Developing nations bring technology transfer on agenda against resistance of Canada, Japan and US

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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A sub-body of the World Climate Change Conference today took up the item of "Development and transfer of technologies" on its Agenda, and subsequently decided to establish a contact group to speed up negotiations. Both the declaration of the new Agenda item, as well as the setting up of the Contact group, came after lengthy discussions that were polarized between the Group of 77 + China (G77+C), which is comprised of about 130 nations with developing industries, and the Umbrella group, which consists of most of the nations with highly industrialized economies, but the EU countries. .

The sub-body, called the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) is, as its name implies, amongst other things responsible for preparing and implementing decisions of the main body of the UNFCCC, the Conference of the Parties (COP). After having spent a large part of the morning discussing formalities regarding whether or not technology transfer was to be taken up as a separate item, the afternoon session had to be extended till around 9 pm local time. Even then some of the planned agenda items had not been concluded when the session closed.

The cause for discussion in the morning were two different interpretations of a decision the COP made yesterday: Member states of the G77+C believed that the referral of the item of tech transfer by the COP automatically lead to its inclusion on the agenda as a separate item, while the Chairman of the SBI and the US voiced the opinion that to for it to be included, the item would have to be formally agreed upon in the normal manner. Compromise, of one sort or another, could not be reached, and it was only after a legal adviser stated that in his point of view the item indeed was necessarily included on the agenda as a separate item that the matter could be concluded.

Due to the stalling in the mornings session, discussions on the actual item of technology transfer began after what would have been the scheduled closing time. South Africa made the proposal to set up a contact group for the item, so that it could be discussed in a setting with less participants in an informal way. A number of G77+C nations (including China and Nigeria) spoke out in support of this proposal, emphasizing that rapid progress was needed on the issue. Japan, and the US made critical statements, noting that they believed that the scope of the contact group should first be established, and that it would be more sensible to establish the contact group in 2008. After it was found that the group would nevertheless be established, the Chairman asked for suggestions for Co-chairs of the group, as one from the Annex I and one from the non Annex one would be required. The non-Annex I having already decided that they supported Prof. Philip M. Gwage from Uganda as Co-chair, the Annex I countries decided that Jukka Uosukainen from Finland would be the Co-chair on their behalf after brief deliberations. The decision being reached provoked some applause from delegates and observers, and the session was closed shortly thereafter.

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This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

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