Most Parties belong to political negotiating groups, formed on the basis of their common interests. There is no formal process for establishing these groups. Parties decide to form them, and inform the COP Bureau, the SBs or the secretariat. They meet informally during sessions of the COP or the SBs. Their purpose is to exchange information and, quite often, to share information on common issues, and, in some instances, develop and agree on common positions.
A number of countries in Asia and Central and Eastern Europe which are not included in Annex I have joined together as Central Asia, Caucasus, Albania and Moldova (CACAM). Although these countries are not included in Annex I, they do not consider themselves to be developing countries and are not members of the G-77. They have consequently asked the COP for a clarification of their status under the Convention. However, the COP has been unable to take a decision on this matter and will consider it at a future session.
The EIG is a group comprising Mexico, the Republic of Korea and Switzerland. This group emerged at the thirteenth sessions of the SBs, held in Lyon, in September 2000. It aims to achieve environmental integrity in the outcome of climate change negotiations. It is the only group that brings together non-Annex I (Mexico and the Republic of Korea) and Annex I Parties (Switzerland). Like most other negotiation groups, the EIG develops common positions and feeds them into the climate change process.
While the European Community, represented by the European Commission, has become a Party to the Convention as a regional economic integration organization, the association formed by its Member States is commonly referred to as the European Union (EU)16. The 25 EU Member States, plus the European Parties, groups and observer states - who is who Commission, meet in private to agree on common positions. The country that holds the EU Presidency - a position that rotates every six months - speaks for the European Community and its Member States. Additionally, individual Member States have been appointed to take the lead in bilateral negotiations with other states or groups and may act as leaders on particular issues.
The G-77 was founded in 1964 in the context of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and now functions throughout the United Nations system, comprising 132 members. It consists of small island countries, oil-exporting countries, LDCs, industrializing countries, and middle-income countries.
The country holding the Chair of the group often speaks for the G-77 and China as a whole, provided China was present in the discussions of the group. It only speaks on behalf of the group on issues on which there is previous agreement. If there is no agreement, each country or group of countries is free to take a different position. Accordingly, individual members intervene in debates, as do groups within the G-77 and China, such as the African Group, the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and the group of Least Developed Countries.
The African Group is the only regional group working as an active negotiating group. It consists of 53 members. They have various common concerns, including the lack of resources and vulnerability to extreme weather. The group often makes common statements on various issues, such as capacity-building and technology transfer.
The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) is an alliance of 43 small island states and low-lying coastal countries that share similar development challenges and environmental concerns, especially their vulnerability to the adverse effects of global climate change. This group was established in
November 1990 during the Second World Climate Conference. The AOSIS countries, united by the threat that climate change poses to their survival, frequently adopt a common stance in negotiations. They were the first to propose a draft text, during the Kyoto Protocol negotiations, calling for cuts in carbon dioxide emissions of 20 per cent from 1990 levels by 2005. Most of the AOSIS members also belong to the SIDS.
Least Developed Countries (LDCs) the 49 countries defined as LDCs by the United Nations are also Convention Parties, with the exception of one state (Somalia). They include members of
the African Group, the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and others. They are increasingly active in the climate change process, often working together to defend their particular interests, in, for example, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change. The particular situation of LDCs is recognized by the Convention (Article 4.9, Article 12.5).
OPEC members - Algeria, Indonesia, Iran, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela - meet during the session to coordinate their positions. All the Parties that are members of OPEC are also G-77 members.
The Umbrella Group is a loose association of developed countries which was formed following the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol at COP 3 in 1997. Although there is no formal list, the group is usually made up of Australia, Canada, Iceland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, the Russian Federation, Ukraine and the United States. It evolved from the JUSSCANNZ group, which was active during the Kyoto Protocol negotiations (JUSSCANNZ being an acronym for Japan, the United States, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, Norway and New Zealand). The main difference between the two is that the Umbrella Group excludes Switzerland and includes the Russian Federation and Ukraine. Countries in the Umbrella Group share information on issues of common concern, but do not take common positions.
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