AOSIS recaps the 18th session of the Subsidiary Bodies to the UNFCCC

2003-06-04 Ambassador Enele S Sopoaga (Tuvalu) on behalf of AOSIS Download PDF

Topic: Climate

1. Introduction
1.1 The Eighteenth Sessions of the Subsidiary Bodies (SB-18) to the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) were held from 4-13 June 2003,
in Bonn, Germany. Over 1288 participants attended the meeting, though it was evident
that a number of AOSIS countries were not present. The main problem was caused by
shortage of funding (see later discussion).
2. General Overview:
2.1 Intersessional SB meetings are generally typified by slow progress on most issues as
Parties are unwilling to conclude on issues before the COP. This meeting was no
exception. Discussions on the Budget appeared to be the most contentious and lasted till
the end of the final day. Of considerable concern is the fact that the United States clearly
wishes to differentiate between funding associated with the UNFCCC and the Kyoto
2.2 One notable element of the SB was the apparent intransigence of OPEC countries on a
number of issues, despite considerable overtures to accommodate their interests. There
appeared to be an orchestrated move aimed at demonstrating to the Russians that the
Kyoto Protocol was not going anywhere and that the Russians should think hard about
whether or not to ratify the KP. The intransigence of the OPEC lead to no text coming
forward on Articles 4.8 and 4.9 despite many countries (including AOSIS) bending over
backwards to accommodate their concerns. The debate on this issue lead to a split in the
G-77/China with AOSIS taking one viewpoint and the OPEC faction (including the
spokesperson for the G-77/China – a non-OPEC country) taking another. Despite
personal attacks on some AOSIS members, we were able to clearly indicate that we
would not accept the OPEC blocking tactics.
2.3 In a number of agenda items, Annex I Parties attempted to insert language that linked
adaptation to mitigation. This appeared to be aimed at progressing the issue of
developing country commitments in the second commitment period. This was not a
clever move. Implying that adaptation funding was conditional on mitigation action
incurred the wrath of the G-77/China and did not please AOSIS. AOSIS is in a very
strategic position to move forward on the issue of developing countries commitments (in
whatever form these may take). Linking the issue to adaptation is not going to help this
2.4 The other substantial issue at SB-18 was the discussion on modalities for including sinks
in the CDM. Confusion still reigns on this issue, with the consolidated negotiating text
containing four definitions on baselines. This in itself vindicates AOSIS’s cautious
approach to this issue. As it stands all of AOSIS’s text proposals remain.
2.5 It is highly unlikely that Russia will ratify the Kyoto Protocol in time for a possible
COP/MOP in Milan. Apart from the complexities of the Russian bureaucracy, it appears
that Russia is still looking for indicators on future developing country commitments.
AOSIS is well placed to give an assurance that we are willing to move forward on this
issue. We may need to consider whether we should prepare a paper for the World
Climate Conference being held in Moscow in September on this issue.
2.6 In the absence of the President of the previous COP (India), AOSIS’s representative on
the Bureau, Tuvalu, had the honour of chairing the Bureau meeting at the SBI.
2.7 A copy of my report of that Bureau meeting is attached as Annex I to his report.
3. Agenda Item 3(a) and (b) Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change; Scientific, Technical and Socio-economic Aspects of Impacts of,
and Vulnerability and Adaptation to, Climate Change: Scientific, Technical and
Socio-Economic Aspects of Mitigation:

3.1 The SBSTA recalled that the TAR should be routinely used as a guide for agenda items
on the COP and subsidiary bodies. The SBSTA decided to complete its work under the
TAR agenda item under two heading relating to mitigation and adaptation. It invited
Parties to submit by 30 October 2003 their views on the scope and priorities for the
consideration of the two agenda items. The SBSTA also noted the two agenda items in
relation to the objectives of the Convention and sustainable development.
Comment: Reference to the TAR continues to be a controversial issue. Some developing
countries see this item as a link to commitments in the second commitment period. Needless to
say so do many Annex I Parties. AOSIS (Mauritius) played a key role in getting quite a good
outcome on this issue. The reference to continued consideration of agenda items and the
reference to the objectives of the Convention help move the debate on scientific aspects of
climate change and its impacts are important outcomes.
4. Agenda Item 4(a) Methodological Issues: Review of Methodological Work under
the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol
4.1 The SBSTA noted the need to prioritize its methodological work as a means of assisting
Parties in implementing their commitments under the Convention and the Kyoto
Protocol. It invited Parties to submit, by 15 August 2003, their views on elements of a
possible future work programme. The conclusion included a table on initial proposals by
Parties on elements of possible future work. This included items such as: revision of
Revised 1996 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, Good Practice
Guidance on LULUCF, harvested wood products, work of the International Civil
Aviation Organization and the International Maritime Organization, guidelines under
Articles 5,7 and 8 of the KP, synthesis of third national communications, information on
policies and measures, clearing house on technology transfer, methodologies for
assessing adaptation technologies, guidelines for non-Annex I communication, and so
Comment: This agenda items is very important as it brings together all the methodological work
being undertaken in a broad range of issues. It could easily establish an agenda for steering
discussions towards future commitments. There is no specific AOSIS coordinator for this issue.
Nevertheless, AOSIS may wish to make a submission on this item before the August deadline.
5. Agenda Item 4(b) Methodological Issues: Issues relating to Articles 5, 7 and 8 of the
Kyoto Protocol.
5.1 SBSTA prepared technical guidance on methodologies for adjustments under Article 5.2
of the Kyoto Protocol for use by Expert Review Teams to calculate adjustments. This
agenda item included two draft decisions for COP 9: technical guidance on
methodologies for adjustments under Article 5.2 of the KP and Issues relating to the
implementation of Article 8 (Expert Review Teams) of the Kyoto Protocol.
Comment: AOSIS did not follow this issue. This is an unfortunate oversight. It would be
useful to identify a technically competent AOSIS representative who can follow this issue and
participate in Expert Review Teams.
6. Agenda Item 4(c) Methodological Issues: Issues Relating to Reporting and Review
of Greenhouse Gas Inventories from Parties included in Annex I to the Convention
6.1 SBSTA recommended a draft decision for COP 9 on a training programme for members
of expert review teams for technical reviews of GHG inventories of Annex I Parties;
Code of conduct for the treatment of confidential information; and elements for inclusion
in the agreement for expert review services.
Comment: AOSIS did not follow these discussions.
7. Agenda Item 4(d) Methodological Issues: Land use, land-use change and forestry:
definitions and modalities for including afforestation and reforestation activities
under Article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol:
7.1 SBSTA noted that it made progress on definitions and modalities for including A&R
project activities under the CDM in the first commitment period and requested the
Secretariat to organize pre- sessional consultations and agreed to continue its work on the
draft negotiating text at SBSTA-19. SBSTA produced a draft negotiating text which
includes an annex which contains a number of brackets on: definitions of forest,
reforestation, and afforestation; carbon pools; project boundary; baseline net greenhouse
gas removals by sinks; actual net greenhouse gas removals by sinks; leakage; issuance of
various types of CERs; and non-permanence of projects. The annex also contains a
bracketed appendix, providing guidance on the socioeconomic and environmental
impacts of projects
Comment: This issue continues to be extremely complex. Currently there are 4 definitions
on baselines. This is justification in itself for AOSIS’s cautious approach to including sinks in
the CDM. All of AOSIS’s proposals relating to non-permanence, definitions and environmental
and socio-economic impacts remain in the negotiating text. So too is AOSIS’s insistence that the
modalities for including sinks in the CDM relate only to the first commitment period. This is
consistent with the mandate given in Marrakech. The AOSIS coordinator for this issue is
Tuvalu (Ian Fry).
8. Agenda Item 4(e) Methodological Issues: Good Practice Guidance and other
Information on Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry
8.1 The SBSTA noted progress on the IPCC’s work LULUCF and decided to continue to
consider work in relation to harvested wood products.
Comment: The scientists associated with the IPCC’s work on LULUCF are working hard to
develop good practice guidance on LULUCF. Their report is likely to be available at COP 9 and
may be submitted for adoption by the COP. We should be cautious with this process. While the
IPCC produce excellent work, there are inherent biases associated with promoting the forestry
sector and these biases may not truly represent good climate science. The issue of harvested
wood products progresses slowly and again with certain inherent biases. We need to keep a
watchful eye on this as well. Tuvalu is the coordinator for this work (Ian Fry).
9. Agenda Item 4(f) Methodological Issues: Emissions from Fuel used in International
Aviation and Maritime Transport
9.1 SBSTA invited ICAO and IMO to hold two expert meetings before SB-20 to improve
methodologies for estimating and reporting on emissions from these sectors.
Comment: In the final Plenary of SBSTA, Ambassador Astrada (Argentina) expressed concern
about the response to this issue. He noted that emissions from airlines had doubled in the last
decade, yet we were welcoming the information provided by ICAO. This is clearly one of the
areas where we need to focus attention. It is a sensitive issue as SIDS are reliant on ship and
airline transport. Some are flag states or owners of airlines. Nevertheless, these are major
emissions sources that need to be addressed. The AOSIS coordinator for this issue is the
Bahamas (Mr Arthur W. Rolle).
10. Agenda Item 5: Development and Transfer of Technologies
10.1 SBSTA requested the Expert Group on Technology Transfer (EGTT) to consider
including in the future work programme activities to enhance the development of
environmentally sound technologies and consider the workshop on synergies with other
conventions. The SBSTA requested to the Secretariat to organise a roundtable at COP 9
to discuss enabling environments for technology transfer, to organise a special meeting
of the EGTT in India and to continue links with TT:CLEAR and other processes.
Comment: AOSIS may wish to explore synergies between the Johannesburg Coalition on
Renewable Energy and the work of the EGTT. The AOSIS coordinator for this issue is
Trinidad and Tobago. He was appointed as an informal facilitator on this matter.

11. Agenda Item 6: “Good Practices” in Policies and Measures among Parties included
in Annex I to the Convention:
11.1 The SBSTA welcomed progress in the implementation of this issue.
Comment: This is one of the issues where OPEC countries continue to block progress. They are
ably assisted by some members of the Umbrella Group. As we approach 2005 when Parties will
be asked to assess their progress in meeting their target, the discussion on policies and measures
will have greater significance. It is evident that Annex I Parties are no where near meeting their
targets. We should remain vigilant on this issue, despite the difficulties. Samoa has been the
spokesperson on this issue. We may need to find someone else to replace the Samoan
delegate when he leaves (see later note).
12. Agenda Item 7: Research and Systematic Observation
12.1 The SBSTA requested Parties to submit by 15 September 2003 their views on priorities
for actions arising from the Second Report on the Adequacy of the Global Observing
Systems for Climate in Support of the UNFCCC. SBSTA also prepared a draft decision
for COP 9 which request the GCOS to coordinate the development of a five-to-ten year
implementation plan for integrated observing systems and to support developing
countries, especially the least-developed and SIDS in baseline atmospheric networks and
encouraged GCOS to establish a voluntary GCOS funding system.
Comment: The recognition of the needs of SIDS in developing climate observation systems is
very important. We should consider making a submission on this important issue. The AOSIS
coordinator for this is the Cook Islands and Mauritius ( Myra MOEKA’A and Soobaraj
13. Agenda Item 8: Cooperation with Relevant International Organizations:
13.1 The SBSTA agreed to consider this item further and take into consideration the
workshop to be held in Espoo, Finland 2-4
th July 2003. It welcomed the IPCC decision
to undertake a Fourth Assessment Report and encouraged Parties to coordinate issues
relevant to the Convention and the WTO at the national level.
Comment: The development of the Fourth Assessment Report is important. AOSIS countries
should try to find appropriate scientists to make contributions to this report. The text referring to
the WTO is disappointing. The UNFCCC needs to explore this issue further. It is not just a
matter for national governments. AOSIS did not have anyone following this issue at SBSTA.
Normally this is covered by Palau (not present at SB) or Tuvalu (overloaded with other
agenda items).
14. Agenda Item 9(a) Other Matters: Issues relating to cleaner or less greenhouse gasemitting energy
14.1 The SBSTA did not complete consideration of this issue.
Comment: This is Canada’s proposal to get credit for exporting natural gas to the US. AOSIS
has made interventions in previous COPs and SBSTAs opposing Canada’s proposal. Samoa is
the current AOSIS coordinator for this issue. We will need to consider a replacement when
the current representative leaves.
15. Agenda Item 9(b) Other Matters: Issues relating to the Implementation of Article
2.3 of the Kyoto Protocol
15.1 SBSTA did not complete consideration of this issue.
Comment: This is one of the OPEC countries favourite issues. It is not surprising that little
progress was made. There is no specific AOSIS coordinator for this issue.
16. Agenda Item 9(c): Other Matters: Any Other Matters
16.1 SBSTA noted the importance of the World Climate Change Conference in Moscow in
September, noted information provided by the World Climate Research Programme and
the International Geosphere Biosphere Programme on the Brazilian proposal (model for
attributing the sources of historic GHG emissions), and welcomed the Indian technology
bazaar in New Delhi in November 2003. The SBSTA also noted that a special meeting
of the EGTT and a workshop on adaptation will take place at the same time as the New
Delhi bazaar.
The SBSTA requested the Secretariat to develop the agenda for the adaptation workshop.
Comment: The proposal for an adaptation workshop in India is likely to create a special agenda
item on this issue at the next SBSTA meeting. Given the strong position of the AOSIS on the
issue of adaptation AOSIS representatives held discussions with the Chairs of the Subsidiary
Bodies and underscored the importance of progressing work on adaptation. AOSIS may wish to
provide guidance to the secretariat in developing an agenda for this workshop. It may be an
appropriate place to re-introduce the issue of insurance outside the difficulties of Article 4.8 and
4.9 discussions. In this respect MJ (FSM) indicated that she would circulate a report of the
insurance workshop held in May, 2003.
AOSIS delegations also saw the necessity to build closer alliances with the likeminded parties
on adaptation, and agreed to seek directions from respective Capitals with the view of
progressing the idea at COP9.
17. Agenda item 3(a) and (b): National Communications from Parties included in
Annex I to the Convention:
17.1 The SBI concluded that the compilation and synthesis of third national communications
from Annex I Parties merited further consideration.
Comment: As indicated in the AOSIS Brief for SB-18 most Annex I Parties are well above their
emissions reduction targets. AOSIS may want to draw attention to this fact and use this as a
basis for consideration of issues relating to future commitments. Currently there is no AOSIS
coordinator for this issue.
18. Agenda Item 4(a): Financial Matters Relating to Parties Not Included in Annex I:
Financial Mechanism: The Special Climate Change Fund
18.1 The SBI decided to consider, at SBI-19, further guidance to the GEF, for the operation of
the Special Climate Change Fund and to recommend a draft decision for COP-9.
Comment: In discussions on this contentious issue, AOSIS emphasised the importance of
funding for adaptation activities. AOSIS’s coordinator for this issue, Barbados (Rawlenson
MOORE) has been appointed co-chair. We may need to explore an alternative representative at
the COP, bearing in mind that Barbados will continue to support our endeavours.
19. Agenda Item 4(b) Financial Matters Relating to Parties Not Included in Annex I:
Provision of Financial and Technical Support.
19.1 The SBI acknowledged that financial resources would be required to enable the
provision of detailed information as required for national communications from NonAnnex I Parties. It also noted that the frequency of submission of second and where
appropriate third national communications by Non-Annex I Parties will be determined at
COP 9 and that Parties are requested to submit their views on this frequency by 15th
August 2003.
Comment: The new guidelines for Non-Annex I communications places a considerable burden
on SIDS. AOSIS should highlight this point in any submission on this issue due in August.
Cuba (Sr Luis Raul PAZ CASTRO) is the AOSIS coordinator on this issue.
20. Agenda Item 5: Capacity Building:
20.1 The SBI, in preparation for the conduct of the comprehensive review of implementation
of the framework for capacity building in developing countries endorsed a terms of
reference for this work. Among other conclusions the TOR said the report should
identify needs and gaps and assessment of factors and constraints in capacity-building
activities in developing countries.
Comment: The TOR for the capacity building review are fairly generic in nature. AOSIS may
wish to consider the need for specific elements relating to adaptation needs of SIDS. Guyana
(Ms Denis SIMMONS) and Cook Islands (Myra MOEKA’A) followed and coordinated
this issue for AOSIS.
21. Agenda Item 6(a) Implementation of Article 4.8 and 4.9: Progress on the
Implementation of Activities under Decision 5/CP.7 (modelling of response
measures and insurance for impacts)

21.1 SBI did not reach a conclusion on this item and would consider it further at SBI-19.
Comment: As indicated earlier in the introduction, this is one of the issues where AOSIS had to
stand up to the G-77/China, due to the blocking tactics of OPEC countries. The key element of
this item is the discussion on insurance matters – a crucial issue for SIDS. The report of the
workshop on insurance will be made available soon. It may be worth considering preparing an
AOSIS submission on this issue prior to COP 9 as this was the intent of one of AOSIS’s
proposals on this issue, even though submissions have not been called for (because of the
absence of any conclusion). The Federated States of Micronesia (MJ MACE) is the AOSIS
coordinator for this issue.
22 Agenda Item 6(b): Implementation of Article 4.8 and 4.9: Matters relating to LDCs
22.1 The SBI noted that further discussion was needed to address modalities relating to the
implementation of National Adaptation Plans of Action and that the implementation of
NAPAs should promote integration of adaptation concerns into the development
processes in LDCs.
Comment: The discussion on NAPAs appears to be a forerunner to funding on adaptation in
general. Annex I Parties continue to place hurdles in the way of Least Developed Countries in
their pursuit of receiving expedited funding for their immediate adaptation needs. The language
in the decision referring to further consideration of modalities for implementation is a clear
signal from Annex I Parties that funding for implementing NAPAs will not come easily. While
AOSIS has a number of LDC constituents we should follow this issue as a whole as it appears to
be establishing precedents for adaptation funding in general. Samoa (Lavasa MALUA) is the
AOSIS coordinator for this issue.
23. Agenda Item 7: Article 6 of the Convention (education, training and public
23. The SBI welcomed the Secretariat’s proposal for an Article 6 information network
clearing house and invited the Secretariat to: continue work on the development of the
clearing house project. The SBI also invited Parties to submit to the Secretariat, by 15
August 2003, their views on possible ways to improve reporting in their national
communications on activities aimed at implementing the New Delhi Article 6 work
Comment: AOSIS may wish to prepare a submission in relation to Article 6 for the August
deadline. The AOSIS coordinator for this issue is usually Niue, however he was not present at
24. Agenda Item 8: Request from Group of Countries of Central Asia regarding their
Status under the Convention
24.1 SBI did not reach a conclusion on this issue and would consider the item again at SB-19.
Comment: There is no AOSIS coordinator for this issue.
25. Agenda Item 9(a): Arrangements for Intergovernmental Meetings: COP 9
25.1 The SBI decided that round table discussions will be the mode of exchange during the
high-level segment at COP 9. In the event that the COP would be held in conjunction
with the COP/MOP, political statements will be the mode of exchanges during a joint
high-level segment.
Comment: AOSIS was not directly involved in these consultations.
26. Agenda Item 9(b): Arrangements for Intergovernmental Meetings: Arrangements
for the first COP/MOP
26.1 The SBI concluded that the meetings of the COP and COP/MOP would be held in
conjunction, while recognising their legally distinct nature with separate agendas. COP 9
would have a high level segment would be held on the 10th and 11th December 2003.
Comment: AOSIS did not participate directly in the issue, due to internal differences in
perspectives on how to organise the COP/MOP in relation to the COP.
27. Agenda Item 9(c): Arrangements for Intergovernmental Meetings: Future Sessional
27.1 The SBI noted that the proposed dates for the 2008 sessional periods (2-13 June and 1-12 December 2008).

Sub Topic: Cross-cutting


Meeting: SB18