The first session of the AWG began on Wednesday afternoon, 17 May. COP/MOP 1 Vice-President Enele Sopoaga (Tuvalu) welcomed delegates and noted that COP/MOP 1 President Rona Ambrose (Canada) was unable to attend. He drew attention to COP/MOP 1’s Decision 1/CMP.1, which he said initiated a process to consider further commitments by Annex I parties for the post-2012 period, in accordance with Kyoto Protocol Article 3.9 (subsequent commitments). He explained that the AWG was a new subsidiary body designed to facilitate this process, and that it would be an open-ended ad hoc working group that would report to each session of the COP/MOP.
Vice-President Sopoaga reported that consultations had been held on candidates for the AWG bureau, and proposed Michael Zammit Cutajar (Malta) as Chair and Luiz Alberto Figueiredo Machado (Brazil) as Vice-Chair. Parties elected both candidates by acclamation. Evans Njewa (Malawi) was subsequently elected as Rapporteur.
AWG Chair Zammit Cutajar said the AWG is important because it presents an opportunity for Annex I parties to demonstrate leadership and an occasion to give a signal of continuity to the carbon markets. He stressed the significance of the AWG as part of a larger process both inside and outside the UNFCCC, noting that the AWG by itself does not have the mandate to open or encourage contributions from non-Annex I parties or Protocol non-parties such as the US. Calling for a harmonious fit with other parts of the process of considering the future of the climate regime, he expressed hope that the work would proceed with momentum, motivation and ambition.
Richard Kinley, Officer-in-Charge of the UNFCCC Secretariat, emphasized the potential of market forces and the need for long-term and cohesive policies to fully unleash their power.
Parties adopted the agenda without amendment (FCCC/KP/AWG/2006/1). Parties began by hearing statements on the AWG’s future work, and then took up discussions in contact groups and informal consultations.
Many parties then commented on the AWG’s future work plan, focusing on such issues as the nature and “level of ambition” of the second commitment period and its timescale/length, and other matters relating to timing, continuity between the first and second commitment periods, links with other processes such as Protocol Article 9 (review of the Protocol), key topics that should be discussed by the AWG, and the scientific basis of the AWG’s work. Several parties highlighted the urgent need to move forward on future commitments under Article 3.9, and that there should be no time gap between the end of the first commitment period and start of the second. For a more detailed written report on these statements, see: www.iisd.ca/vol12/enb12298e.html. Complete webcast records of these speeches are available online.
Planning of future work
The issue of future work was first taken up in plenary on 17 May, and required extensive informal consultations before agreement was reached just before midnight on 25 May. Since this was the first meeting of this new subsidiary body to the Protocol,
discussions focused on both the AWG’s scope and how it should carry out its work. Parties stated their positions in the opening plenary and during an open informal meeting on 18 May.
South Africa, for the G-77/China, said Annex I commitments for the second commitment period should be “substantially stricter” than the first commitment period and the task of deciding on the details and rules of the second commitment period should be completed by 2008. China stressed the AWG’s mandate to decide on new Annex I quantitative commitments and the length of the second commitment period. The EU restated its target (15-50% reductions by 2050), highlighted its Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and said commitments must be clearly defined and fair. India called for more extensive use of the CDM, and the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) underscored historical emissions. New Zealand, Switzerland and others, opposed by the G-77/China, noted the linkages between this process and the one for Article 9. Norway stressed consideration of LULUCF issues and bunker fuels, and the Republic of Korea drew attention to the important role of technology. Canada stressed results-oriented actions and lessons learned from climate policy. Iceland highlighted sectoral benchmarking and the Russian Federation noted voluntary commitments. Japan said the second commitment period should be based on a thorough scientific analysis and should not be not a “political exercise.”
Over the weekend, Vice-Chair Figueiredo Machado held informal bilateral consultations with many delegations, resulting in the idea of holding a workshop. On Monday, 22 May, draft text was introduced by Chair Zammit Cutajar, and discussions focused on the content and format of the proposed workshop, as well as on what and what not to include in AWG’s future work. On 24 May, a revised Chair’s non-paper was presented, including a list of indicative relevant topics. Informal consultations continued throughout 25 May in a very small group. Discussions emphasized the possible focus of the AWG’s work, with parties seeking to ensure that the priorities raised in plenary received sufficient attention. In particular, delegates focused on the proposed workshop at COP/MOP and on whether to include an indicative list of key issues to be considered by the AWG that had been developed by the Chair. Late on 25 May, agreement was finally reached on text regarding the planning of future work (FCCC/KP/AWG/2006/L.2/Rev.1), which was included as part of the report of the session (FCCC/KP/AWG/2006/L.1).
AWG Outcome: In its agreement on the planning of future work (FCCC/KP/AWG/2006/L.2/Rev.1), the AWG:
takes note of parties’ submissions (FCCC/KP/AWG/2006/MISC.1 & Add.1) and statements concerning Protocol Article 3.9;
reaffirms that its discussions will focus on the consideration of further commitments by Annex I parties to be established in amendments to Annex B of the Kyoto Protocol;
recalls that AWG should aim to complete its work on time to ensure no
gap between the first and the second commitment periods;
reaffirms that it will proceed “expeditiously” towards agreement on further commitments;
observes that Annex I parties need to assemble and analyze information on scientific, technical and socioeconomic topics to enhance understanding of the ambition level of further commitments;
notes that information can be sought from other bodies and processes under the Convention and Protocol, IPCC, intergovernmental organizations and parties themselves;
considers that it is important to keep in mind work underway and relevant results from other Convention and Protocol bodies and processes; and
notes the relevance of continuing to review implementation of commitments for the first commitment period.
The AWG also decides to hold its second session at COP/MOP 2, considers holding an in-session workshop at AWG 2 for the presentation and exchange of relevant information, and invites submissions from Annex I parties on emission trends, mitigation potential of policies and technologies, and cost and benefits of emission reductions. In addition, it requests the Secretariat to organize this workshop, including a presentation by the IPCC, and decides that AWG will meet during the two sessional periods in 2007 and will further elaborate its work plan at AWG 2.
The AWG’s plan of future work also includes a list made by the Chair under his own initiative and responsibility on “non-exhaustive” topics that may be relevant to the further work of the AWG. These include: the scientific basis for the determination of further commitments; scenarios and risks associated with those scenarios; costs and impacts of adaptation; emission trends and socioeconomic drivers; mitigation potential of policies, measures and technologies; costs and benefits of mitigation; sectoral analyses and impacts on competitiveness; experience gained and lessons learned in implementing the Kyoto Protocol; duration of commitment periods; sectoral approach; architecture of future commitments; further incentives for technology development, deployment and transfer; and legal matters.
On Thursday, 25 May, the AWG reconvened in plenary just before midnight. Chair Zammit Cutajar noted concerns expressed by Switzerland regarding future transparency of the process and by Saudi Arabia regarding inclusion of observer parties, and said these would be addressed at AWG 2. Parties adopted the draft report of the session (FCCC/KP/AWG/2006/L.1) and Chair Zammit Cutajar closed the session at 12:20 am.