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Australian Statement on Ministerial Declaration

by Senator The Hon Robert Hill
to the Second Conference of the Parties of
the Climate Change Convention

18 July 1996

Australia has been a strong supporter of the development and implementation of the Convention since negotiations commenced. We remain committed to the Berlin Mandate, the negotiating process it has launched and to a successful outcome at the Conference in Kyoto next year.

We worked hard with others of our colleagues last evening in order to assist you

Mr President in bringing before us today a declaration. Our aim is to provide the impetus needed to take our negotiation forward through the next series of meetings to that successful outcome in Kyoto.

We contributed to and endorsed almost all that is in the statement we have before us today. We have a major difficulty, however, with that aspect of the text which commits the Parties to include in the final instrument legally binding targets without the nature and context of those commitments being clear. This point has always been seen as fundamental to the nature of the legal instrument we are negotiating. In our opinion, the text before us goes further than our negotiating process has so far taken us. It has been our view that if we try to leap forward in this way, we risk stumbling instead because it does not reflect the range of views on targets we have heard expressed even during this current series of meetings. It is COP3 in Kyoto not COP2 where we believe this critical issue needs to be decided.

It is with regret, Mr President, that I must inform you Australia cannot associate itself with the language on targets in paragraph 8 of the draft text.

Our Governments have collaborated in a rigorous collective effort to ensure that we are guided by the best possible scientific assessment of the threat of climate change. It is just as important that we maintain that rigour in the way that we develop the policy that flows from the science. Our negotiations need to be undertaken with urgency but also with great care.

We shall continue contribute to the development of quantified objectives in terms of the Mandate outcome as we have throughout. We shall contribute further to this process in a way which will allow for differentiation to reflect individual country circumstances. We will do this in good time to enable our partners in these negotiations the opportunity to fully consider our ideas.

Mr President I must stress that Australia is firmly committed to continuing to work with all countries for an environmentally effective and a fair outcome under the Berlin Mandate.

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