TOKYO, 4 JULY 2003

Participants from 17 parties of the UNFCCC and 3 observers attended an informal meeting on 'Further Action against Climate Change', hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, in Tokyo on 2-4 July 2003. The meeting was convened by Japan and Brazil with the valuable financial contribution of Canada. The objective of the meeting was to provide an opportunity for participants to have a frank exchange of views on further actions against climate change. Discussion took place on the understanding that the opinions expressed did not necessarily reflect the positions of governments.

This summary was drafted on the responsibility of the two co-chairs, Mr. Yoshiki Mine, Ambassador for Global Environment, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and Mr. Everton Vieira Vargas, Director-General, Department of Environment and Special Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Relations of Brazil. This summary does not commit the governments of Japan and Brazil. It reflects the main points of the discussion.

In the discussion of motivation to deal with climate change :

The importance of public awareness in the context of mobilizing support for actions against climate change was amply discussed:

  • Actions will require broadening and deepening public awareness, and sharing experience among various actors involved.
  • The role of government: balancing business and public views, balancing long terms needs with short term realities, creating environments in which the private sector and others can deliver solutions, finding ways for more effective involvement of business and civil society in response to government actions
  • The role of business: identifying market opportunities, technological development and win-wins
  • The role of civil society: understanding of different responsibilities and practical involvement

During discussion on national actions to combat climate change :

The main points that were raised include :

  • National circumstances provide key context for actions
  • Broad range of policies and measures, variety of drivers and frameworks
  • Need to deal with climate change while generating economic growth and sustainable development in the developed and developing countries
  • Identify cost effective actions at the local level to control greenhouse gas emissions recognizing efforts already undertaken by Parties including non-Annex I countries (ancillary benefits)
  • Different views expressed on the changes of patterns of production and consumption
  • Can draw lessons from experience to date: need to learn-by-doing
  • Importance of a portfolio approach.

Regarding costs and competitiveness, following ideas were raised by the participants:

  • Business opportunities and competitive advantages can arise from actions to address climate change (e.g. improving energy efficiency)
  • Competitiveness implications operate at different levels - local, national, regional, global-, which indicates the importance of sharing information of competitiveness aspects
  • Identification of lowest cost measures critical but other considerations may influence whether implemented

A series of presentations were made on modelling and raised the following issues :

  • Modelling has limits but the process of developing models is important and should be promoted as well as the output which informs policy making
  • It may help develop common perceptions
  • Need to take into account the principles of the UNFCCC
  • Value in drawing on a variety of models and modelling results and studying the reasons for discrepancies between models
  • Dialogue between modellers as well as between modellers and policy makers is important and should be promoted
  • Need to ensure transparency of assumptions and approaches
  • Importance of developing models to address adaptation and vulnerability, taking into account the needs of the developing countries
  • Importance of increasing participation of modellers from developing countries in the efforts at the global level

The discussion on modelling raised the ample debate on data :

  • Importance of reliable data for informing policy makers
  • The difficulty of setting a single agreed data as well as problems in gaps and comparability in data were raised, but trends from different sets can be instructive.
  • Importance of objective yardsticks against which the progress of different countries can be measured and assessed
  • Need to continue to improve data and to fill gaps in data

In the discussion on a global response to climate change :

Ensuring equity was a central issue :

  • Multiple dimensions of equity within each group as well as among different groups (e.g. North-South, Annex I/Non-Annex I, parties/non-parties)
  • International, national and intergenerational equity are all relevant

In order to consider further actions against climate change, various points were raised, such as

  • Early entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol and the fulfilment of commitments by Annex I countries are among the essential conditions for moving forward
  • The importance of global participation in the regime was stressed
  • Need for technology transfer and finance for developing countries and the importance of international cooperation
  • The Kyoto Protocol together with the Convention should be the basis to design the regime post 2012. A different opinion was noted.
  • Recognition of early actions and objective comparison of Parties' efforts are important
  • Increased transparency of efforts by non-Annex I countries help Annex I countries mobilize domestic support for enhanced action
  • Need to better define the terms of "participation" and "commitments" based on the principles of the Convention including the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities as well as an assessment of specific national circumstances
  • Several approaches can be considered such as sectoral approach, policies and measures, "caps", the Brazilian proposal regarding the impact of countries' historical emissions on temperature rise. The idea of "caps" for developing countries was strongly objected.

In this context, importance of linking climate change to sustainable development was debated :

  • Better integration of climate change into sustainable development and strategies and policies across government bodies (e.g. energy, transport) is critical
  • Addressing energy issues is a key factor to deal with climate change
  • CDM will have an important role: need to ensure practical and efficient procedure and operation as well as learn from and build on experience
  • Financial resources including direct investment for sustainable development can impact on climate change

Regarding time frames, various opinions were raised, such as

  • Need to put short term action in the context of the long term Article 2 goal; early actions are required to avoid abrupt technical and societal changes
  • Certainty on future legal framework can assist business in making long term investment decisions
  • Importance of long term timeframe for technology research and development

Regarding vulnerability of developing countries and adaptation, various opinions were raised, such as :

  • Increasing importance of focusing on adaptation for both Annex I and non-Annex I countries, bearing in mind the particular vulnerability of the developing countries
  • Need for assessment of vulnerability was emphasized due to lack of existing studies particularly in developing countries
  • Need for capacity building and financial support to developing countries

Fundamental role of technology in achieving ultimate objective of the UNFCCC was emphasized and various opinions were raised, such as :

  • Need to have clear drivers (particularly from developed countries) to spur innovation - e.g. clear policy framework, putting a value on carbon
  • Technological development is a complement, not substitute, to short term action to control emissions
  • Importance of effective rules for diffusion/transfer of technology to developing countries
  • Need to have supportive infrastructure to support technology leap-frogging and promote technology take-up

For the immediate future,

  • Need to consider what can usefully be discussed at COP 9 aiming at future steps towards the second commitment period and beyond, and strengthening the UNFCCC
  • Usefulness of informal dialogue such as this meeting towards more confidence building and constructive understanding between Annex I and non-Annex I Parties in conjunction with the COP process

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