November 9, 1998
Update on Global Governance: The latest UN Conference
Report by Eagle Forum Correspondent Cathie Adams in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
Fourth Session of the Conference of the Parties

November 2-13, 1998

Delegates representing 161 countries gathered in Buenos Aires for the UN Conference on Climate Change don't have much to show for their first week's efforts. Only one thing has been decided: there will be no formal negotiations about whether developing countries must accept voluntary standards for greenhouse gas emissions.

Negotiations are slow because certain nations are adept at abusing the process for their own gain. They're also slow because the UN system is complicated and their meetings are closed to most observers. Imagine the chaos if the U.S. Congress would meet behind closed doors once a year in order to accomplish all their work in only two weeks! Most Americans would probably profit if Congress met so seldom, but meeting in secret would be unacceptable!

Within the UN system, the COP-4 (conference of the parties, fourth session) is the supreme body of this ongoing convention in Buenos Aires. That body elected Argentinean Maria Julia Alsogaray as president on the opening day of the conference. Her responsibility is primarily to preside over the Plenaries (group meetings where all formal decisions are made).

At last Friday's Plenary meeting, Ms. Alsogaray offered condolences to the Caribbean and Latin American countries that suffered losses due to hurricane Mitch, suggesting that "Mother Nature" was reminding delegates that urgent action was needed during this conference. Her comments, of course, assume global warming and its effects are proven scientifically, that mans' activities could cause global warming and that the UN system is the cure. She then called for a "moment of silence." In all, the purpose of the Plenary was simply to cajole those doing the negotiations.

Negotiations take place in the subsidiary bodies. There are two subsidiary bodies for this conference: the Subsidiary Body for Implementation and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice. There are also contact groups that are open-ended meetings wherein Parties can negotiate before forwarding agreed text to the plenary for formal adoption.

Nations are divided into groups for the purpose of "harmonizing their negotiating positions." The G77/China group consists of 132 developing nations who are threatening to halt negotiations unless the conference addresses Kyoto's financial aid commitments for technology. The G77/China "urged developed country Parties to prioritize the implementation of the Convention over economic and political considerations."

In other words, give us the money and technology; don't let politics get in the way. That's the same jargon that President Clinton used so successfully to cover his sexual perversion by blaming the Congress for arguing about politics rather than focusing on the issues of the people! (Who learned from whom?)

Additional Reading
The Costs of Trading in the Global Economy
Global Goals: Bailouts, Bosnia, Lies, and Hot Air
Global Goals of the Clinton Administration
Will Treaties Rule America's Future?
If the Clinton-appointed delegates give in to G77/China, then the environmental issue will be used to transform the world's remaining superpower into a "paper tiger" under attack by nations that used to be "sleeping tigers." The last thing the U.S. should do is to provide more financial and technological aid to ravenous and greedy tigers.