AOSIS Chair reviews progress and shortcomings at COP9 of the UNFCCC

2003-12-01 Ambassador Enele S Sopoaga Download PDF

Topic: Climate

1. Introduction
1.1 The Ninth Conference of the Parties (COP9) to the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the nineteenth
sessions of the COP’s Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and Subsidiary
Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) were held at the Fierra
Milano in Milan, Italy, from 1 to 12 December 2004. Present were over 5,000
participants from Parties, Observers and the Media.
1.2 There was a notable decline in the number of AOSIS delegates as caused
by the shortage of funding in the Secretariat. The situation is a serious concern,
and was raised as urgently needing solution.
1.3 AOSIS delegations, nevertheless, maintained active participation in the
Conference at the Ministerial roundtables and through contributions from
respective delegations, and in leading consultations on several issues. AOSIS
held morning caucuses everyday to coordinate their work. As in the past the
AOSIS work in COP9 was appreciatively supported by assistance from
delegations’ own TA’s, FIELD in London, SPREP, and CARICOM.
2. General Overview
2.1 As was expected COP9 was almost uneventful. Despite making progress
in some areas, decision-making was slow characterized by the typical refusal of
industiralised countries to implement commitments whilst demanding
contributions from non-Annex I countries (major emitters), and the refusal of the
latter (G77 & China) to accept additional obligations. Considering the
seriousness of climate change issues, AOSIS took the approach it followed in
COP8 to push for the moving forward of discussions particularly on the fulfillment
of Annex I commitments, and leadership for future global commitments. The
continuing stalemate between the two main sides influenced also by the OPEC
stringent positions proved the task to be extremely difficult. This needs to be
urgently addressed.
2.2 Whilst outcomes of specific agenda items are reported separately, several
issues od particular importance need to be highlighted to the attention of AOSIS
delegations: Kyoto Protocol, donors’ approach, and AOSIS concerns in G77.
Kyoto Protocol
2.3 The uncertainty over the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol after
Russia’s failure to ratify before COP9 also dampened the spirits of many who
had hoped COP9 would also be the first MOP for the Protocol. The release of
media report that Russia was not ratifying during the height of COP9, reaffirmed
the ongoing interplay of various political and economic forces to dissuade Russia
from the Protocol. However, the Russian Representative clarified later that
contrary to media reports, Russia had not changed its intentions to ratify the
Kyoto Protocol explaining that the delay in ratifying the Protocol was more a
matter of timing rather than of policy.
2.4 Notwithstanding, the majority of Parties at the Conference reiterated once
again the strong call on Annex I countries like Russia and others who have not
done so to urgently ratify the Protocol for its earliest entry into force.
Comments: It is possible that Russian presidential elections in April might be
the reason in the delay for Russia to ratify. But it is in AOSIS interests to
seriously consider actions not only to persuade for Russia’s earliest ratification
perhaps by a combined mission or utilizing connections in UN and elsewhere, but
also of seeking ways of re-engaging Australia and USA. AOSIS might also wish
to take advantage of the ongoing review of the BPOA on SIDS to seriously
consider options of addressing climate change beyond the Kyoto Protocol and
current commitments including a process to encourage commitments from major
industrialised developing countries to mitigation. This is in AOSIS interests.
Reluctance on Funding
2.5 The reluctance of major industrialized Parties to commit new and additional
funding and resources was overtly evident, and indeed becoming an issue of
serious concern.
Throughout the negotiations Annex I Parties were adamant not
only on mainstreaming climate change activities to national sustainable
development and poverty reduction strategies of non-Annex I countries, but also
on insisting that the climate change funds should only serve as basis to leverage
resources from bilateral and multilateral. The adopted modalities for the Special
Climate Change Fund and the LDCs Fund reflect this rather stringent and
inconsiderate stance by Annex I Parties.
Comments: Whilst the impact on resources of events around the world was
appreciated, AOSIS pushed the view that this should not be taken as an excuse
for Annex I Parties to ignore their commitments and responsibilities under the
Convention (Art.4.2). AOSIS might wish to note that the language agreed both
for the LDC and the Special Climate Change Funds in COP9 was a heavily
compromised one following intense negotiations, and would need to be looked at
carefully in implementation as more authority had now been invested in the GEF
out of the Conference. AOSIS representations in GEF may wish to take note.

Group of 77 and China
2.6 The dominance of the G77 & China work in climate change by the OPEC
countries was a cause of great concern to AOSIS. In nearly all issues, even
when there was no agreed common position, there was an apparent attempt by
OPEC countries to push their views as if of the G77&China, to the ignoring of
positions of other groups such as the AOSIS. OPEC’s possessive defense of
‘costs of response measures’ against ‘adaptation to the adverse effects of
climate change’ (under Art 4.8 and 4.9) caused delays to progress and in some
areas created difficulties in reaching substantive decisions. It also led to several
G77/AOSIS clashes in plenary, and in consultations.
Comments: A number of AOSIS delegations who are G77 members expressed
great disappointment over the manner in which the AOSIS climate change
concerns were treated in G77, and particularly of the dominance of the G77 by
the concerns of one particular OPEC delegation. They asked that the matter be
taken up formally in the AOSIS Plenary in New York with the view to taking it up
to the G77. One delegation informed the group they were seeking considerations
by their Government of withdrawing from the G77.
Opening of the COP9
2.7 In the absence of the COP8 President, Minister Baalu of India, I, as the
AOSIS Vice-President in the Bureau, was elected to preside over the opening of
the COP9.
AOSIS Representations in the COP Bodies
2.8Following consultations it was agreed that for COP9 the AOSIS would be
represented in the COP bodies as follows:
• COP9 Bureau
HE Mr Enele S Sopoaga second term (Tuvalu);
• CDM Executive Board
HE Mr John Ashe (Antigua & Barbuda);
Ms Desna Solofa (Samoa);
• Expert Group on Technology Transfer
Mr Kishan Kumarsingh (Trinidad and Tobago)
• LDCs Expert Group
Mr Lavasa Malua (Samoa)
Mr Muhammed Ali (Maldives) (to be replaced by Mr Andrew Teem,

Bureau Meetings
2.8 The Bureau met several times during the course of the COP9 to monitor
progress of the Conference and to update the appointment of Parties’
representations in the COP bodies. Report on the Bureau meetings will be
circulated separately.
(To be updated by Ian and Poni)
Parties took up and adopted decisions and conclusions on: the improved
guidelines for non-Annex I national communications; several issues under the
financial mechanism; “good practices” in policies and measures; research and
systematic observation; cooperation with relevant international organizations;
and methodological issues. Three ministerial high-level round table discussions
were held on Wednesday and Thursday, 30-31 October, to discuss “Taking
Stock,” “Climate Change and Sustainable Development,” and “Wrap Up.” On the
final day, Parties adopted the Delhi Declaration on Climate Change and
Sustainable Development.
3. Key Issues for AOSIS in SBI/SBSTA and the COP:

3.1 A number of issues on the agendas of the SBI/SBSTA and the COP were
of particular interest to the AOSIS. These included:
Implementation of UNFCCC Article 4.8 and 4.9
Sinks in the CDM
Cooperation with Relevant International Organizations:
Non-Annex I Communications
IPCC Third Assessment Report
Report of the Executive Board of the Clean Development Mechanism
Follow up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development
Delhi Declaration
3.2 Implementation of UNFCCC Article 4.8 and 4.9:
Parties discussed implementation issues under Article 4.8 and 4.9 (adverse
effects), as well as the outcomes of a workshop on modelling held in Bonn in
May 2002, and the terms of reference for workshops on insurance and risk
assessment. Daniela Stoytcheva (Bulgaria) and myself were invited to Co-Chair
informal discussions on this issue.
SBI Conclusions: The conclusions (FCCC/SBI/2002/L.17) note progress in the
implementation of decision 5/CP.7; request the Secretariat to organize
workshops on insurance; decide to consider the reports of the workshops at
COP-9; and invite Parties to submit further views relating to progress in the
implementation of decision 5/CP.7 by 15 April 2003.
Comment: AOSIS has played a significant role in developing the concept of
insurance and we should continue to elaborate our views on this issue in an
authoritative manner. We should make all effort to ensure that AOSIS is
represented and that sensible and suitable recommendations come out of this
work. There are also clear linkages here to the preparations for Barbados plus
10. I will use my position as Vice-President to make sure that the FCCC
Secretariat gives us adequate representation in this and other relevant
workshops in the coming year.
3.3 Sinks in the CDM (Land Use, Land-use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) –
Definitions and modalities for including afforestation and reforestation activities
under Protocol Article 12 (CDM)
Parties addressed the item of LULUCF under the CDM in the SBSTA Plenary
and in three meetings of a contact group, co-chaired by Thelma Krug (Brazil) and
Karsten Sach (Germany). AOSIS) presented viewpoints based on the
submission prepared for the meeting.1 This submission included viewpoints on
definitions and modalities for applying non-permanence, additionality, leakage,
uncertainties, socio-economic and environmental impacts. The G-77/China did
not have a common viewpoint on this matter, however it would appear that the
spokesperson on this issue (Brazil) holds very similar views to our own. We also
have similar views to the EU, though there are some subtle differences.
SBSTA Conclusions: The conclusions (FCCC/SBSTA/2002/L.22), note, inter alia,
an options paper on sinks under the CDM to be prepared by the Secretariat and
a workshop to be held in February 2003. It is very important that we attend this
Comment: The detailed submission by AOSIS has placed us in a key position on
this issue. We should continue to have a significant input into these discussions.
We must ensure that all the sinks loopholes are properly addressed. The ongoing
debate on how to account for harvested wood products is yet another example of
some countries seeking to avoid actually taking action to reduce emissions. An
enormous amount of energy goes into these procedural and technical debates,
yet we must be present and make our voices heard.
3.4 Cooperation with Relevant International Organizations:
On Friday, 25 October, the Secretariat presented a scoping paper on crosscutting thematic areas under the UNFCCC, the United Nations Convention to
Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and Convention on Biodiversity (CBD). AOSIS
was represented at these informal consultations and proposed text encouraging
cooperation with the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (based on a SBSTA 16
interest by Palau). This was opposed by Canada and Australia (it is unclear why).
SBSTA Conclusions and COP Draft Decision:
SBSTA Conclusions and COP Draft Decision: SBSTA conclusions
(FCCC/SBSTA2002/L.18) note the terms of reference for a workshop. The draft
decision (FCCC/SBSTA2002/L.18/Add.1) requests SBSTA to enhance
cooperation with subsidiary bodies of the UNCCD and CBD, and urges the Joint
Liaison Group of the convention secretariats to enhance the coordination
between the UNFCCC, UNCCD and CBD. The preamble to the decision notes
the need for the Ramsar Convention to be invited to meetings of the Joint Liaison
Comment: This is an important ongoing issue and we should work to elaborate
modalities for creating more effective synergies between various multilateral
environment agreements. We may wish to consider this in the context of the
review of the Barbados Plan of Action.
3.5 Non-Annex I Communications: (Improvement of Guidelines for the
Preparation of Non-Annex I National Communications):
On Wednesday, 23 October, the Secretariat introduced the proposed improved
guidelines for non-Annex I national communications. Several LDCs highlighted
their difficulties in developing national communications and called on the SBSTA
to address financial support. AOSIS drew attention to possible negative
implications of tying adaptation finance to the completion of national
communications. AOSIS participated in the informal consultations on this issue in
an attempt to get recognition of the fact that small island states and LDCs may
have limited capacity to prepare second national communications based on the
new guidelines. This point is recognised in the actual guidelines.
COP Conclusions: In the draft decision (FCCC/SBI/2002/L.26 and Add.1),
Parties decide that:
non-Annex I Parties should use the guidelines contained in the annex for the
preparation of second and, where appropriate, third national communications,
except where Parties have initiated the process of preparing second national
the guidelines should be used to provide guidance to an operating entity of the
financial mechanism for funding the preparation of national communications; and
COP-9 shall determine the frequency of submissions.
Comment: AOSIS needs to keep a close involvement of this issue, as it is
apparent that some Annex I Parties see a link between the preparation on
national communications and adaptation funding. We should work to ensure that
these issues are considered separately.
Adaptation will require further in-depth consideration, since it is so very important
to us. So-called “natural” disasters are also worsening, and we need to have the
necessary preparations in place. The recent events in Solomon Islands also
show that early warning systems are vital to the survival of islanders.
COP-8 did not leave us with the sense that there would be more assistance
adaptation will be forthcoming. Instead it looks increasingly necessary to
continually make our case to the international community. For this reason we
should be prepared to do our own projections and studies, and to seek the right
technology, information and capacity training to undertake urgently needed
adaptation strategies. We need to be careful that we are not buried in studies,
reports and plans and fail to see actual adaptation projects on the ground. We
need to have access to adequate and predictable sources of financial assistance
so that there can be effective adaptation activities. As a possible way forward
AOSIS may need to develop a “quick response adaptation initiative” so that we
can access funding for adaptation projects for our most vulnerable

3.6 IPCC Third Assessment Report (TAR)
AOSIS spoke in SBSTA plenary supporting the view that the IPCC TAR be used
as a scientific reference point for all agenda items of SBSTA and the COP. This
viewpoint was opposed by the US and G-77/China (spokesperson Saudi Arabia).
The Chair of SBSTA did not hold a contact group on this matter, preferring to
prepare his conclusions based on the plenary discussion.
SBSTA Conclusions: The conclusions (FCCC/SBSTA/2002/L.20) note that
SBSTA considers the possible implications of the TAR for its work and would
consider the TAR further at SBSTA-18.
Comment: This is an issue where AOSIS needs to be vigilant in its pursuit of the
fact the IPCC TAR highlights the concern for small island states on the impacts
of climate change. Wherever possible we should use the evidence in the TAR to
substantiate our concerns. We should be prepared for SBSTA-18 to elaborate
our views on this issue.
3.8. Report of the Executive Board of the Clean Development Mechanism
The Report on Guidance to the CDM Executive Board was presented to the COP
Plenary on Friday, 25th October.
COP Decision: The decision (FCCC/2002/L.5 and Add.1) adopts, inter alia: the
implementation of work plan tasks; financial and operational procedures; and the
draft rules of procedure. The draft rules lay out the nomination, election and reelection of the board members and their alternates, meetings, and the role of the
UNFCCC Secretariat.
Comment: The considerable workload that our esteemed AOSIS representatives
of the CDM Executive Board are quite considerable. Once the Kyoto Protocol
comes into force this workload will increase dramatically as projects and
methodologies are submitted to the Executive Board for consideration. We
should try and find means of helping out our colleagues in this regard.
3.9 Follow up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development:
In the opening COP Plenary on Wednesday, 23 October, UNFCCC Executive
Secretary Joke Waller-Hunter reported on the outcomes of the World Summit on
Sustainable Development (WSSD). She noted amongst other things the call to
ratify the Kyoto Protocol and need for an increased share of renewable energy
resource. AOSIS had informal consultations with representatives from the EU
concerning a renewable energy initiative. I attended a lunchtime consultation with
like-minded countries concerning a renewable energy initiative.
Outcome: The like-minded group discussed a renewable energy initiative. The
Brazilian delegation indicated that they would facilitate a consultation on this
initiative in Sao Paulo later in November. AOSIS was invited to this consultation
and I attended a two-day meeting in Sao Paulo. We had a very preliminary
exchange of views on the way forward.
Comment: Salvaging meaningful outcomes out of the WSSD and linking these to
efforts under the UNFCCC will be a challenge. The renewable energy initiative is
an important way forward. We should continue to participate in dialogues on this
matter and I encourage all AOSIS members to come forward with ideas and
initiatives that can be developed through this dialogue process. We are in a
strategic position to steer renewable energy activities in our direction and we
should not let this opportunity slip by.
3.10 Delhi Declaration:
The proposal to develop a declaration from the COP created considerable
controversy. A number of countries which had ratified the Kyoto Protocol wanted
to use the Declaration as a means of advancing dialogue on developing country
commitments. A number of AOSIS members made intervention in this context.
Declaration Text: The Delhi Declaration on Climate Change and Sustainable
Development (FCCC/CP/2002/L.6 Rev.1): recalls the UNFCCC ultimate
objective; reaffirms development and poverty eradication as overriding priorities
in developing countries;
recognizes with concern the findings of the TAR and its
ongoing consideration in the SBSTA; notes the need for both mitigation and
adaptation measures; expresses concern at the vulnerability of developing
countries, especially LDCs and small island developing States; and recognizes
Africa as the region suffering most from the combined impacts of climate change
and poverty.
The Declaration calls for Parties that have ratified the Protocol to urge others to
ratify. It calls for policies and measures specific to each country’s conditions,
integration of climate change objectives into national sustainable development
strategies, and implementation of UNFCCC commitments according to Parties’
common but differentiated responsibilities, development priorities and
circumstances. It stresses adaptation, the exchange of information, and
consideration of developing country concerns arising from the adverse effects of
climate change and implementation of response measures.
The Declaration further calls for development, dissemination and investment in
innovative technologies, the strengthening of technology transfer, as well as
improved energy access, diversification of energy supplies and an increase in the
use of renewable energy. It also stresses the need for Annex I Parties to take the
lead and further implement their commitments under the UNFCCC, including with
regard to the provision of financial resources, technology transfer and capacity
Comment: As the Kyoto Protocol teeters on the brink of entering into force, a
number of countries are now looking at means of broadening the commitments of
countries. Most of the focus appears to be on how developing countries can take
on binding commitments. Needless to say this is a very sensitive issue,
particularly as the United States and Australia have indicated their lack of support
for the Kyoto Protocol.
We have to bear in mind the principles of the Convention and the Protocol.
Developed countries must do their share, and be prepared to do more. But
AOSIS, and other developing countries must also be willing as parties to the
Climate Change Convention to discuss the adequacy of Annex I commitments
under Articles 4.2 (a) and (b) of the Convention. As we have stated before, there
is clearly a Convention requirement that we do so. This must be driven by the
most vulnerable, but should not lead to a fight with our fellow developing
We know that we share the concerns of many developing countries about any
attempt to transmit the primary responsibility for climate change mitigation efforts
to developing countries. This is not how we wish to address the problem. We
must reiterate that clearly industrialized countries have the primary responsibility
for climate change mitigation, and should do more to take the lead and to
demonstrate quality leadership on mitigation. There should be no abdication of
AOSIS should have a careful discussion of what we would consider as viable
targets for developing countries, and what form these should take. We should
also establish a process for re-engaging the US and Australia into the Kyoto
Protocol process.
4. Climate Change in the UNGA
4.1 As in the past climate change was again a key issue item in the agenda of
the 57th UN General Assembly in New York. The introduction of the item
“Protection of Global Climate for Present and Future Generations” was made
with presentations from the Executive Directors of the UNEP and UNFCCC
respectively underscoring the seriousness of the adverse effects of climate
change on the global environment.
Resolution A/RES/57/257: Negotiations on the resolution in the Second
Committee of the General Assembly were difficult with delegations preferring to
stick to procedural matters only including some of the Delhi Declaration

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Sub Topic: Mitigation


Meeting: COP9