Adverse Effects: Response Measures (Art. 4.8)

Background

This issue concerns the adverse impacts on developing countries both of climate change and of response measures aimed at mitigating climate change.

  • Article 4.8 of the Convention calls on Parties to consider actions, including those related to funding, insurance and the transfer of technology, to meet the specific needs and concerns of developing countries in this regard, listing categories of countries (e.g. small island countries and countries whose economies are highly dependent on fossil fuel) that may be particularly affected.

  • Article 2.3 of the Kyoto Protocol urges Annex I Parties to strive to implement policies and measures set out under Article 2 in such a way as to minimize adverse effects of climate change, effects on international trade, and social, environmental and economic impacts on other Parties, especially on those identified in Article 4.8 and 4.9 of the Convention, taking into account Article 3 of the Convention (principles). The COP serving as the meeting of the Parties (COP/MOP) may take further action to promote the implementation of this paragraph.

  • Article 3.14 of the Kyoto Protocol requires Annex I Parties to strive to implement their emission targets in such a way as to minimize adverse social, environmental and economic impacts on developing countries, particularly those identified in Article 4.8 and 4.9. It also calls on the COP/MOP to consider, at its first session, what actions are necessary to minimize such adverse impacts.

How to address the vulnerability of developing countries·to both climate change impacts and response measures, along with the specific concerns of LDCs·first appeared on the agenda of the COP as a separate item when, together with the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol, Parties launched a process to consider what action should be taken. At COP 3 (Kyoto, December 1997), Parties adopted decision 3/CP.3, which requested the SBI to launch a process to identify actions needed to meet the needs of developing countries specified under Article 4.8 and 4.9 arising from the adverse effects of climate change and the impact of the implementation of response measures. At COP 4 (Buenos Aires, November 1998), Parties adopted a work programme on this issue as part of the "Buenos Aires Plan of Action", culminating at COP 6 (The Hague, November 2000). Article 3.14 of the Kyoto Protocol was first placed on the agenda for consideration as a separate item at COP 5 (Bonn, October/November 1999). At that session, Parties decided to consider the item further at COP 6 in order to develop input for COP/MOP 1.

Negotiations on both Article 4.8 and 4.9 of the Convention and Article 3.14 of the Kyoto Protocol have been conducted in the same contact group convened jointly by the SBSTA and the SBI. Intersessional workshops have also been held to advance work on this issue.

Parties failed to reach agreement on a package of decisions under the Buenos Aires Plan of Action at COP 6 (The Hague, November 2000) and, in the same way as for other items, negotiating texts on Article 4.8 and 4.9 of the Convention and Article 3.14 of the Kyoto Protocol were forwarded to a resumed session of COP 6 for further work. However, COP 6 adopted conclusions advancing work concerning LDCs. The COP also forwarded a resolution as input for the Third UN Conference on LDCs (Brussels, May 2001) and made certain requests to the secretariat to enable LDCs to provide technical input on the adverse effects of climate change to the Conference.

At COP 6 part II (Bonn, July 2001), Parties adopted the Bonn Agreements on the Implementation of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action, registering political agreement on key issues, including on the adverse effects of climate change and the impact of the implementation of response measures. Work was also completed on two detailed decisions based on the Bonn Agreements, one on the implementation of Article 4.8 and 4.9 of the Convention, and one on matters relating to Article 3.14 of the Kyoto Protocol. These completed decisions were formally adopted at COP 7 (Marrakesh, October/November 2001).

The decisions on the implementation of Article 4.8 and 4.9 provide for funding of activities to address the adverse effects of climate change and the impact of the implementation of response measures through the special climate change fund, the adaptation fund, additional guidance to the GEF and other bilateral and multilateral sources. The COP decision on Protocol Article 3.14 adopted by COP 7 with a view to recommending it for adoption by COP/MOP 1 includes an undertaking by Annex I Parties to provide information in their annual inventory report submitted under the Protocol on how they are striving to minimize adverse impacts on developing countries. The facilitative branch of the compliance committee shall consider such information. In addition, the decision states that Annex II Parties, and other Annex I Parties in a position to do so, should give priority to certain actions, such as removing subsidies on environmentally unsound and unsafe technologies.

Concerning the adverse effects of climate change and the impact of the implementation of response measures, the decision specifies activities to be supported by the GEF, the special climate change fund, other bilateral and multilateral sources and, in the case of the adverse effects of climate change, the adaptation fund under the Kyoto Protocol:

  • Regarding vulnerability to the adverse effects of climate change, these activities include: data collection; research and monitoring of climate change impacts; assessment of vulnerability and adaptation options; capacity-building; improving early warning systems for rapid response to extreme weather events; and starting to implement adaptation activities where warranted. 

  • Concerning vulnerability to response measures, the activities cover: promoting investment for economic diversification; development and transfer of more climate-friendly technologies, including non-energy uses of fossil fuels, advanced fossil fuel technologies and carbon capture/storage; the expansion of climate-friendly energy sources (e.g. natural gas and renewable); and capacity-building.

The subsidiary bodies reviewed progress in these activities, and reported to COP 8 (New Delhi, October/November 2002) and COP 9 (Milan, December 2003).

The decision on matters relating to Article 3.14 of the Kyoto Protocol establishes a process for the implementation of the Article, including exchange of information and the development of methodologies on the assessment of adverse impacts. In adopting this decision, COP 7 recommended it for adoption to COP/MOP 1. The Marrakesh Accords set out a programme of continuing analytical work on the impacts of climate change and response measures, involving a series of regional and issue-specific workshops, including on the topic of insurance-related actions.

Since the Marrakech Accords matters related to the implementation of Article 4.9 have been dealt in a separate contact group. 

A workshop on the status of modelling activities to assess the adverse effects of climate change and the impact of response measures already implemented on individual developing country Parties was held from 16 to 18 May 2002 in Bonn. At SBI 16 (Bonn, June 2002), Parties were invited to submit views on issues relating to the workshop, and on progress in the implementation of decision 5/CP.7. SBI 16 also invited Parties to submit views on the possible terms of reference for the insurance workshops under decision 5/CP.7.

At SBI 17 (New Delhi, October/November 2002), Parties continued to discuss implementation issues under decision 5/CP.7, including the outcomes of the modelling workshop held in May 2002 and the terms of reference for workshops on insurance and risk assessment. The SBI invited Parties to submit further views on progress in the implementation of decision 5/CP.7 by 15 April 2003 and these views were discussed at SBI 18.

At SBSTA 16 Parties also discussed including issues relating to the implementation of Article 2.3 on the agenda. No consensus was reached, and the question of whether this issue should be discussed was deferred to SBSTA 17. SBSTA 17 discussed issues relating to the implementation of Article 2.3. After informal consultations conducted by the Chair of SBSTA, the SBSTA concluded that this issue will be discussed further at SBSTA 18. Despite consultations, no agreement was reached on whether to draft a decision requesting the secretariat to analyse the adverse effects of policies and measures on developing countries. Further consultations on this matter were held at SBSTA 18.

At SBI 19 Parties continued to discuss implementation issues under decision 5/CP.7, including the outcome of the two workshops on insurance, one workshop on synergies with other multilateral environmental conventions, one workshop on economic diversification and on support programmes of Annex II Parties to address the related needs of non-Annex I Parties, and one regional workshop on local coping strategies and technologies for adaptation. The SBI invited Parties and relevant international organizations to submit to the secretariat, by 15 May 2004, information on current and/or planned activities including, where appropriate, support programmes, to meet the specific needs and circumstances of developing country Parties arising from the adverse effects of climate change, and implemented in support of the various provisions of decision 5/CP.7. SBI 19 decided to continue its consideration of related issues at its next session on the basis of a draft text that was prepared during the session.

SBSTA 19 discussed issues relating to the implementation of Article 2.3. After informal consultations conducted by the Chair of SBSTA, the SBSTA concluded that this issue will be discussed further at SBSTA 20.