September 30

Environment Ministers' mini-summit begins today

[SEPTEMBER 30, 2002]

NEW DELHI SEPT. 29. A mini-summit of Environment Ministers and officials from about 40 countries is beginning here on Monday to try and achieve some kind of consensus among world leaders so that the eighth conference of parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate (UNFCCC- COP 8) scheduled to be held here in the last week of next month turns out to be a success.

The countries participating in the mini-summit include the United States, Russia, Canada, China, Australia, Argentina, Germany, France, Japan, Indonesia, Qatar and Venezuela.

The countries had been selected in such a way as to ensure that all regional groupings and interests were adequately represented.

For instance, while Qatar is the leader of the oil producing countries, Venezuela is the leader of G-77, the U.S. is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases among all countries and China among the developing countries.

With the seven previous conference of the parties to the Convention having sorted out the various institutional issues, the main agenda before the COP 8 would be the formulation of a framework of action for implementation.

One of the key issues would be to chalk out measures to strengthen the capacity of the developing countries in meeting the negative impact of climate change.

Studies across the world have shown that one of the major consequences could be a more frequent occurrence of extreme weather phenomena such as droughts, floods and storms. Another could be a rise in sea levels, resulting in inundation of coastal areas.

While the global community has been discussing ways to solve the problems ever since the Convention was adopted 10 years ago, the progress has been hampered because of serious differences among the countries as to how much each of them must contribute in terms of financial and other assistance.