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Item #d96may70

A round of meetings of the Ad Hoc Group on the Berlin Mandate that ended March 8 in Geneva saw further but slow progress toward revising commitments to the climate convention. The group's chair, Raul Estrada Oyuela, told a press conference that it is on schedule for presenting a progress report to the second Conference of Parties to the convention, to be held July 8-19 in Geneva. A final proposal is to be ready for approval at the third Conference of Parties, late in 1997.

The mandate emerged from the first Conference of Parties held in Berlin last year, in response to the recognition that most industrialized countries are not going to meet the current, non-binding commitment to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions at 1990 levels by the year 2000. Stronger commitments have been proposed by Germany, the European Union and the Alliance of Small Island States, and groups reluctant to accept them include the oil-producing countries of the Middle East, and many U.S. industries.

See (all 1996): Intl. Environ. Rptr., pp. 215-216, Mar. 20; Global Environ. Change Rep., pp. 3-4, Mar. 22. An article in Nature (p. 97, Mar. 14) emphasizes the legal mechanisms being considered for binding commitments.

The Secretariat for the convention has released several detailed reviews of the national communications (or action plans) submitted by participating countries, including those covering Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.S. Those six are summarized in a feature report in Global Environ. Change Rep., pp. 1-3, Mar. 8, 1996. Copies may be obtained from the UNFCCC Secretariat, Palais de Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switz. (tel: 41 22 979 9111; fax: 41 22 979 9034; e-mail:, and may also be obtained on the World Wide Web at

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