Detail Of Implementation

The convention provided for the INC to continue meeting before the convention itself came into force, and this decision was ratified by the UN General Assembly (UN General Assembly, 1992). The purpose of this was both to prepare for the first Conference of the Parties (COP1), and to prepare possible amendments to the convention, or protocols to it. The INC met twice a year from the signing of the convention until the first Conference of the Parties met in Berlin between 28 March and 7 April 1995.

The focus of the first three sessions, INCs 6-8, was primarily on technical issues related to the implementation of the convention's various features. These questions included: how the Subsidiary Bodies on Implementation and on Scientific and Technological Advice would work in practice; what methodologies countries should use to prepare their inventories of greenhouse gas sources and sinks, or their climate plans; and what criteria would be used for disbursing funds under the Financial Mechanism.

Two main themes dominated the negotiations at this point. One was the Financial Mechanism. The debate from before Rio about whether it should be housed in the GEF had moved on to the question of the relationship between the GEF and the COP of the convention. Most industrialised countries maintained that the GEF should remain independent from the convention in its operations, while cooperating with the bodies set up by the convention. By contrast, developing countries argued it should be, in effect, a subsidiary body of the convention, subject to direction on operational questions. The issue was the same one of governance, the COP being under the one-member-one-vote system, while the GEF, through the World Bank, is dominated by the industrialised countries.

The second was the question ofJoint Implementation. This debate had been present before Rio, but intensified after it. The convention had agreed that industrialised countries could implement their commitments 'individually or jointly' (Article 4.2(a)). This became a big North-South question. Partly because it was (deliberately) ambiguous in the convention itself, and partly because some industrialised countries, such as Norway, wished to widen the scope of JI, developing countries suspected that it would become a new way of entrenching an 'eco-colonial' division of the world's resources, with high consumption in the North compensated by investments in the South in forests, energy efficiency projects, and so on. Southern countries were therefore sceptical in general ofJI, but in particular tried to make sure that it would only apply between industrialised countries, rather than among any parties, and also that no credits under the convention could be gained for action implemented jointly.

During 7-10 December 1992, the INC met for the first time since Rio, this time in Geneva. This was a short procedural meeting, where the main items discussed were a plan of work for the committee until the convention came into force and then the first COP, and, following this, revising the roles of the two working groups of the INC (INC, 6January 1993; ECO, December 10 1992:2). The Secretariat produced with the meetings agenda a list of the parts of the convention which required work to be undertaken before the first COP, and this was adopted by the Committee (INC, 24 August 1992; 30 October 1992; 6January 1993:9). These tasks were split into three clusters. Cluster A dealt with commitments, covering methodologies for calculating emissions inventories, criteria for joint implementation, reviewing information submitted by industrialised countries, and reviewing the adequacy of commitments. Cluster B dealt with the financial mechanism of the convention, and Cluster C dealt with the rules of procedure for the COP, the organising of a permanent secretariat, and institutional questions concerning implementation of the convention (INC 6January 1993:10). Working Groups I and II were reorganised so that Working Group I now dealt with Cluster A, and Working Group II with the other clusters.25

In March 1993, the INC held its seventh meeting, this time in New York. It was here that the impact of the new US Administration came to be felt. Madeleine Albright, the Permanent Representative of the US to the United Nations, addressed the meeting, implicitly criticising the previous Administration by stating that 'we are well aware of the disappointment in many quarters that the Convention did not go further' (ECO, 16 March 1993:1). NGOs, such as the Environmental Defense Fund's Michael Oppenheimer, stated that the speech 'sent a strong signal of the Clinton Administration's intention to move rapidly forward on climate change' (ECO, 16 March 1993).

However, the formal sessions still concentrated on two technical and procedural issues. First, many of the INC's previous officers had stepped down—Jean Ripert retiring, and Liz Dowdeswell taking over from Mostapha Tolba as Executive Director of UNEP.26 Second, the December session had decided that only Working Group II would meet at this session, and that it would focus on the financial mechanism. The INC discussed this, but made no substantial decisions.

Again in Geneva, during 16-27 August, the INC continued on these technical issues. This was the first meeting at which the whole range of issues in the INC's list was discussed (INC, 20 October 1993). It focused, for example, on the structure of the subsidiary bodies on implementation and on scientific and technical assessment (ECO, 19 August 1993:2); on the criteria of eligibility for funds; and on who should control the financial mechanism. There were also the first tentative but informal discussions of the adequacy of the commitments contained in articles 4.2 (a) and (b) of the convention, in a meeting organised by the Climate Action Network (CAN) at which a number of delegations argued that these articles were too weak [ECO, 26 August 1993:1).

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