-depth analysis of the likely elements of a protocol, and Parties appeared ready to prepare a negotiating text. At AGBM-5, which met in December 1996, delegates recognized the need to decide whether or not to allow mechanisms that would provide Annex I Parties with flexibility in meeting quantified emissions limitation and reduction objectives (QELROs).

As the protocol was drafted during the sixth and seventh sessions of the AGBM, in March and August 1997, respectively, delegates "streamlined" a framework compilation text by merging or eliminating some overlapping provisions within the myriad of proposals. Much of the discussion centered on a proposal from the EU for a 15% emissions cut for a "basket" of three greenhouse gases (GHGs) by the year 2010 compared to 1990 levels. In October 1997, as AGBM-8 began, US President Bill Clinton included a call for "meaningful participation" by developing countries in the negotiating position he announced in Washington. The insistence on G-77/China involvement was linked to the level of ambition acceptable by the US and, in response, the G-77/China distanced themselves from attempts to draw developing countries into agreeing to anything that could be interpreted as new commitments.

COP-3: The Third Conference of the Parties (COP-3) was held from 1-11 December 1997 in Kyoto, Japan. Over 10,000 participants, including representatives from governments, IGOs, NGOs and the media, attended the Conference, which included a high-level segment featuring statements from over 125 ministers. Following a week and a half of intense formal and informal negotiations, including a session that began on the final evening and lasted into the following day, Parties to the FCCC adopted the Kyoto Protocol on 11 December. In the Kyoto Protocol, Annex I Parties to the FCCC agreed to commitments with a view to reducing their overall emissions of six GHGs by at least 5% below 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012. The Protocol also established emissions trading and "joint implementation" (JI) between developed countries, and a "clean development mechanism" (CDM) to encourage joint emissions reduction projects between developed and developing countries. The Protocol will enter into force 90 days after it is ratified by 55 States, including Annex I Parties representing at least 55% per cent of total carbon dioxide emissions by Annex I Parties for 1990. As of 25 October 1999, 84 FCCC Parties had signed the Kyoto Protocol and 16 had ratified it.

POST-KYOTO SUBSIDIARY BODIES MEETINGS: The subsidiary bodies of the FCCC met from 2-12 June 1998 in Bonn. SBSTA-8 agreed to draft conclusions on, inter alia, cooperation with relevant international organizations, methodological issues, and education and training. SBI-8 reached conclusions on, inter alia, Annex I and non-Annex I national communications, the financial mechanism and the second review of adequacy of Annex I Parties’ commitments. At its sixth session, AG13 concluded its work on the functions of the MCP. After joint SBI/SBSTA consideration and extensive contact group debates on the flexibility mechanisms, delegates could only agree to a compilation document containing proposals from the G-77/China, the EU and the US on the issues for discussion and framework for implementation.

COP-4: The Fourth Conference of the Parties (COP-4) was held from 2-13 November 1998 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with over 5,000 participants in attendance. During the two-week meeting, delegates deliberated decisions for the COP during SBI-9 and SBSTA-9. Issues related to the Kyoto Protocol were considered in joint SBI/SBSTA sessions. A high-level segment, which heard statements from over 100 ministers and heads of delegation, was convened on Thursday, 12 November. Following hours of high-level “closed door” negotiations and a final plenary session that concluded early Saturday morning, delegates adopted the Buenos Aires Plan of Action (BAPA). Under the BAPA, the Parties declared their determination to strengthen the implementation of the FCCC and prepare for the future entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol. The Plan contains the Parties’ resolution to demonstrate substantial progress on: the financial mechanism; the development and transfer of technology; the implementation of FCCC Articles 4.8 and 4.9 (adverse effects), as well as Protocol Articles 2.3 and 3.14 (adverse effects); AIJ; the Protocol mechanisms; and preparations for COP/MOP-1.

SBI-10 AND SBSTA-10: The FCCC subsidiary bodies held their tenth sessions in Bonn, Germany, from 31 May - 11 June 1999, and began the process of fulfilling the BAPA. SBSTA considered topics such as Annex I communications, methodological issues and the development and transfer of technology. SBI discussed, inter alia, administrative and financial matters and non-Annex I communications. SBI and SBSTA jointly considered the mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol, AIJ and compliance. A joint SBI/SBSTA Working Group on compliance (JWG) discussed identification of compliance-related elements, including gaps and suitable forums to address them; design of a compliance system; and consequences of non-compliance.


COP-4 President Maria Julia Alsogaray (Argentina) opened COP-5 on Monday, 25 October 1999, and emphasized the need for political will to fulfill the BAPA and allow for the Protocol to enter into force by Rio+10 in 2002.

Jan Szyszko, Poland’s Minister of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry, was then elected President of COP-5. He said the operation of the Protocol mechanisms, compliance, and guidance to COP/MOP-1 should be resolved by COP-6. He noted the need to identify alternatives that lower implementation-related costs for developing countries.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder noted that, despite the establishment of the FCCC, there have been setbacks in the climate process, including the inability of most industrialized countries to reduce their CO2 emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000. He said the Protocol should enter into force in time for Rio+10 in 2002 and urged Parties to implement their pledges in international fora.

FCCC Executive Secretary Michael Zammit Cutajar, on behalf of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, stressed the need for urgent action if the Kyoto commitments are to be met. He called for sensitivity to the needs of vulnerable countries and financial empowerment of developing countries. Assuring the COP of UN support, he said the global community wished to see the CDM activated after COP-6 and the Protocol ratified by 2002.


ADOPTION OF AGENDA: Following the opening statements, the COP adopted its agenda (FCCC/CP/1999/1) with the exception of item 5 relating to the second review of the adequacy of commitments under FCCC Article 4.2(a) and (b) (policies and measures by Annex I Parties), following objections to the title by the G-77/CHINA, who preferred to substitute it with the “review of adequacy of implementation of FCCC Articles 4.2(a) and (b).” It also adopted the proposed organization of its work (FCCC/CP/1999/1/Add.1).

On Friday, 5 November, President Szyszko reported that no agreement had been reached during informal consultations convened to resolve item 5. The COP adopted the agenda including item 5 as it stood, and recorded the amendment proposed by the G-77/CHINA in a footnote. President Szyszko said this item would be taken up by COP-6 in accordance with the provisional rules of procedure, and gaveled the adoption of this decision. The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) expressed concern about this decision and said there was no excuse for the COP not to carry out this review. The EU made a distinction between FCCC Article 4.2(d) (review of the adequacy of commitments), which is the way forward for the COP to operate a review of Article 4.2(a) and (b) on a regular basis, and FCCC Article 7.2 (review of FCCC implementation), which covers the review of implementation of the current commitments. She added that the IPCC Third Assessment Report should serve as the basis for assessing the level of GHG that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system and the time frame to reach stabilization of GHG in the atmosphere at that level.

STATUS OF RATIFICATION: Delegates considered the status of ratification of the FCCC and the Kyoto Protocol in Plenary, noting that 179 States and one regional economic integration organization were Parties to the FCCC, and that 16 of these had ratified or acceded to the Kyoto Protocol.

RULES OF PROCEDURE: President Szyszko noted during the opening Plenary that Parties had yet to reach a consensus on the rules of procedure. The COP decided to apply the draft rules (FCCC/CP/1996/2) used in previous sessions, with the exception of draft rule 42 (voting). President Szyzsko reported back to the COP on Thursday, 4 November, that, despite informal consultations, consensus on the rules had not been achieved. Delegates agreed to defer the issue to COP-6.

ELECTION OF OFFICERS: The COP elected its Bureau members. The Vice Presidents elected were: Liu Zhenmin (China), Papa Cham (the Gambia), Yvo de Boer (Netherlands), Tuiloma Neroni Slade (Samoa), Mohammad Salem Al-Sabban (Saudi Arabia), Philip Gwage (Uganda), and Olexander Bielov (Ukraine). The COP elected Antonio José Vallim Guerreiro (Brazil) as Rapporteur, John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda) as Chair of SBI and Harald Dovland (Norway) as Chair of SBSTA.

ADMISSION OF OBSERVERS AND ORGANIZATION OF WORK: COP-5 admitted as observers two IGOs and 36 NGOs (FCCC/CP/1999/4 and Add.1).

DATE AND VENUE OF COP-6: The date and venue of COP-6 was considered by the SBI on Wednesday, 27 October, and Monday, 1 November. During SBI discussions, the G-77/CHINA proposed holding COP-6 in November 2000, while the US, with CANADA, AUSTRALIA and NEW ZEALAND, preferred early 2001. The COP adopted a decision (FCCC/CP/1999/L.9) on Thursday, 4 November, that accepts the Netherlands’ offer to host COP-6, and decides that the meeting will be held in The Hague from 13 - 24 November 2000.

CALENDAR OF MEETINGS, 2000 - 2003: The calendar of meetings for FCCC bodies for 2000-2003 (FCCC/CP/1999/L.12) was adopted by the COP on Thursday, 4 November, following recommendation to the COP by SBI on Monday, 1 November. The calendar sets three sessional periods for 2000: 12-16 June and 11-15 September, each preceded by week-long informal meetings, followed by COP-6 in November. Two sessional periods are scheduled for each of the following years to 2003.


ANNEX I COMMUNICATIONS: Guidelines for the Preparation of National Communications from Annex I Parties: This item was considered by SBI and SBSTA and referred to a joint working group. SBI and SBSTA adopted draft conclusions on Monday, 1 November, and the COP adopted a decision on Thursday 4, November.

SBSTA considered this sub-item on Monday, 25 October. The EU noted the need to include indicators such as emissions per capita or emissions per unit of output. Regarding the draft guidance for reporting on global climate observation systems, the EU, with MONGOLIA, recommended that Annex I Parties prepare a separate report and include in their national communications a summary based on general reporting requirements. AUSTRALIA suggested that projections of the effect of policies and measures on future trends of GHG emissions and removals be developed by sector. The MARSHALL ISLANDS and JAMAICA supported detailed and rigorous reporting. The US said the quantity and level of detail should balance needs for comparability, transparency and practicality. A joint SBI-SBSTA contact group chaired by Jim Penman (UK) and Mark Mwandosya (Tanzania) was established to consider Part II of the guidelines.

On Wednesday, 27 October, SBI decided to consider the guidelines for the preparation of national communications from Annex I Parties after SBSTA had arrived at conclusions on the revisions to Part II of the guidelines.

The joint contact group met from 26-29 October. Delegates agreed to delete the section on coverage and the EU submitted a proposal to restructure the section on national circumstances. On the selection of policies and measures, the group agreed on the differentiation of policies “adopted,” “implemented” and at a “planning stage,” for reporting purposes and called for definitions of these terms.

On the projections and the total effect of policies and measures, delegates invited the Chair to settle the terminology of projections “without measures,” since these were unusual terms compared to “business as usual,” and misleading, as they seemed to exclude consideration of policies and measures implemented prior to the starting point of the projection. On financial resources, issues raised included whether to provide details of measures or detailed information of the activities undertaken to implement Annex I commitments and how to format the reports.

On Saturday, 30 October, the joint contact group concluded its work and agreed to forward the Chair’s draft conclusions containing a draft decision on Part II of the guidelines on national communications to the SBSTA.

SBSTA considered the draft conclusions on Monday, 1 November, and amended a paragraph calling on Parties to report on significant technology transfer success stories, to also include reference to failures. On the same day, SBI agreed to recommend the draft decision for adoption by COP-5.

COP-5 adopted the draft decision on Part II of the guidelines (FCCC/CP/1999/L.3) and the addendum containing the guidelines (FCCC/CP/1999/L.3/Add.1) on Thursday, 4 November. In the decision, the COP, inter alia: decides that Part II of the guidelines should be used for the preparation of third national communications; requests Annex I Parties to provide a detailed report on their activities in relation to systematic observation; and urges Annex II Parties to assist Parties with economies in transition (EITs) with technical aspects in preparing national communications.

The COP also adopted the draft decision recommended by SB-10, on Part I (annual inventories) of the FCCC guidelines for the preparation of national communications by Annex I Parties (FCCC/CP/1999/L.2) together with an addendum containing the guidelines (FCCC/SBSTA/1999/6/Add.1). In the decision, the COP, inter alia: decides that Part I of the guidelines should be used beginning in the year 2000; and decides that these guidelines shall be considered by SBSTA-15 with a view to a decision for consideration by COP-7.

Guidelines for the Technical Reviews of GHG Inventories: The SBI considered this sub-item on Monday, 25 October, and agreed that it should be considered by the joint contact group on national communications from Annex I Parties. On Wednesday, 27 October, the joint contact group decided to refer consideration of the technical review guidelines to a smaller group.

On Saturday, 30 October, the joint contact group considered and adopted the SBI draft conclusions on these guidelines, including a draft decision to which the guidelines are annexed. On Thursday, 4 November, the COP adopted the draft decision recommended by SBI (FCCC/CP/1999/L.11) and the addendum containing the guidelines (FCCC/CP/1999/L.11/Add.1) after CHINA amended the text to state that the purpose of the technical review is to assist “Annex I Parties” instead of “all Parties” in gaining experience relevant to the preparation of guidelines related to Protocol Articles 5 (methodology), 7 (communication) and 8 (review of information). The objective of these guidelines is, inter alia, to promote consistency in the review of annual GHG inventories of Annex I Parties and to establish a process for a thorough and comprehensive technical assessment of inventories.

NON-ANNEX I COMMUNICATIONS: On Monday, 25 October, SBI considered non-Annex I communications. A contact group, chaired by Mohamed Mahmoud Ould el Ghaouth (Mauritania), met several times from 26 October - 1 November. The COP considered and adopted the draft conclusions recommended by SBI on Thursday, 4 November.

On obstacles to producing non-Annex I communications, the G-77/CHINA called for provision of adequate financial resources, technical assistance and capacity building to support non-Annex I Parties in collecting data and identifying national emissions factors and methodologies for adaptation assessment. The EU, opposed by CHINA, said the Global Environment Facility (GEF) had provided most non-Annex I Parties with funding for national communications. UZBEKISTAN noted that constraints included lack of research and data on emissions factors. IRAN noted that countries have needs determined by their unique circumstances.

On the advantages of producing non-Annex I communications, the G-77/CHINA said that despite difficulties in identifying significant trends, the synthesis of initial non-Annex I communications was a first step in considering information related to FCCC implementation by non-Annex I Parties. The EU, CANADA and MICRONESIA noted the usefulness of the compilation and synthesis report in better understanding the difficulties faced by non-Annex I Parties.

The G-77/CHINA opposed changing the guidelines for non-Annex I communications, as many non-Annex I countries have not finalized their first communications. AOSIS noted the need to modify IPCC guidelines for small island developing States (SIDS) because they are not always applicable to their special circumstances. Since many countries had expressed an interest in initiating second national communications, the EU said guidelines should be reviewed. SWITZERLAND said there is a need for one unified reporting format for all FCCC Parties and for the use of IPCC guidelines.

The G-77/CHINA called for the involvement of non-Annex I Party experts in preparing non-Annex I communications. The EU and others highlighted the need for expert review and consideration of non-Annex I communications. AOSIS opposed technical assessment processes for individual national communications. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA added that expert review teams should focus on identifying solutions to obstacles in preparing communications.

On the timing of second national communications, the G-77/ CHINA noted that there is a differentiated timetable under the FCCC for submission of national communications by Annex I and non-Annex I Parties. She said submissions of non-Annex I Parties’ communications were contingent on the availability of financial resources. The US, supported by CANADA and SWITZERLAND and opposed by CHINA, said the revision of guidelines was fundamental to improving second national communications.

On Tuesday, 26 October, the contact group discussed proposals submitted by the EU and the G-77/China. The G-77/CHINA, opposed by the EU and others, said its proposal should serve as the basis for the group’s discussions. Some delegates proposed identification of common elements between the two proposals. The G-77/CHINA, supported by others, drew attention to contentious elements, including technical assessments of non-Annex I communications contained in the EU proposal. She questioned the purpose, nature and usefulness of these assessments. The EU and others said the purpose of technical assessments is to improve non-Annex I communications. The group agreed to work on a Co-Chairs’ compilation text.

On Monday, 1 November, SBI considered and adopted the draft recommendations on matters related to consideration of non-Annex I communications, which includes the terms of reference of the consultative group of experts (CGE) on non-Annex I national communications. INDIA and CHINA proposed deletion of a paragraph that calls on the CGE to consider steps taken or envisaged by the Party to implement the FCCC. The recommendations were adopted without amendment. Delegates also adopted the Chair’s draft conclusions on the provision of financial and technical support for non-Annex I national communications.

COP-5 adopted the decision on other matters related to non-Annex I communications (FCCC/CP/1999/L.10/Add.1/Rev.1) on Thursday, 4 November. The decision states, inter alia:

  • the consideration of non-Annex I communications shall be carried out in accordance with the relevant provisions of decision 12/CP.4 (non-Annex I communications);
  • the guidelines for the preparation of initial non-Annex I communications contained in decision 10/CP.2 (non-Annex I communications), together with guidance provided to the GEF, shall continue to be valid for all initial communications; and
  • the COP agrees to begin a process of reviewing the guidelines for the preparation of national communications with the aim of improving them by COP-7.

The COP also decides to:

  • establish a CGE on non-Annex I communications with the objective of improving these communications, as set out in an annex;
  • reconsider at COP-7 the terms of reference of the CGE; and
  • request the FCCC Secretariat to facilitate the work of the consultative group.

The CGE terms of reference attached to the decision state that, inter alia: the CGE will have the aim to improve the preparation process of non-Annex I communications; the CGE will be composed of experts, five of whom will be drawn from Africa, five from Asia, five from Latin America and the Caribbean, and six from Annex I Parties; and up to three experts from organizations with relevant experience will be selected by the Secretariat. The group is mandated to, inter alia: exchange experiences and information on the preparation of non-Annex I communications; identify non-Annex I Parties’ technical and financial needs and the difficulties they face; and facilitate and support the preparation of their national communications.

The COP also adopted a draft decision on the first compilation and synthesis of initial communications from non-Annex I Parties (FCCC/CP/1999/L.10) forwarded by SBI-10. This decision requests: non-Annex I Parties which have not submitted their initial communications within three years of entry into force of the FCCC, to do so as soon as possible; the Secretariat to prepare the second compilation and synthesis of initial non-Annex I communications, and to make that report available to SB-14 with a view to its consideration by COP-6; and the Secretariat to report on problems encountered in using the guidelines for the preparation of initial communications by non-Annex I Parties with a view to enhancing further their comparability and focus. The decision also concludes that, inter alia, non-Annex I Parties are fulfilling their commitments under FCCC Article 4.1(a) (comparable methodologies) and following the FCCC guidelines. It points to the need to maintain and enhance national capacity in non-Annex I Parties in order to prepare initial communications.

CAPACITY BUILDING: This agenda item was considered in a joint SBI/SBSTA session on 26 October and in a contact group that met four times from 27-30 October. The contact group considered the Co-Chairs’ proposal for a draft decision on capacity building that was based on a G-77/China proposal and incorporated submissions from the EU and other Annex I Parties.

Many delegates welcomed the G-77/CHINA proposal for a draft decision on capacity building (FCCC/SBSTA/1999/MISC.9) for developing countries, which contains a list of developing country needs, as a basis for adopting a decision at COP-5. The G-77/China draft decision called on the COP to, inter alia: conduct capacity building activities in and for developing countries; provide the necessary financial and technical support to strengthen national focal points; promote climate-related research and studies; and promote capacity building of national institutions and expertise. It further requests the Secretariat to, inter alia, prepare a plan to facilitate capacity building for developing countries. It underscored the importance of workshops being undertaken with the participation of developing countries.

In discussing the G-77/China proposal, delegates highlighted, inter alia: the inclusion of EITs in capacity-building activities (EU, KAZAKHSTAN); that capacity building be “for,” “by” and “in” developing countries (the PHILIPPINES); the need for a coordinated response among existing efforts in capacity building (CANADA); the lack of utility in holding short workshops, as developing countries need continuous ones (CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC); and the identification of non-Annex I Parties’ needs by analyzing their national communications (EU). AUSTRALIA, CANADA, JAPAN and UZBEKISTAN said that capacity building was necessary to take full advantage of the CDM.

Regarding the process of capacity building, a number of developing countries said it should be country driven rather than agency driven and must follow the guidance of the COP.

The meeting decided to continue the deliberations in a contact group co-chaired by SBI Chair John Ashe and Dan Reifsnyder (US). The contact group discussed whether: to use the draft as a basis for negotiation; if EITs should be included in the draft decision; and whether capacity building is a prerequisite for meaningful developing country participation.

On Wednesday 3 November, the joint SBI/SBSTA agreed to recommend COP-5 to adopt the Co-Chairs’ two proposals for draft decisions on capacity building for developing countries and for EITs. The MARSHALL ISLANDS expressed its reservation on the request to the Secretariat to coordinate with bilateral and multilateral institutions in preparing the elements of a draft framework for capacity building activities, since this would be a top-down approach. The COP adopted these draft decisions on 4 November.

The decision for capacity building in developing countries (FCCC/CP/1999/L.19), inter alia: recognizes the constraints in developing countries to implementing the Convention and, in particular, the special capacity-building needs of the least developed countries (LDCs) and SIDS; emphasizes that capacity building is a continuous process; and states that capacity building for developing countries must be country-driven, reflecting national initiatives and priorities. COP-5 decided that: financial and technical support for capacity building in developing countries should be provided through the financial mechanism and bilateral and multilateral agencies; existing capacity building activities and programmes should be comprehensively assessed to determine their effectiveness and identify gaps and weaknesses in ongoing efforts; and developing countries’ special needs should be further elaborated. The decision outlines issues to be considered in the assessment, including ways and means for capacity building to strengthen FCCC national focal points, build expertise and strengthen institutions, and conduct training, seminars and exchange programmes for the personnel of developing country institutions.

The decision on capacity building for EITs (FCCC/CP/1999/L.20) states that, inter alia: financial and technical support for capacity building in EITs should be provided through bilateral and multilateral channels and the private sector; existing programmes and activities should be comprehensively assessed to determine their effectiveness and identify gaps and weaknesses; and the special needs of EITs should be elaborated.

Both decisions further invite concerned Parties to identify their needs and priorities for capacity building, and request the Secretariat to compile and synthesize the information and, based on the information and in consultation with the Parties, develop a draft framework for capacity-building activities.

DEVELOPMENT AND TRANSFER OF TECHNOLOGIES: Consultative Process: This agenda item was considered by SBSTA on Wednesday, 27 October. Delegates expressed appreciation of the African regional workshop organized as part of the consultative process to advance the understanding of technology transfer under the Convention.

Bert Metz, IPCC Working Group III Co-Chair, outlined the special report on technology transfer, which stresses that effective transfer of environmentally-sound technologies (ESTs) requires an integrated approach based on networking among stakeholders within a sustainable development framework. He said actions to enhance technology transfer are specific to sectors, national circumstances and stakeholders.

Several Parties said technology transfer should be driven by the private sector. AUSTRALIA, the US and the EU highlighted the potential role of the CDM in technology transfer. The PHILIPPINES, with SAUDI ARABIA and CHINA, stressed that technology transfer was a commitment under the FCCC and opposed linking it to the CDM. CHINA said technology transfer under the Protocol should be additional to that under the FCCC. The PHILIPPINES called for information on technology transfer activities in Annex I communications. AOSIS stressed addressing adaptation technologies. SWITZERLAND underscored consideration of specific national circumstances.

The COP adopted SBSTA’s draft conclusions and a decision (FCCC/CP/1999/L.5) on Thursday, 4 November. The COP decided to, inter alia, extend the consultative process until COP-6 and invite non-Annex I Parties to report on their technology needs in their national communications. It also called on Annex II Parties to report on technology transfer activities.

Ways and Means of Limiting Hydrofluorocarbons and Perfluorocarbons: On Thursday, 28 October, delegates considered the report on the meeting of the IPCC and the Montreal Protocol’s Technical and Economic Assessment Panel on ways and means of limiting hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and perfluorocarbons (PFCs). The meeting highlighted, inter alia: the complexity of links between ozone depletion and climate change mitigation activities; the multiplicity of solutions required to address these global change issues; and the desirability of solutions tailored to regional or national needs.

GREENPEACE called for action to avoid dumping potentially harmful technologies in developing countries. ARGENTINA and others called for attention to the medical use of HFCs in metered dose inhalers.

Following informal consultations conducted by Andrej Kranjc (Slovenia), COP-5 adopted a decision on the relationship between efforts to protect the stratospheric ozone layer and efforts to safeguard the global climate system on Thursday, 4 November. In this decision (FCCC/CP/1999/L.6), the COP: invites each Party to give consideration to the information available on the ways and means of limiting emissions of HFCs and PFCs taking into account, inter alia, health, medical, environmental and safety considerations, energy efficiency and associate emissions in CO2 equivalent and technical and economic considerations; requests the IPCC to take into account this information in the TAR; and requests SBSTA to further consider aspects of this issue at its first session following COP-6.

Coastal Adaptation Technologies: On Thursday, 28 October, SBSTA considered the technical paper on coastal adaptation technologies and submissions by Parties regarding options to accelerate and sustain the development and transfer of coastal adaptation technologies. AOSIS stressed SIDS’ vulnerability and underscored the need to develop long-term approaches to adaptation in the Convention’s context. He noted that financial and human resources limitations have stifled progress in adaptation and highlighted the potential of the CDM in this regard.

COP-5 endorsed the SBSTA conclusions (FCCC/1999/SBSTA/L.21), which: note the need to develop endogenous capacities, technologies and know-how to enable Parties to evaluate and implement appropriate adaptation strategies; recognize that such technologies are important to countries vulnerable to sea-level rise; and state that further work on such technologies, including their transfer, should be considered as part of the transfer of technology consultative process.

Other Matters Relating to Development and Transfer of Technology: On Thursday, 28 October, the FCCC Secretariat reported to SBSTA on its cooperative activities aimed at improving the climate data from reporting systems. In its conclusions (FCCC/SBSTA/1999/L.18), SBSTA called on the Secretariat to continue its collaboration with the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee to provide comprehensive data.

ADVERSE EFFECTS: On Tuesday, 26 October, a joint SBI/SBSTA session considered matters related to FCCC Articles 4.8 and 4.9 and Protocol Article 3.14 (adverse effects).

Chair Kok Kee Chow (Malaysia) reported on a workshop on implementation of FCCC Articles 4.8 and 4.9 held from 21-24 September 1999 in Bonn. Many delegates said the workshop was a useful exercise. The G-77/CHINA said it had highlighted the need for another workshop prior to COP-6.

Regarding information gaps on adverse effects, the MARSHALL ISLANDS called for more robust research on policies and measures in Annex I countries. AUSTRALIA, with CANADA and the GAMBIA, said the absence of information on the effect of policies and measures should not be an obstacle to meeting the needs of the truly vulnerable. SENEGAL called for evaluation of vulnerability in Africa by COP-6.

On the impact of response measures on the economies of oil producing and other countries, SAUDI ARABIA referred to recent studies suggesting oil producing countries will suffer economically from response measures and, with KUWAIT and LIBYA, said developed countries should remove market distortions in the energy sector. The US said there was uncertainty over the impact of implementation of response measures. JAPAN and the MARSHALL ISLANDS said consideration of compensation was unacceptable, since it is not provided for in the FCCC or the Protocol. A contact group co-chaired by Bo Kjéllen (Sweden) and Mohammad Reza Salamat (Iran) was convened on this issue. The group met several times from 27 October to 4 November.

Co-Chair Salamat presented the Co-Chairs’ draft decision on Saturday, 30 October, and on Tuesday, 2 November, the group considered the draft text. Divergence of views focused on: whether to “establish” or “continue” a process for the further implementation of FCCC Articles 4.8 and 4.9; what the process was about; whether it should be assessed by the Parties “annually,” “periodically,” “on a “regular basis” or “by COP-6 and subsequent COPs, as appropriate;” whether there should be one or two workshops in 2000; and what topics the workshop[s] should address. A proposal requesting Annex I Parties to report on initial actions undertaken to implement FCCC Articles 4.8 and 4.9 was discussed. Some delegates considered that non-Annex I Parties should also be requested to report on these actions.

The COP adopted the a draft decision on FCCC Articles 4.8 and 4.9 and Protocol Article 3.14 (FCCC/CP/1999/L.22) on Thursday, 4 November. The decision recognizes that the identification of initial actions necessary to address the adverse effects of climate change and/or the impact of the implementation of response measures needs to be based on sufficient information and analysis within a clearly defined process. The COP decided that the process of implementation of FCCC Articles 4.8 and 4.9, as established by decisions 3/CP.3 and 5/CP.4, should, inter alia, continue and gather information on initial actions needed to address the specific needs and concerns of developing countries and LDCs arising from climate change and/or the impact of the implementation of response measures, as well as identify what actions are necessary under the Convention relating to funding, insurance and transfer of technology to meet the specific needs and concerns of developing countries and LDCs. It further decides that SB-12 shall continue consideration of the implementation of FCCC Articles 4.8 and 4.9, including consideration of the extent of developing countries’ efforts to diversify their national economies and of how the international community could best support such efforts. The COP decided to organize two workshops under the guidance of the SB Chairs: one on the consideration of initial actions needed to meet developing countries’ and LDCs’ specific needs and concerns arising from the adverse effects of climate change; and another workshop on the methodological approaches and actions that are necessary to address the impact of the implementation of response measures on, inter alia, terms of trade, international capital flows and development efforts. The two workshops shall be organized in two consecutive but equal time periods, before 31 March 2000.

ACTIVITIES IMPLEMENTED JOINTLY (AIJ): Delegates discussed issues related to AIJ under the pilot phase, first in a joint SBI/SBSTA session and later in five sessions of a joint SBSTA/SBI contact group chaired by Yvo de Boer (Netherlands). Delegates considered draft decisions submitted by the Chair, the EU and the G-77/China.

In the joint SBI/SBSTA session on Tuesday, 26 October, the G-77/CHINA underlined the imbalance of the geographical distribution of pilot projects and urged extension of the pilot phase. JAPAN, supported by the EU, said the experience gained is sufficient for a comprehensive review. With POLAND, he stressed that an AIJ project should be eligible under JI or the CDM if it meets the criteria for eligibility and if the Parties involved agree to do so. The US proposed exploring the eligibility of AIJ projects under the CDM or JI. AOSIS and others opposed linking AIJ to the Protocol mechanisms. BOTSWANA said introducing crediting would confuse the process. The EU and SWITZERLAND, opposed by AOSIS, BOTSWANA and IRAN, proposed that AIJ be credited retroactively. AOSIS drew attention to the inaccuracies, under-reporting and procedural complications that make it inappropriate to credit retroactively. The US identified the lack of crediting and capacity in the host countries and high transaction costs for small projects as barriers in the pilot phase. SWITZERLAND and AUSTRALIA said that without credit, industries would be cautious about AIJ. IRAN noted the absence of criteria for assessing and elaborating the benefits of AIJ projects and said these were subject to different interpretations. He called for a continuation of the pilot phase without preconditions or credits. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA said that since most AIJ projects are financed through official funds like ODA and the GEF, credit certification should be treated carefully. The AFRICAN GROUP underscored the need to involve local communities in the design and execution of such projects.

Discussion in the contact group centered on, inter alia, whether: to continue the review beyond this session; to continue the pilot phase and, if so, in what form; the group should take decisions or make recommendations about the eligibility of AIJ to become CDM or JI; and the issue of eligibility should be discussed by the contact group on mechanisms.

On Friday, 29 October, Chair de Boer presented a proposal for a draft decision on AIJ that he said took into account the differences of opinion expressed. The EU also introduced its draft proposal that sought to stop the non-credited pilot phase and start an AIJ phase with possible crediting, subject to decision-making in the negotiation on the mechanisms. On Saturday, 30 October, the G-77/CHINA tabled its proposed draft decision whereby the COP decides to conclude the review process and take a conclusive decision on the pilot phase and the progression beyond that at COP-6. This draft decision included bracketed text on the eligibility of AIJ under CDM and JI. After lengthy deliberations both in the contact group and in informal consultations, Parties agreed to a decision that the COP adopted on Thursday, 4 November. The decision (FCCC/CP/1999/L.13), inter alia: concludes the review process; continues the AIJ pilot phase beyond the end of the present decade, without prejudice to future decisions; and requires Parties to provide proposals to improve the draft revised uniform reporting format, and the Secretariat to prepare a draft revision for SB-13.

OTHER MATTERS: Research and Systematic Observation: SBSTA considered research and systematic observation on 27-28 October. The Global Climate Observation System (GCOS) reported on progress in enhancing global observatory systems and noted that deficiencies are a result of inadequate equipment, poor infrastructure and insufficient funding. The GEF pledged additional funds to build observational capacity for certain developing countries. Following subsequent informal consultations conducted by Susan Barrell (Australia), and SBSTA consideration, the COP adopted a draft decision (FCCC/CP/1999/L.4) on Thursday, 4 November. The decision, inter alia: recognizes the need to identify priority capacity-building needs relating to participation in systematic observation; invites the GCOS Secretariat, in consultation with relevant bodies, to organize regional workshops; invites the GCOS Secretariat to continue to assist in establishing an intergovernmental process to identify priorities for action to improve global observing systems, and to report back at SBSTA-12; adopts the FCCC reporting guidelines on global climate observing systems; and invites Parties to report on systematic observation in accordance with these guidelines, in conjunction with national communications for Annex I Parties, and on a voluntary basis for non-Annex I Parties. COP-5 also adopted the addendum containing the guidelines (FCCC/CP/1999/L.4/Add.1).

Proposal by Brazil: On Wednesday, 27 October, SBSTA considered the scientific and methodological aspects of the proposal from Brazil, which attempts to allocate responsibilities among different GHG emitters based on their actions as measured by the increase in global temperatures, rather than by emissions. Several delegates supported the concept of differentiated responsibilities, while a number noted that further scientific analysis would be useful. The EU and PERU, opposed by MALAYSIA, said the issue should be considered as part of IPCC’s TAR. Following informal consultations, SBSTA adopted draft conclusions on this matter, and on Thursday, 4 November, COP-5 took note of the draft conclusions (FCCC/SBSTA/1999/L.13/Rev.1). The conclusions state that SBSTA, inter alia, takes note of a revised version of the proposal by Brazil and decides to consider any new information on this issue at subsequent sessions, as appropriate.

Cooperation with the IPCC: Following consideration by SBSTA, during which delegates debated the GEF’s funding role in relation to the IPCC, the COP adopted a draft decision on cooperation with the IPCC (FCCC/CP/1999/L.18) on Thursday, 4 November. The decision: expresses the COP’s appreciation to the IPCC for its high quality work; notes with concern the IPCC’s urgent appeal for additional resources; urges Parties and other organizations to contribute financial support to enable the IPCC to complete its TAR and special reports; and invites SBI-12 to consider the matter of support for the IPCC, in the context of recommending additional guidance to the GEF.

Emissions from International Transportation: On Thursday, 4 November, COP-5 adopted a draft decision on emissions based on fuel sold to ships and aircraft engaged in international transport (FCCC/CP/1999/L.17). The decision emerged following discussions in SBSTA and extensive informal consultations conducted over several days by José Romero (Switzerland). The final decision, inter alia, expresses its appreciation for and welcomes the Special Report on Aviation and the Global Atmosphere and requests the SBSTA to continue its work on methodological issues relevant to this matter.


COP-5 considered proposals to amend FCCC Annex I and II relating to Turkey and Kazakhstan. Delegates to COP-5 first considered the proposal by Pakistan and Azerbaijan to delete the name of Turkey from Annexes I and II of the FCCC in Plenary on Wednesday, 27 October. The US, MEXICO and GEORGIA supported the proposal. The MARSHALL ISLANDS expressed concern about the precedent it would set. On Friday, 1 November, President Szyszko announced to the COP that, in spite of informal consultations undertaken during previous days, Parties’ positions had not changed and consensus remained elusive. The COP decided to defer consideration of this matter to COP-6.

Delegates also considered a proposal from Kazakhstan to be included in the list in FCCC Annex I. Several Annex I Parties welcomed the proposal, while several non-Annex I Parties said further information was needed on Kazakhstan’s ability to fulfill Annex I commitments. In spite of informal consultations on the proposal, consensus was not achieved, and on its final day, the COP requested COP-6 to take up the matter.


On Thursday, 4 November, delegates adopted in Plenary a decision proposed by President Szyszko on implementation of the BAPA (FCCC/CP/1999/L.14), based on the views expressed during the high-level segment. Szyszko said this decision reflected the will of the COP to engage in intensified negotiations in order to implement the BAPA. SAUDI ARABIA said he could not accept negotiations taking place outside the FCCC bodies and opposed the appointment of facilitators.

The decision: requests the subsidiary bodies to intensify the preparatory work required to enable it to take decisions at COP-6 on issues included in the BAPA; requests the President, with the Bureau’s assistance, to provide guidance to the subsidiary bodies, take all necessary steps to intensify the negotiating process on all issues, and recommend an effective organization of the work of COP-6; and invites all Parties to contribute substantially and, as appropriate, financially, to the preparatory work, including supporting adequate participation of developing countries, particularly LDCs and SIDS.

LULUCF: On Monday, 25 October, SBSTA initiated consideration of land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF). IPCC Chair Robert Watson presented provisional findings from the Special Report on LULUCF. He said key decisions should be made with respect to definitions, the accounting system, monitoring and reporting systems and inventory guidelines, before the Protocol could be implemented. The G-77/CHINA said any consideration of the LULUCF process should begin after the release of the IPCC Special Report. AUSTRALIA stressed that the key question is not “whether” but “how” additional sink activities could be included in the Protocol. CANADA said the decision-making framework should be based on consistency between the provisions of the Protocol.

Regarding additional activities, the US said there should be transparency in reporting and verifiability. The EU said the IPCC Special Report and country specific data should provide the basis for future discussions and decisions.

A contact group, co-chaired by Halldor Thorgeirsson (Iceland) and Philip Gwage (Uganda), was convened to consider LULUCF-related issues. The group met several times between 27 October and 1 November. Differing views were expressed on, inter alia: the sequence of activities in the lead-up to SBSTA-12 and how they inter-relate; presentation and transmission of the IPCC Special Report to SBSTA-12; timing for submissions and consideration of criteria and guiding principles for data on additional activities; timing for submissions and proposals for definitions on activities under Article 3.3; and timing for and types of country-specific data. The group decided to base its discussions on draft conclusions that contained a work programme proposed by the G-77/CHINA. The group read through the text and established a drafting group to work on it.

On Monday, 1 November, the contact group agreed on the draft conclusions, which were then adopted by SBSTA on Wednesday, 3 November 1999. The COP adopted the draft decision (FCCC/CP/1999/L.16) on Thursday, 4 November, endorsing a work programme and elements of a decision-making framework to address LULUCF with a view to COP-6 recommending that COP/MOP-1 adopt draft decisions on Protocol Articles 3.3 (net changes in emissions and removals) and 3.4 (additional human-induced activities relating to changes in emissions and removals).

The work programme calls for, inter alia:

  • consideration of the IPCC Special Report on LULUCF at SBSTA-12, with an in-depth report at that session;
  • the convening of a special side event on the IPCC Special Report;
  • further consideration of the initial criteria and guiding principles for the identification and selection of activities under Protocol Article 3.4;
  • submissions from Parties by 1 August 2000 with views or proposals for definitions, on activities under Protocol Article 3.3, for consideration by SBSTA-13;
  • submissions from Parties on the methodologies that they intend to use to measure and report on net changes in GHGs resulting from these activities, measured as verifiable changes in carbon stocks, resulting from activities under Protocol Article 3.3;
  • submissions by Annex I Parties of preliminary data and information as specified in the first sentence of Article  3.4; and
  • submissions by Parties as to how and which human-induced activities will be included under Protocol Article 3.4, on modalities, rules and guidelines related to these activities for consideration by SBSTA-13.

Submissions by Annex I Parties on Article 3.4 should include a list of additional activities that each individual Party is proposing for inclusion and national data and an assessment of changes in GHG emissions and removals, associated with each activity each Party is proposing to include.

MECHANISMS: Delegates discussed issues related to the Protocol mechanisms initially in a joint SBI/SBSTA session and later in a contact group chaired by Kok Kee Chow (Malaysia), which met six times. Discussions centered on the revised synthesis of proposals by Parties on principles, modalities, rules and guidelines on the protocol mechanisms (FCCC/SB/1999/8 and Add.1).

In a joint SBI/SBSTA session on Tuesday, 26 October, Chair Chow introduced the revised synthesis of proposals by Parties on principles, modalities, rules and guidelines on Protocol mechanisms and noted that they could form the basis for a draft negotiating text. UZBEKISTAN, with the RUSSIAN FEDERATION, sought clear definitions of core concepts. The G-77/CHINA said a CDM decision must precede decisions on other mechanisms. The US supported parallel progress on the mechanisms with priority given to the CDM.  CHINA opposed taking a single decision on all mechanisms since this was not supported by the Protocol. He recommended that there be three distinct decisions. SAUDI ARABIA stressed that progress on this issue is conditional on progress on other equally important issues. AOSIS highlighted the need for the mechanisms to be based on sound environmental principles. He added that AOSIS would not permit mechanisms that allow Annex I Parties to offload domestic responsibilities.

The EU said a ceiling on the use of mechanisms has to be defined. With NORWAY and SWITZERLAND, he suggested refining the synthesis into a draft negotiating text. The joint SBI-SBSTA session charged the contact group with the task of revising and consolidating Parties’ views into a draft negotiating text and agreeing on a work plan in the lead-up to COP-6.

Work Plan up to COP-6: On a possible work plan up to COP-6, the EU and the US sought intensification of the process, in particular through technical workshops. CHINA, INDONESIA and IRAN highlighted the need to convene intersessional meetings to strengthen intergovernmental work. JAPAN and CANADA said both technical workshops and intersessional meetings should be held prior to COP-6. The G-77/CHINA and others highlighted the need for transparency in the process and adequate developing country expert participation in the technical workshops. SUDAN said Parties needed time to review the information and findings of technical workshops.

On working towards a draft negotiating text, the G-77/CHINA said this was premature, since Parties were still at the stage of making submissions, noting convergence/divergence and synthesizing views. He defined a draft negotiating text as “the penultimate stage in the text that the COP will finally adopt.” JAPAN, the US and AUSTRALIA defined it as a living document that would go through several drafts. Chair Chow noted that the text would be a living document synthesizing the views of all Parties to facilitate the negotiating process.

Clean Development Mechanism: On the project cycle of the CDM, the G-77/CHINA stressed the need to address the CDM’s driving force, nature and scope. Several Parties agreed that the host country is the best judge of its sustainable development needs. SOUTH AFRICA, the SUDAN, BOLIVIA, MEXICO and MAURITANIA proposed including in the CDM the concept of emissions avoidance. BOLIVIA proposed including forest protection initiatives under emissions avoidance. MEXICO said he looked forward to using the CDM to supplement national efforts to shift from slash-and-burn techniques, which are responsible for loss of forest cover, to sustainable technologies that would have a positive impact on climate change. MAURITANIA objected to the inclusion of forest protection within the CDM, as Parties would seek to protect their forests regardless of its inclusion. IRAN said the CDM should include projects related to both sinks and sources. On the issue of baselines for emissions avoidance projects, NEW ZEALAND suggested that, to minimize transaction costs, the commercial contract-bidding process should be used to identify the baseline. The EU said the baselines should be determined on a project-by-project basis. MOROCCO stressed the need to certify that reduced or avoided emissions are real, measurable and contribute to sustainable development in the host country. With SWITZERLAND, she said CDM projects should be subjected to rigorous impact assessment studies that take into account the socio-economic aspects of the host country.

On the financing of CDM projects, Chair Chow queried whether the funding will be bilateral, multilateral or unilateral; if ODA and the FCCC’s financial mechanisms could fund CDM activities; or if CDM funds will be managed by the Executive Board, so as to ensure equitable distribution. JAPAN asked whether unilaterally-funded projects were consistent with the concept of CDM. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA said unilateral funding for CDM would provide incentives for non-Annex I Parties to implement measures to reduce GHGs. COLOMBIA said that as long as CDM projects demonstrate additionality and lead to real and measurable long-term reductions, there should be flexibility in financing the projects. Regarding the use of ODA and GEF funds, the G-77/CHINA emphasized that CDM funding should be additional to ODA and other financial commitments. JAPAN said there were no provisions requiring financial additionality and none that preclude the use of ODA as a source of funding. He said the CDM should be mainly funded by the private sector.

On CDM project monitoring, MAURITANIA said monitoring and reporting should not burden the host country. BOLIVIA suggested that Parties monitor their own projects and “learn by doing.” NORWAY and AUSTRALIA said that project participants, the host Party or a designated legal entity should monitor. The EU said operational entities should perform certification and verification, which is dependent on monitoring.

Joint Implementation: On JI, Chair Chow asked whether the host country or an independent entity should validate the project proposal. JAPAN responded that each Party should decide on its own and added that creating unnecessary bureaucracies would discourage Annex I Parties from entering into JI. On project verification, NEW ZEALAND suggested that individual Parties determine the level of verification that they desire, as the countries involved in JI have both a target and an incentive for ensuring the credibility of projects. He added that under JI the question of additionality is different from the CDM, as the Party would have to give up or cancel some of its assigned amount. CANADA, with the US, noted that the review of additionality for JI projects would be under Article 8 (review of information). The EU questioned how additionality could be ensured if Parties did not comply with Protocol Articles 5 (methodological issues) and 7 (communication of information).

Emissions Trading: On the project cycle of emissions trading, AOSIS sought the establishment of a common set of principles across all the mechanisms, including the principles of environmental integrity and additionality. The US said the integrity of the emissions trading system would be founded on monitoring and reporting under Protocol Articles 5 and 7 and the existence of registries. The G-77/CHINA said the nature and scope of emissions trading must be determined before operational details are worked out. He added that the postulate “you cannot sell what you do not own” should circumscribe the nature and scope of emissions trading. The US and others noted the need to develop cost-effective mechanisms. The EU stressed the need for the mechanisms to be underwritten by strong monitoring and reporting requirements. SWITZERLAND suggested a “post-verification model” wherein emission reduction units could not be transferred until they have been certified to be excess Assigned Amount Units (AAUs).

On fungibility, the US said Protocol Articles 3.10, 3.11 and 3.12 (QELROs) explain how AAUs, Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) and Emission Reduction Units (ERUs) can be transferred from Party to Party. The G-77/CHINA said that while AAUs derive from past emissions and are retrospective, CERs derive from the future and are prospective. FRANCE said while trading in CERs is safe, trading in AAUs could be unsafe if the country transferring them ran into compliance trouble at the end of its budget period. Noting that CDM focuses on sustainable development, SRI LANKA said its objective is different from that of the other mechanisms. AOSIS added that this could lead to a difference in value between the CERs and AAUs. He underscored the need to consider whether there would be a discount to neutralize the disadvantage to the CDM if fungibility is accepted.

On liability, NEW ZEALAND highlighted the need to consider cost effectiveness and the objectives of the FCCC. He said that liability rules would increase costs and therefore reduce funding available to meet FCCC objectives.

On bookkeeping, delegates discussed whether there should be single centralized registry for all three mechanisms or a separate registry for each of the mechanisms. SRI LANKA highlighted the differences between the mechanisms and suggested that there be different registries. CANADA said it was open to the notion of a core set of guidelines for the creation of national registries, noting that one central registry could be problematic. The EU added that national registries are critical to the system and inquired about the need to link the national system to the international one.

Decision on Mechanisms: On Wednesday, November 4, the COP adopted a decision, recommended by SBI/SBSTA, on mechanisms pursuant to Articles 6,12 and 17 of the Protocol (FCCC/CP/1999/L.15). The decision requests the SBI/SBSTA Chairs to, inter alia, revise the synthesis of Parties’ proposals based on further submissions, consolidate the text, and take it forward, prior to COP-6, as a basis for further negotiations. It also requests the Chairs to convene intersessional meetings and workshops in preparation for COP-6.

COMPLIANCE: The joint SBI/SBSTA considered procedures and mechanisms on compliance under the Protocol on Tuesday, 26 October. Espen Rønneberg (Marshall Islands), Co-Chair of the Joint Working Group on compliance (JWG) with Harald Dovland (Norway), reported on the informal exchange of views on compliance held in Vienna from 6-7 October 1999.

The JWG met five times between Tuesday, 26 October, and Wednesday, 3 November. Delegates heard five diagrammatic submissions illustrating a compliance system. The US said its design for the compliance system is focused on Protocol Article 3 (GHG reduction and limitation commitments) and provides for both facilitative and enforcement functions. She said the goal of enforcement is to ensure compliance through binding consequences that are known in advance. In presenting its preliminary views, JAPAN proposed a single compliance body and outlined steps ranging from technical/financial assistance to a series of recommendations such as strengthening of reporting requirements. These are to be exhausted before the entry into force of consequences. The EU explained that its compliance committee would have a facilitative branch and an enforcement branch, with a possible referral from the former to the latter. Issues would be channeled automatically to the branches.

SAMOA stressed two features of the AOSIS diagram: avoidance of polarization between the facilitative and enforcement functions, since they overlap, and an eligibility committee responsible for the determination of mechanism eligibility. He added that an ad hoc appeal body would hear quasi-judicial appeals on the imposition of binding penalties. AUSTRALIA said its compliance procedure focused on Protocol Article 3. She highlighted that facilitation would be available on any issue relating to the target and that the outcome of the compliance procedure would be a COP/ MOP decision applying the negative consensus rule.

On the design of a compliance system, a number of delegates underlined that it should promote compliance, prevent non-compliance as well as address cases of non-compliance. A number of developing countries, opposed by NEW ZEALAND, AUSTRALIA, CANADA and the US, said the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities should apply.

Regarding coverage, delegates differed on whether the system should address compliance with all the Protocol commitments or focus on compliance with Protocol Article 3 (QELROs). They also discussed whether compliance with the mechanisms’ provisions should be addressed under a separate compliance regime.

Regarding the functions of a compliance system, there was a common understanding that these would encompass a facilitative as well as an enforcement element. The US said “different sets of people” would exercise these functions, and the EU suggested one body with two distinctive branches. JAPAN and SWITZERLAND proposed a single body exercising its facilitative and enforcement functions in a graduated manner.

On the eligibility to raise issues, many delegates agreed that a Party could raise an issue about its own compliance, and that a Party or group of Parties could raise an issue about another Party’s compliance. The EU, CANADA, CHINA, JAPAN, IRAN, SOUTH AFRICA and the US opposed a triggering role for the Secretariat. Delegates emphasized its information-gathering function and the need for it to preserve objectivity and neutrality.

Regarding the Expert Review Teams (ERTs), the EU said the ERTs’ reports would be automatically submitted to the compliance committee through the Secretariat. CANADA said the reports would be the factual basis that determined the need for further steps. CHINA, with IRAN, KUWAIT, BRAZIL and ARGENTINA, said it was inappropriate to give ERTs, a simple fact finding body, a triggering role. The US and AUSTRALIA suggested guidelines for a possible referral to the compliance body.

On the role of the COP/MOP, the RUSSIAN FEDERATION and CHINA, opposed by SOUTH AFRICA, proposed that it have a triggering role as well as the competence to decide on the findings of the compliance body. SWITZERLAND suggested that the COP/MOP, among others, have a triggering role on the basis of Protocol Article 8.6 (implementation of the Protocol). BRAZIL suggested that the COP/MOP only take note of the compliance body report.

On sources of information, SAMOA suggested any source the compliance body deemed appropriate, while IRAN said Parties should be the only source. The EU, with BRAZIL, stressed the need to ensure confidentiality of information submitted in confidence by Parties. SOUTH AFRICA and SAUDI ARABIA called for clear rules for information gathering. AUSTRALIA and the US said the defending party should be able to rebut evidence against it.

On the structure of a compliance body, a number of delegates said it should be a standing body in order to allow consistency and continuity in its practice, as well as to build confidence in its work. They suggested that the body be small, composed of scientific, technical and legal experts appointed by governments yet acting in their personal capacity. They added that the composition of the body should ensure equitable geographic distribution. POLAND said there should be an equal number of Protocol Annex B and non-Annex B Parties, and AUSTRALIA, supported by the US, added that the composition would depend on the article under review. SWITZERLAND, with SOUTH AFRICA, said it should be possible to call on outside experts. He added that additional Annex I Parties’ experts should be called on when considering Protocol Article 3. A number of delegates, opposed by SAUDI ARABIA, stressed the need for the body to have its own rules of procedure. The EU said these rules should be adopted by the body itself, while KUWAIT, BRAZIL and CHINA said the COP/MOP should adopt these rules.

On the relationship with Protocol Article 19 (dispute settlement), several Parties said these two procedures should be kept separate. NEW ZEALAND said the Article 19 process could be the basis for a final appeal procedure. The UK responded that a bilateral appeal could not flow from a multilateral process. He highlighted the need to determine whether the compliance system or the dispute settlement process would take precedence where the two are in action simultaneously.

On the consequences of non-compliance, a number of delegates emphasized that knowing the consequences in advance would ensure predictability and deter non-compliance. Several delegates suggested an indicative list of consequences that would be applied gradually, taking into account the cause, type, degree and frequency of non-compliance. They opposed the US suggestion for automatic sanctions. JAPAN said the cost of sanctions should be lower than the cost of withdrawal from the Protocol. The US, NEW ZEALAND, AUSTRALIA and CANADA said a possible sanction could be the subtraction of excess emissions from the levels permitted during the subsequent period, with a penalty rate applied. SWITZERLAND, BRAZIL and IRAN supported financial penalties as a last resort. AUSTRALIA said the Party concerned should have the option to choose from a menu of consequences.

Delegates then considered, in formal and informal sessions, the draft report of the JWG on its work during the joint SBI/SBSTA session as well as the draft decision on the future work of the JWG annexed to this report. Discussions focused on the level of ambition of the JWG, in particular whether it should “complete its work” at COP-6, as proposed by the EU, the US and others, or “make substantial progress” at COP-6, as supported by SAUDI ARABIA, KUWAIT, UAE and others. The JWG adopted the draft report, taking note of the views expressed.

The JWG report was considered by the joint SBI/SBSTA on Wednesday, 3 November. IRAN requested SAUDI ARABIA to join the consensus regarding the level of ambition of the JWG. SAUDI ARABIA noted that since the joint SBI/SBSTA had recommended for adoption the draft decision on adverse effects, he would join the consensus.

On Thursday, 4 November, the COP endorsed the JWG conclusions (FCCC/SB/1999/CRP.7) that, inter alia:

  • note that much work remains to be done and the JWG must intensify its efforts and move towards negotiation;
  • invite Parties to submit any further proposals on compliance by 31 January 2000;
  • confirm that a workshop on matters relating to a compliance system will be convened in March 2000; and
  • request the Co-Chairs to further develop the elements of procedures and mechanisms relating to a compliance system for in-depth consideration at forthcoming meetings of the JWG and serve as a basis for negotiation of a compliance system at SB-12.

The COP then adopted the draft decision on the future work of the JWG (FCCC/CP/1999/L.21). In this decision, the COP, inter alia:

  • decides that the JWG shall continue its work; and
  • requests the JWG to complete its work and report on its findings to COP-6 so as to enable the COP to adopt a decision on a compliance system under the Protocol at its sixth session.

SINGLE PROJECT EMISSIONS: On Wednesday, 27 October, SBSTA considered the impact of single projects on emissions in the commitment period. ICELAND said single projects, such as a large industrial plant, have a greater proportional impact on emissions in smaller countries, affecting their ability to meet emissions targets. He called for a conclusive decision on this issue at COP-6. CANADA expressed reservations on the issue and opposed the draft decision tabled by Iceland at COP-4 in its current form.

On Thursday, 4 November, COP-5 endorsed SBSTA conclusions resulting from informal consultations conducted by Ole Plougmann (Denmark) on the impact of single projects on emissions in the commitment period (FCCC/SBSTA/1999/L.17). In these conclusions SBSTA decides to consider this issue further at SBSTA-13 with a view to recommending a decision for adoption by COP-6.

NATIONAL SYSTEMS, ADJUSTMENTS AND GUIDELINES: The agenda item on national systems, adjustments and guidelines under Protocol Articles 5 (methodology), 7 (communications) and 8 (review of information) was considered by SBSTA on Monday, 25 October. Taka Hiraishi, Vice-Chair of the IPCC Inventories Task Force, reported on the ongoing work on uncertainties and good practice in inventory preparation.

Regarding guidelines for national systems, the EU, with JAPAN, said they should be flexible in order to reflect differing national circumstances. The US highlighted the need to incorporate IPCC work relating to good practices. AUSTRALIA proposed including, inter alia, quality assurance and quality control procedures, links between national systems and emissions trading systems, and links with the transfer and acquisition of AAUs. SWITZERLAND said guidelines should include criteria for national enforcement systems to comply with relevant guidelines, and the establishment and treatment of data related to Protocol mechanisms.

Regarding adjustments, CANADA noted the lack of clarity in what an adjustment would be. With NEW ZEALAND, he expressed support for a technical review process of inventories, noting that this is fundamental to the development of an adjustment process. AUSTRALIA said adjustments are intended as an element of the Protocol’s compliance system. The EU and JAPAN stated that further discussion on technical aspects should only occur after the completion of the IPCC’s work on good practice. Following requests by some Parties, the Chair convened a contact group chaired by Helen Plume (New Zealand) to consider the issue further.

The contact group met three times from 29 October - 1 November to consider the Chair’s draft conclusions and an annex setting out a preliminary list of basic elements for national systems under Protocol Article 5.1 (national systems for GHG emissions and removals).

On Thursday, 4 November, the COP endorsed the SBSTA conclusions on national systems, adjustments and guidelines (FCCC/SBSTA/1999/L.14), whereby SBSTA is encouraged to complete by COP-6 its work on guidelines under Protocol Articles 5, 7 and 8. In its conclusions, SBSTA, inter alia: requests that any compliance-related aspects of the Article 8 review process be taken up by the joint working group on compliance; recalls a decision at SBSTA-10 calling on the Secretariat to organize a workshop on national systems and issues relating to adjustments and provide a report at SBSTA-12; agrees to consider the basic elements of national systems outlined in the annex to the conclusion as the basis for further work; and encourages Annex I Parties to support efforts of those Annex I Parties undergoing the process of transition to a market economy to develop and consolidate their national systems through appropriate bilateral and multilateral mechanisms.


PROGRAMME BUDGET FOR THE BIENNIUM 2000-2001: COP-5 adopted a draft decision recommended by SBI-11 approving the programme budget for the biennium 2000-2001 (FCCC/CP/1999/L.7) on Thursday, 4 November. The final decision, inter alia: approves the programme budget for 2000-2001, amounting to US$25,286,000; approves a contingency fund in case the UN General Assembly decides not to provide resources for these activities in the regular UN budget; requests the Executive Secretary to report to COP-6 on the income and budget performance, and propose any adjustments that might be needed; and authorizes the Executive Secretary to incur additional expenses to offset part of the costs of activities arising from the preparatory process leading to COP-6.

INCOME AND BUDGET PERFORMANCE IN THE BIENNIUM 1998-1999: On Thursday, 4 November, COP-5 adopted the draft decision on income and budget performance in the biennium 1998-1999 and arrangements for administrative support (FCCC/CP/1999/L.8). The decision followed a recommendation from SBI, which considered the matter on Wednesday, 27 October, and Monday, 1 November. The decision, inter alia: expresses concern at the trend towards late payment by some Parties; and requests the Executive Secretary to continue discussions with the UN on achieving a more efficient approach toward administrative arrangements, and report at SBI-12 on progress made in implementing new administrative arrangements.

INSTITUTIONAL LINKAGE OF THE FCCC SECRETARIAT TO THE UN: COP-5 endorsed draft conclusions recommended by SBI-11 on the institutional linkage of the FCCC Secretariat to the UN (FCCC/SBI/1999/L.11). The conclusions state that consideration of the international juridical personality of the Secretariat should be deferred to 2001 and taken-up in conjunction with the review of the institutional linkage of the FCCC Secretariat to the UN, which will be completed by 31 December of that year.

IMPLEMENTATION OF THE HEADQUARTERS AGREEMENT: COP-5 endorsed the SBI-11 Chair’s draft conclusions on implementation of the Headquarters Agreement. The conclusions state that, in a meeting with a representative of the German Government, the FCCC Executive Secretary noted the need for additional staff to accommodate growing levels of activity and staff, and pointed to the need for access to improved and affordable conference facilities. It notes that the German representative indicated his government’s willingness to find mutually satisfactory solutions to these issues.


In a Plenary session held on Monday, 25 October, President Szyszko recalled that Parties had decided at COP-4 to review at COP-5 outstanding issues relating to the establishment of a multilateral consultative committee. He proposed that COP-5 Vice-President Slade hold informal consultations. On Thursday, 4 November, Vice-President Slade reported that consensus had not been achieved. Delegates agreed to defer consideration of the matter to COP-6.


SBSTA: SBSTA-11, chaired by Harald Dovland (Norway), held 14 meetings between Monday, 25 October, and Wednesday, 3 November, including three joint SBI/SBSTA sessions. SBSTA considered 14 agenda items, including, inter alia: organizational matters, implementation of FCCC Articles 4.8 and 4.9 and consideration of Protocol Articles 2.3 and 3.14 (adverse effects); AIJ; mechanisms; capacity building; Annex I communications; non-Annex I communications; and methodological issues, including LULUCF. Draft conclusions on these items were considered by the COP, and can be found under the relevant sections of this report.

The following issues were also considered by SBSTA: “best practices” in policies and measures; cooperation with relevant international organizations; impacts and adaptation assessment methods; the estimation of emissions of carbon dioxide from forest harvesting and wood products; and the roster of experts nominated by Parties. SBSTA conclusions on these issues were noted by the COP as part of the SBSTA report.

“Best Practices” in Policies and Measures: On Wednesday, 27 October, SBSTA Chair Dovland (Norway) announced that Denmark will host a workshop in April 2000 on “best practices” in policies and measures. The EU said the upcoming workshop should consider, inter alia, defining “best practices” and assessing the extent to which international cooperation may enhance effectiveness of policies and measures. AUSTRALIA preferred reference to “good” rather than “best” practices and, with JAPAN and the US, said policies and measures should reflect national circumstances. SAUDI ARABIA said the workshop should also address “wrong practices.” Following informal consultations conducted by Chair Dovland, SBSTA adopted the Chair’s draft conclusions on “best practices” in policies and measures (FCCC/SBSTA/1999/CRP.10) on Thursday, 4 November. In these conclusions, SBSTA, inter alia: accepts the offer of Denmark in collaboration with France to host a workshop to assess best practices in Policies and measures; and decides to consider the report of the workshop at SBSTA-12, and report the results to COP-6.

Cooperation with Relevant International Organizations: On Monday, 1 November, SBSTA adopted draft conclusions on cooperation with relevant international organizations relating to United Nations bodies (FCCC/SBSTA/1999/L.19); and other conventions (FCCC/SBSTA/1999/L.20). The conclusions on cooperation with UN bodies note a project proposal prepared by the Secretariat in conjunction with UNEP, UNCTAD, UNIDO and UNDP, request the Secretariat to take account of all relevant COP decisions in relation to the project, and invite the WHO to report to SBSTA-12 on its activities related to the risk to human health from climate change, in order to identify how cooperation could be strengthened.

In its conclusions on cooperation with other relevant international organizations, SBSTA requests the Secretariat to explore possible ways of strengthening cooperation with other conventions on issues of common interest.

Roster of Experts Nominated by Parties: After consideration of the matter on Thursday, 28 October, SBSTA adopted the Chair’s draft conclusions relating to the roster of experts nominated by Parties (FCCC/SBSTA/1999/ L.16) on Monday, 1 November. The draft conclusions state that SBSTA: concludes that the rosters should be integrated into one roster; requests the Secretariat to design a unified roster; invites Parties to nominate additional experts; and encourages Parties to make additional nominations to meet the special needs of the technical review process for GHG inventories submitted by Annex I Parties, which begins in 2000.

Other Issues: SBSTA also adopted conclusions on information on impacts and adaptation assessment methods (FCCC/SBSTA/1999/L.12); and the estimation of emissions of carbon dioxide from forest harvesting and wood products (FCCC/SBSTA/1999/CRP.6). The conclusions on impacts and adaptation methods state that SBSTA, inter alia: notes the information on the Secretariat web site related to decision tools, methodologies to evaluate impacts and adaptation strategies; requests the Secretariat to utilize experts on the roster on methodologies to review information submitted by Parties and organizations; and requests the Secretariat to prepare a progress report for SBSTA-12.

The conclusions on wood products state that SBSTA invites Parties to submit their views on approaches for estimating and accounting for emissions of carbon dioxide from forest harvesting and wood products by 12 March 2001, for consideration by SBSTA-14.

Report on SBSTA-11: Delegates to SBSTA adopted the draft report of SBSTA-11 (FCCC/SBSTA/1999/L.11) outlining its work and outcomes, on Wednesday, 3 November. The COP took note of the report on Thursday, 4 November.

SBI: SBI-11 held nine meetings between Monday, 25 October, and Wednesday, 3 November, including three joint SBI/SBSTA sessions, and was chaired by John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda). SBI considered 14 agenda items, including, inter alia: organizational matters, implementation of FCCC Articles 4.8 and 4.9 and consideration of Protocol Articles 2.3 and 3.14 (adverse effects); AIJ; mechanisms, capacity building; Annex I communications; non-Annex I communications; and arrangements for intergovernmental meetings. Draft conclusions on these items were considered by the COP, and can be found under the relevant sections of this report.

Annual Inventories of National GHG Data for 1996: On Wednesday, 27 October, SBI considered the report on Annex I Parties’ GHG inventory data for 1990-1997. The US, with POLAND, stressed that timeliness and completeness of submissions were critical in providing a basis for COP action. The EU noted that its future national systems would fulfill quality and time requirements, and expressed concern about the continuous increase in GHG emissions since 1990. Chair Ashe said he would prepare draft conclusions for SBI’s consideration. On Monday, 1 November, SBI adopted Chair Ashe’s draft conclusions on GHG inventory data for 1996 (FCCC/SBI/1999/L.9) that, inter alia: note further efforts are required to ensure adherence to the guidelines for preparation of national communications by Annex I Parties; and invite Parties experiencing difficulties with submitting GHG inventories in a timely manner to provide a submission to the Secretariat describing the nature of these difficulties.

Report on SBI-11: Delegates to SBI adopted the draft report of SBI-11 (FCCC/SBI/1999/L.11) outlining its work and outcomes on Wednesday, 3 November. The COP took note of the report on Thursday, 4 November.


From 2-4 November, ministers and heads of delegation met in a high-level segment. On Tuesday, 2 November, 93 ministers and other heads of delegations presented policy statements. On Wednesday, 3 November, there was an exchange of views among participants organized around two themes: progress made in dealing with climate change, and promoting implementation of the BAPA and early entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol.

After COP-5 President Jan Szyszko opened the high-level segment, UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer said developed countries need to address their consumption and production patterns, stressing that technologies were available to reach the Protocol target. He said ratification by 2002 was achievable.

FCCC Executive Secretary Michael Zammit Cutajar said that for there to be successful negotiations based on the BAPA: leading industrial economies should engage in early domestic action; the CDM should be made the cornerstone of a North-South compact at COP-6; the bottlenecks in the delivery and consideration of non-Annex I Parties’ national communications should be addressed; a credible regime prohibiting targets from being achieved solely through “hot air” and “sinks” must be developed; and the Protocol must enter into force by 2002.

POLICY STATEMENTS: Following the opening addresses, delegates heard ministers and heads of delegation deliver policy statements. The following is a summary of the key themes discussed during this session.

Protocol Ratification: Numerous Parties supported the Protocol’s entry into force by Rio+10 in 2002 including, inter alia: BULGARIA, CARICOM, the EU, FRANCE, GERMANY, HAITI, IRELAND, ITALY, JAPAN, SPAIN, SWEDEN, and the UK. The EU said more ambitious emissions reduction commitments than those agreed to at Kyoto were needed.

Mechanisms: Many Parties said the mechanisms should be supplementary to domestic action. The EU proposed setting a ceiling on the use of the mechanisms. Several Parties supported the prompt adoption of principles and modalities, rules and guidelines for the mechanisms. The G-77/CHINA said differences in the nature, scope, purpose of and participation in the three mechanisms should be determined first. The US called for the mechanisms to be designed cost effectively and developing countries to participate meaningfully.

CDM: The G-77/CHINA indicated that the host government should determine whether a particular project meets its sustainable development objectives. Several Parties said nuclear energy projects should not be eligible under the CDM or JI. A number of developing country Parties said the eradication of poverty continues to be their overriding priority and said the GEF should continue to finance projects that are not eligible under the CDM. The AFRICAN GROUP said issues of afforestation, reforestation and the preservation/reclamation of wetlands should feature highly among CDM projects.

Compliance: Many Parties called for an effective and strong compliance system. The G-77/CHINA called for a comprehensive, efficient and fair compliance system. The EU called for a revised negotiating text for a decision to be adopted at COP-6.

AIJ: The G-77/CHINA supported the continuation of the pilot phase and, with ZAMBIA, highlighted the imbalance in the geographical distribution of AIJ projects.

Development and Transfer of Technology: The G-77/CHINA indicated that developing countries are constrained by lack of: necessary technologies and “know-how”; appropriate institutions and financial resources; and regular fora to exchange ideas and build positions. Several developing Parties said the transfer of environmentally-sound technologies (ESTs) is the only way to guarantee that developing countries will develop in a sustainable manner.

Sinks/LULUCF: AUSTRALIA and others said the inclusion of sinks could lower the cost of abatement action and thereby contribute to a better outcome. AOSIS was concerned that the inclusion of land-use change in national inventories may allow countries to recalculate their inventories and “erase” the bulk of what was achieved at Kyoto.

Adverse Effects: The G-77/CHINA, NEPAL and others said developing countries are the most affected by climate change, and Annex I countries must implement their commitments relating to provision of financial resources and technology transfer. Several developing country Parties stressed the need to operationalize FCCC Articles 4.8 and 4.9 and Protocol Article 3.14 (adverse effects).

Participation/Voluntary Commitments: Many Parties noted the need for global participation. AOSIS and others stated that, at the appropriate time, it will be necessary for all countries to participate formally in the effort to reduce GHG emissions. ARGENTINA announced its adoption of a voluntary target to reduce its GHG emissions and stated that it does not intend to abandon its status as a non-Annex I Party. She said their target would be to achieve a 2 to 10% reduction below a “business-as-usual” scenario in the 2008-2012 period. KAZAKHSTAN said it intended to join FCCC Annex I. JAPAN, the US, AUSTRALIA and others welcomed the initiatives by Kazakhstan and Argentina. The EU said a possible way of making all countries limit their GHG emissions is to agree on increasing global participation after the first commitment period. CHINA and INDIA said Annex I countries have the main responsibility. CHINA said it would not undertake commitments until it achieves a “medium development level.”

Domestic Action: Many Parties said domestic policies and measures should be the main means to fulfill the Kyoto targets. The G-77/CHINA and AOSIS expressed disappointment at recent emissions data revealing that many Annex I Parties are significantly exceeding 1990 levels. The EU said industrialized countries must take the lead in reducing their GHG emissions.

Capacity Building: The G-77/CHINA, the AFRICAN GROUP and others said capacity building is necessary to ensure meaningful participation from developing countries. BANGLADESH called on Parties to earmark funds from the GEF for LDCs. GERMANY urged donor countries to provide the financial means to sustain the operations of the GEF.

Non-Annex I Communications: The G-77/CHINA highlighted insufficient financial resources to meet the “agreed full costs” in the preparation of non-Annex I communications.

In addition, Parties highlighted the need for: a financial mechanism to assist SIDS in achieving adaptive capacity; strong leadership from Annex I countries in taking responsibility for action on climate change; and a meeting to explore the needs of EITs.

EXCHANGE OF VIEWS: On Wednesday, 3 November, delegates met to exchange views during morning and afternoon sessions.

Progress Made: During the morning session, delegates exchanged views on progress made in dealing with climate change and on lessons and challenges. Several developing country Parties stressed the need for technology transfer, capacity building, financial resources and adaptation to address climate change. Some Parties urged an increased focus on renewable energy. BHUTAN and BANGLADESH called for special attention to LDCs’ needs. NEW ZEALAND underscored the need for greater attention to GHGs other than CO2.

INDONESIA emphasized the importance of making benefit assessments, not just cost assessments, of the Protocol. He called for the Protocol’s entry into force by 2002. SWITZERLAND, JAPAN and the NETHERLANDS urged Parties not to wait for ratification before starting to implement actions to address climate change.

On lessons learned, FINLAND, with CANADA, underscored good working relationships between all partners and stakeholders in implementing climate change policies. She added that there is a need to set the framework and rules for market operations. Some Parties called for the involvement of the private sector. The EUROPEAN COMMISSION said experience has shown that reducing emissions has been less costly than expected and has led to greater benefits. With SWITZERLAND and HUNGARY, she emphasized the need for increased domestic action and called for continuation of AIJ and a smooth transition in the future to the CDM and JI.

MALAYSIA and MEXICO sought consistency in policies between different environmental fora. BULGARIA called for a meeting to address the specific features of EITs before COP-6. GERMANY said addressing climate change could create new jobs. IRAN highlighted the need for confidence-building between developed and developing countries through concrete practical cooperation. CHINA said attempts by some Parties to get developing countries to “meaningfully participate” were destroying confidence-building efforts between developing and developed countries.

The Way Forward: During the afternoon session, delegates exchanged views on the way forward in relation to promoting implementation of the BAPA and the early entry into force of the Protocol.

On outcomes from COP-5, the UK, supported by KAZAKHSTAN and the US, and opposed by SAUDI ARABIA, proposed a Bonn Declaration reaffirming the political will to complete the BAPA by COP-6. KUWAIT said this proposal was premature.

On preparations for COP-6, many Parties called for intensified efforts and for the role of the President to be strengthened in order to achieve success at COP-6. ARGENTINA, supported by FINLAND and BENIN, said innovative approaches were needed, and called for the establishment of small task forces in the run-up to COP-6. She said traditional groupings among countries to develop common positions may no longer be appropriate.

JAPAN, supported by KAZAKHSTAN, BOTSWANA, the US, CANADA, BENIN, ICELAND, HONDURAS and SOUTH AFRICA, suggested that President Szyszko be empowered to appoint a special facilitator to assist negotiations and help Parties realize the BAPA by COP-6. AUSTRALIA proposed establishing a Committee of the Whole (COW), chaired by a facilitator vested with the authority by President Szyszko.

CHINA, with SAUDI ARABIA, VENEZUELA, KUWAIT, INDONESIA, and LIBYA, opposed the proposals to establish new groups or mechanisms to assist progress toward COP-6, stressing that the existing FCCC bodies and structures should be employed to this end. CHINA, supported by KUWAIT and others, said a facilitator would not be able to visit and confer with all Parties. NORWAY said ministers should be engaged in the process between the COPs.

On Thursday, 4 November, President Szyszko offered his personal impressions of the high-level segment. He stated that the discussions had been frank and open, and said he sensed a new spirit market by political commitment and a strong willingness to move the process forward. He noted unanimity on the need to intensify negotiations in the lead-up to COP-6.


On Tuesday, 2 November, delegates met in a Plenary session to hear statements by observer States, IGOs, NGOs and UN bodies. On progress made in climate change negotiations, PALAU said it was disappointed at the lack of progress being made at COP-5. OPEC said implementing the Protocol would lead to dramatic economic losses for OPEC Parties, and called for equitable distribution of the costs of climate change mitigation. FRANCISCAN INTERNATIONAL and CLIMATE ACTION NETWORK - EUROPE (CAN-E), called for the entry into force of the Protocol by Rio+10.

Regarding the Protocol mechanisms, the WORLD BUSINESS COUNCIL FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT urged an early definition of mechanisms’ governing structure and recommended that existing trade and investment frameworks be used. CAN-E said the CDM and JI should exclude nuclear power, clean coal and large hydro schemes. UNDP offered capacity-building assistance for CDM and JI. UNIDO said it was committed to the CDM’s success in Africa. CAN–SOUTHEAST ASIA said trying to link AIJ to CDM would create another loophole permitting Parties to renege on their commitments. The WORLD BANK noted that its programmes on AIJ had provided useful lessons for both North and South, and expressed willingness to expand it to cover countries that had been less well served by the pilot phase. FRANCISCAN INTERNATIONAL said JI should be used to promote clean development and opposed nuclear energy as an option. The NUCLEAR ENERGY FORUM said the choice of nuclear energy must be based on each country’s circumstances.

On the development and transfer of technologies, the BUSINESS COUNCIL FOR SUSTAINABLE ENERGY highlighted the need to encourage private sector participation.

On interlinkages, the CONVENTION TO COMBAT DESERTIFICATION, the CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY, and the RAMSAR CONVENTION ON WETLANDS noted synergies and the potential for further cooperation between the FCCC and their respective conventions.

Special Scientific Segment: In a special scientific Plenary segment, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) indicated that the atmospheric concentration of human-induced GHGs and the mean surface temperature of the earth would continue to increase, and noted that the expected recovery of stratospheric ozone will lead to the strengthening of GHG atmospheric concentrations. The IPCC said it is not a question of whether the earth’s climate will change, but rather when, where and by how much. UNEP emphasized domestic action and urged Parties to ratify the Protocol to ensure entry into force by 2002.


In its closing Plenary on Friday, 5 November, the COP adopted the report of its work with a minor amendment by the G-77/CHINA and authorized Rapporteur Guerreiro to finalize the report (FCCC/CP/1999/L.1). Michael Zammit Cutajar said the unexpected mood of optimism and the orderly and productive conduct of business was encouraging to the Secretariat as they prepared to face “the Y2K problem” of helping produce a successful outcome at COP-6.

The G-77/CHINA, supported by SAUDI ARABIA and the EU, highlighted the cordial and businesslike atmosphere at COP-5. She said the group has shown flexibility in the negotiations and look forward to working with the same spirit at future meetings. The EU said COP-5 had achieved results that will pave the way to COP-6.

CHINA noted the meaningful participation of the G-77/CHINA in the negotiation process. He commented on the spirit of understanding that prevailed at COP-5 and said it should extend to COP-6. He added that no extraneous controversial matters should be brought up at COP-6. The AFRICAN GROUP noted the early finish of the COP with approbation. He expressed gratitude to the Annex I countries that had shown a flexible attitude at COP-5. KAZAKHSTAN and SYRIA thanked the host country for its hospitality. In his closing remarks, President Szyszko said COP-5 had taken an important step towards fulfilling the BAPA, and closed the conference at 1:00 pm.


The Fifth Conference of the Parties completed its work ahead of schedule and generated an “unexpected mood of optimism” among delegates and observers. After a faltering COP in Buenos Aires, followed by a year of grim “drum beats” of speculation in many capitals about the fate of the Kyoto Protocol, the process recovered vital momentum and began to gather determination and support for a self-imposed deadline for entry into force by 2002. An innovative exchange of views involving ministers launched a year of intensive high-level engagement in the process leading up to COP-6. The 2002 deadline, the 10th anniversary of the Earth Summit (UNCED), provides the Parties and civil society with a compelling set of reasons to succeed. As the fabled tortoise once taught the hare, momentum and pace do not always deliver the price. The integrity and credibility of the Protocol will be the prize that endures, one that demands perseverance and vigilance along the way.

This brief analysis will address three of the questions posed by the FCCC Executive Secretary, Michael Zammit Cutajar, in a briefing paper issued before the start of COP-5. Our three questions are:

  • Has COP-5 pulled together the “big picture” and clarified the various strands of work and decisions required?
  • Has COP-5 enabled different interest groups to define specific components of success at COP-6 and secured their political commitment?
  • Are there indications that COP-5 has sent a signal to the world about a change of pace and a sharpening of focus?

These questions are based on a recognition that COP-5’s success or otherwise would be judged by its contribution to preparations for COP-6, when far reaching decisions mandated by the Buenos Aires Action Plan will have to be made regarding a volatile mix of political and so-called technical issues.


At a COP-5 briefing, Zammit Cutajar described information as the lifeblood of the FCCC and Kyoto Protocol. Information will be key to the integrity of the enabling decisions mandated under the Buenos Aires Action Plan. Two developments underlined his point. The IPCC special side event on land-use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) provided the first opportunity for many delegations to engage in a frank exchange on the absence of country-specific data for baselines and consideration of “additional activities” (Protocol Article 3.4). At another side event, the University of Wageningen (Netherlands) presented a powerful tool to allow Parties to assess the likely impact on the Kyoto targets if potential new sinks are allowed. The Climate Action Network believes that the overall impact of the additional activities could create a more significant loophole than “hot air.”

Information will be key to the integrity of the enabling decisions mandated under the Buenos Aires Plan of Action. The obvious danger, which appeared to lurk in some corners of the negotiation process in the run-up to COP-5, was the politically-motivated temptation to build carefully constructed “designer gaps” into important reporting guidelines and scientific data requirements. Delegations and NGOs agreed that some of the Parties’ notable work at COP-5 vindicated the importance of rigor in their approaches to the provision of information. There was also a drawing back from any temptation to pre-empt the availability of scientific advice from the IPCC on the complex set of decisions to be taken on sinks and “additional activities” under the LULUCF, a classic example of a negotiating area where the division between “technical” and “political” issues breaks down. Any attempt to reconstruct or force the division between the technical and political in this regime can only be described as a politically-motivated strategy in itself.

Regarding some of the key issues, we shall attempt a first take on the direction of the COP-5 debates, bearing in mind the question of how well the Parties managed to pull together the “big picture” by clarifying the various strands of work and decision-making to come.

Compliance: One observer described the US approach to compliance as its “only green position,” such is its commitment to a robust and rigorous system. Ultimately the credibility of the compliance system will be bound to the types of consequences and sanctions envisaged, and to the overall rigor of the Protocol mechanisms and their capacity to bring about real reductions in GHG emissions.

Annex I Communications: The adoption of the guidelines for the preparation of Annex I communications and the guidelines for the technical review of GHG inventories was seen as one of the achievements COP-5, a first step toward a more rigorous analysis of inventories. Debate on Part II of the guidelines for the preparation of national communications by Annex I Parties reflected tensions over emphasis on domestic versus offshore or least cost fulfillment of national commitments.

Non-Annex I Communications: Another achievement was the decision on non-Annex I Communications. A decision to create a consultative group of experts, consisting of members predominately from non-Annex I Parties, will reduce some developing countries’ anxieties that data will be used to press for target setting and ranking of performance, resulting in an imposition of new conditionalities for access to GEF funding.

LULUCF: Observers expressed relief that Parties demonstrated a preparedness to produce data for the IPCC report on additional sink-related activities. This will add to the transparency required if future budgets are to be calculated on the basis of additional activities. Parties also agreed on a framework and timeline for how IPCC and related workshops and country data will be integrated.

AIJ Under the Pilot Phase: This issue, the only one which required a final resolution at COP-5, exposed the fissures developing within the G-77/China on issues related to the mechanisms and conflicting perceptions regarding possible gains to be realized.

Mechanisms: Delegates engaged in a “brainstorming” session on project cycles and basic operations. Although they did not “negotiate” the synthesis of Parties’ proposals, some difficult issues, such as fungibility, were discussed for the first time. Delegates agreed that the synthesis will serve as the basis for future sessions.

Capacity Building and Technology Transfer: The COP set up a process for serious consideration of these issues, which often seem to have a tenuous relationship with economic realities. The importance of progress must be seen within the emerging view within Annex I Parties that confidence building must form part of any package requiring the non-Annex I Parties’ cooperation and the long-term viability of the FCCC.


Each negotiating stage in the FCCC and Protocol process demands that diverse interest groups within and across Annex I and non-Annex I countries can define specific components of success, or the prospects of success at COP-6. In turn, the conditions for their continued commitment to the overall integrity of the process is assured. There is no greater test for the process than the balance that must be struck between the objectives of the FCCC and the Protocol and the interests of the oil producing States, notably OPEC. This balance also illustrates the tensions and volatility of the G-77/China vis à vis its engagement with the process. The obstructive role played by Saudi Arabia and other OPEC interests at COP-5 was the subject of some speculation. The OPEC position seems to be based on the fear that ratification and implementation of the Protocol will have a significant impact on oil consumption. An example was the Saudi Arabian delegation’s use of its position as G-77/China coordinator on the bunker fuel issue to pursue its own interests as an oil producing country at the expense of the wider group. Members of the delegation failed to respond to repeated attempts to have them participate in the intensive informal negotiations. When they finally did, elements in a draft decision addressing the ICAO and IMO were gutted. Within the G-77/China, however, many Parties are challenging the Saudis’ attempts to usurp some of the Group’s negotiating positions for its own ends.

One of the significant outcomes from COP-4 was a concerted attempt, driven at the time by the EU and now taken up by other Annex I Parties, to honor the spirit of the global compact that remains the foundation of the post-UNCED agenda. Work on the consultative process on technology transfer, capacity building, the continuing AIJ pilot phase and the design of the CDM will provide opportunities for Annex I Parties to honor this commitment and lay the foundations for a constructive engagement with key non-Annex I Parties with a view to addressing the question of wider participation. Some NGOs will be pressing the EU to play a greater role in establishing this dialogue, accompanied by serious attempts to address the adaptation concerns of some developing Parties. Given their vulnerability to global warming, adaptation is an issue of particular interest to AOSIS, who is pressing for a Protocol that brings real and measurable GHG reductions.


The twin decisions to convene COP-6 in the year 2000 (rather than delay it until 2001) and intensify the work programme during the intersessional period will help to set a lively pace for negotiations on outstanding issues and sharpen the focus of debates. Additional subsidiary body meetings and intensive high-level exchanges will be reminiscent of those that characterized the period leading up to Kyoto.

The NGO campaign calling for the Protocol’s entry into force by the tenth anniversary of the Earth Summit in 2002 has also taken hold. The NGO community plays a central role in the negotiations, working for transparency and rigor in the process and providing a “user friendly” point of access for civil society. A sharper focus for NGO work will be provided by a call for a European Leadership initiative launched by Hermann Ott (Wuppertal Institute) and Sebastian Oberthúr (Ecologic) at COP-5, calling for an EU and Japanese-led coalition to achieve early entry into force of the Protocol. NGOs have also worked hard to encourage Parties to exclude the nuclear option from consideration under the JI and CDM mechanisms.


There was a palpable sense of renewed optimism at COP-5’s close, encouraged by a determination to inject a quicker pace into the process of fulfilling the BAPA mandate at COP-6. As the tortoise once taught the fabled hare, however, speed is not the only requirement for success. For each question clarified at COP-5, others were deferred or not raised at all. For each attempt to keep interest groups, such as OPEC, on board, there will be new fissures for laggards to exploit in pursuit of delay and obfuscation. For every powerful signal of political intent, there will be outbursts of systemic inertia in political capitals, no more so than when Washington becomes a well-lit stage for the numbing spectacle of a Presidential election. From the humble tortoise we might learn that success must also be guided by pace, concentration, and perseverance, backed up by a steady nerve and rock solid defenses to help endure the inevitable arrival of extreme events along the way.


CLEAN ENERGY PARTNERSHIPS – DEVELOPING GLOBAL SOLUTIONS: This meeting will be held in Seattle, Washington, USA, from 14-16 November 1999, and is sponsored by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The conference will focus on renewable and energy efficiency projects in AID countries and the Pacific Northwest. For information, contact: Linda VerNooy; tel: +1-206-217-9644, ext. 217.

INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP ON INITIATIVES FOR GHG REDUCTION: This conference will be held from 15-16 November 1999, in Tokyo, Japan. For more information, contact: Ms. Mari Komatsu; tel: +81-3-3277-0546; e-mail:

WORKSHOP ON THE NEW REPORTING GUIDELINES ON NATIONAL INVENTORIES AND OPTIONS TO ADDRESS CHALLENGES OF THE ANNEX I PARTIES WITH ECONOMIES IN TRANSITION IN PREPARING GHG INVENTORIES: This workshop, organized by CC:TRAIN and sponsored by Switzerland, will be held from 30 November - 2 December 1999 in Geneva. For more information, contact: CC:TRAIN Secretariat; tel: +41-22-917-8532; fax: +41-22-917-8047; e-mail:; Internet:

VIENNA CONVENTION AND MONTREAL PROTOCOL: The 5th COP to the Vienna Convention and the 11th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol will be held in Beijing from 29 November - 3 December 1999.  For more information, contact: the Ozone Secretariat; tel: +254-2-62-1234; fax: +254-2-62-3601; e-mail:; Internet:

4TH INTERNATIONAL ENERGY AGENCY (IEA) INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON NATURAL GAS: This meeting will be held from 6-7 December 1999 in Cancun, Mexico. For more information, contact: IEA, 9 rue de la Federation, 75739 Paris Cedex 15, France; tel: +33-01-40-576-554; fax: +33-01-40-576-559; e-mail:; Internet:

GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT FACILITY: The GEF Council will meet from 8-10 December 1999 in Washington, DC. For more information, contact: the GEF Secretariat; tel: +1-202-473-0508; fax: +1-202-522-3240 or +1-202-522-3245; Internet:

US-AFRICA ENERGY MINISTERS CONFERENCE: This conference will be held in Tucson, Arizona, USA, from 13-15 December 1999. For more information, contact: Jayne Brady; tel. +1-202-586-5806; or Mary Okoye; tel: +1-520-791-4204; Internet:

WORKSHOP ON VOLUNTARY APPROACHES – “HOT AIR OR A KEY TO HIGHER ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN INDUSTRY?”: This international meeting will be held on 26 January 2000 in Brussels and will focus on the prospects and limits of voluntary approaches to reduce energy consumption and GHG emissions in industry. For more information, contact: Stephan Ramesohl, Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, Energy Division, Doeppersberg 19, Postfach 10 04 80, D-42004 Wuppertal, Germany; tel: +49-202-2492-255; fax: +49-202-2492-198; e-mail:; Internet:

WORLD CLEAN ENERGY CONFERENCE: The international clean energy forum will be held in Geneva from 24-28 January 2000. The international technology and trade exhibition on clean energy will in Geneva from 25-29 January 2000. For more information, contact: Clean Energy 2000, Rue de Varembe 3, PO Box 200, CH 1211 Geneva 20; tel: +41-22- 910-3006, fax: +41-22-910-3014; e-mail:; Internet:

AD HOC OPEN-ENDED GROUP OF EXPERTS ON ENERGY AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: The Ad-Hoc Open-Ended Group of Experts on Energy and Sustainable Development of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development will be held from 6-10 March 2000 in New York. For more information, contact: Leticia Silverio, Coordinator, Division for Sustainable Development, 2 UN Plaza - Rm. DC2-2202, New York, NY 10017, USA; tel: +1-212-963-4670; fax: +1-212-963-4260; e-mail:; Internet:

PACIFIC ISLANDS CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE: This meeting will be held from 3-7 April 2000 in Rarotonga, Cook Islands. The theme of the meeting, organized by the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) is "Improving the understanding of and responding to climate change and sea-level rise." For more information, contact: SPREP; fax: +685-202 31; e-mail:; Internet:

WORKSHOP ON BEST PRACTICES: This meeting, jointly organized by France and Denmark, will be held from 11-13 April 2000 in Copenhagen. For more information, contact: Pierre Palat, Mission Interministerielle de l'Effet de Serre (MIES), France; tel: +33-1-42-75-8763; fax: +33-1-47-53-7634; e-mail:; or Peter Helmer Steen, Danish Energy Agency, Denmark; tel: +45-33-92-67-00; e-mail: PHS@ENS.DK.

11TH GLOBAL WARMING INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE AND EXPO: This meeting, "GW11 - Kyoto Compliance Review Year 2000 Conference," will be held from 25-28 April 2000 in Boston, USA. For more information, contact Prof. Sinyan Shen; tel: +1-630-910-1551; fax: +1-630-910-1561; Internet: http://www.GlobalWarming.Net/.

12TH SESSION OF THE FCCC SUBSIDIARY BODIES: SB-12 will be held in Bonn, Germany, from 12-16 June 2000, preceded by one week of informal meetings, including workshops. For more information, contact: the FCCC Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-1000; fax: +49-228-815-1999; e-mail:; Internet:

13TH SESSION OF THE FCCC SUBSIDIARY BODIES: SB-13 will be held in Bonn, Germany, from 11-15 September 2000, preceded by one week of informal meetings, including workshops. For more information, contact the FCCC Secretariat.

6TH CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE FCCC: COP-6 will be held in The Hague, the Netherlands, from 13-24 November 2000. For more information, contact the FCCC Secretariat.

Further information