Policy update from the INC/FCCC

Michael Zammit Cutajar Executive Secretary, Interim Secretariat, UNFCCC

1 The Conference

The national focus of the Conference corresponds to that of the FCCC. The Convention requires national action towards a global objective. It leaves a great degree of flexibility to each Party to decide what that action should be in its particular national circumstances. Annex I Parties have a common aim (to return emissions to 1990 levels by 2000) but are free to achieve it in different ways. The only universal requirement for all Parties is the GHG inventory. This openness of the framework reflects not only scientific uncertainty but also defence of the political and economic interests at stake.

Discussions like this can help to overcome this defensiveness by showing the way to "no regrets". Exchange of ideas among experts and of practical experiences among practitioners can advance policy convergence among the Convention Parties. For this to happen, however, the results of such discussions must be useable by negotiators and not too far ahead of where they are at.

2 The Convention negotiations - where are they at?

2.1 Three processes (FCCC, IPCC, GEF)

2.2 Two pillars

(a) Financial mechanism

(b) Policy review process

(c) Convention institutions

The Convention provides for institutions to be built as buttresses for these two pillars: SBSTA, SBI and the Convention secretariat. Latter will take over from present interim secretariat from 01.01.96. With reference to earlier remarks by Minister Auken and Mr. Usher, Convention secretariat should be able to draw upon coordinated support from United Nations programmes, including DPCSD, UNDP and UNEP. Whether UNEP should administer Convention secretariat, as suggested in statement by Mr. Usher, is for COP 1 to consider.

3 Possible inputs from Conference

This conference can offer pragmatic and useable advice to Convention negotiators on:

4 Further inputs to Conference

Information on two activities of the interim secretariat in support of national action in developing and transition countries:

Both projects are about to move forward at end of pilot phase; partners in both are present, as is responsible colleague Janos Pasztor. Information on both may be useful to conference participants and could be presented if agenda permits.

Looking ahead, we are working with UNDP and other partners to pull these and other activities together under an "umbrella project" to support the participation of developing and transition countries in the Convention. Your discussions on approaches to national mitigation strategies will help us to work this out.

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