Challenges and Outcomes at the Ninth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

  • Suraje Dessai
  • E. Lisa F. Schipper
  • Esteve Corbera
  • Bo Kjellén
  • María Gutiérrez
  • Alex Haxeltine


From 1 to 12 December 2003, the Ninth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention took place in Milan, Italy. This conference continued the laborious effort of developing an international climate regime by preparing for the Kyoto Protocol’s entry into force. Some two dozen decisions were adopted on a wide range of options for responding to climate change. This paper assesses the progress achieved at the conference on a number of issues. Among these were operational details for implementing forestry projects under the Convention’s Clean Development Mechanism, and guidelines for reporting on greenhouse gas emissions and removals from agriculture, forestry and land-use change. Parties also decided on rules with respect to two funds, the Special Climate Change Fund and the Least Developed Country Fund. With respect to developing countries, Parties continued discussions on rules for building response capacity in light of the expected adverse effects of climate change and transferring environmentally sound technology. They also discussed how to incorporate scientific advice from the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change into the negotiations. Although Russia did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol prior to the conference, Milan demonstrated momentum and interest among Parties to support the climate regime. Nevertheless, it is doubtful whether the detailed discussions were able to contribute to preparing for the long term. To this end, this paper concludes that more discussion and leadership is required to bridge the North/South gap if a post-2012 climate regime is to stand.


climate change climate policy Conference of Parties United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Kyoto Protocol Marrakech Accords 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adger W.N., N.W. Arnell and E. L. Tompkins (2004). ‘Successful Evolutionary Adaptation to Climate Change Across Scales’, Global Environmental Change (submitted)Google Scholar
  2. Aldy, J. E., Ashton J., Baron R., Bodansky D., Charnovitz S., Diringer E., Heller TC., Pershing J., Shukla PR., Tubiana L., F. Tudela and X. Wang (2003). Beyond Kyoto: Advancing the International Effort against Climate Change. Pew Centre on Global Climate Change Report. Available at: http://www.pewclimate.orgGoogle Scholar
  3. Barnett, J., Dessai, S. 2002‘Articles 4.8 and 4.9 of the UNFCCC: adverse effects and the impacts of response measures’Climate Policy2231239CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barnett, J., Dessai, S., Webber, M. 2004‘Will OPEC Lose from the Kyoto Protocol?’Energy Policy3220772088CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Boyd, E., Schipper, E.L. 2002‘The Marrakech Accord – At the Crossroad to Ratification: Seventh Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’Journal of Environment and Development11184190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boyd E., Gutiérrez., Estrada M., Corbera E. (2004). The Politics of Afforestation and Reforestation Activities at COP-9 and SB-20. Tyndall Centre Briefing Note. Norwich, UKGoogle Scholar
  7. Brown, K., Corbera, E. 2003‘Exploring Equity and Sustainable Development in the New Carbon Economy’Climate Policy3S41S56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Climate Action Network2003A Viable Global Framework for Preventing Dangerous Climate ChangeCAN Discussion Paper. COP9Milan, ItalyGoogle Scholar
  9. Dessai, S. 2003‘The Special Climate Change Fund: Origins and Prioritisation Assessment’Climate Policy3295302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dessai, S., Schipper, E.L. 2002‘The Marrakech Accords to the Kyoto Protocol: Analysis and Future Prospects’Global Environmental Change13149153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dessai, S., Lacasta, N.S., Vincent, K. 2003‘International Political History of the Climate Regime from The Hague to Marrakech and Beyond’International Review of Environmental Strategies4183205Google Scholar
  12. Dutschke M. (2001). Permanence of CDM Forests or Non-permanence of Land Use Related Credits?, HWWA Hamburg Discussion Paper 134Google Scholar
  13. Earth Negotiations Bulletin on the Side (2003). Special Report on Selected Side Events at UNFCCC COP-9. Available at: Scholar
  14. Fearnside, P.M. 2001‘Saving Tropical Forests as a Global Warming Countermeasure: An Issue that Divides the Environmental Movement’Ecological Economics39167184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Friends of the Earth. (2002). Carbon Sequestration: Climate Change and Planting Forests. Summary report of the conference held at the Department for Environmental Science and Technology, Imperial College, LondonGoogle Scholar
  16. Greenpeace (2003), Sinks in the CDM: After the Climate, Biodiversity goes down the Drain. An Analysis of the CDM Sinks Agreement at COP9. Available at: international_en/multimedia/download/1/373078/0/GP_CDMSinks_analysis_v6final.pdf.Google Scholar
  17. Hasselmann, K., Latif, M., Hooss, G., Azar, C., Edenhofer, O., Jaeger, CC., Johannessen, OM., Kemfert, C., Welp, M., Wokaun, A. 2003‘The Challenge of Long-term Climate Change’Science30219231925CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Karoly, D.J., Braganza, K., Stott, PA., Arblaster, JM., Meehl, GA., Broccoli, A.J., Dixon, K.W. 2003‘Detection of a Human Influence on North American Climate’Science30212001203CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. King, D.A. 2004‘Climate Change Science: Adapt, Mitigate, or Ignore?’Science303176177CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Klooster, D., Masera, O. 2000‘Community Forest Management in Mexico: Carbon Mitigation and Biodiversity Conservation through Rural Development., Global Environmental Change10259272Google Scholar
  21. Lecocq, F., Capoor, K. 2003State and Trends of the Carbon MarketPrototype Carbon Fund, The World BankWashington, DCGoogle Scholar
  22. Ministry of Environment Japan (2003). Climate Regime Beyond 2012: Basic Considerations. Interim Report (draft)Google Scholar
  23. NIES/IGES (2003). Climate Regime Beyond 2021: Incentives for Global Participation. NIES/IGES Joint Research ReportGoogle Scholar
  24. Paavola, J. and W. N. Adger (2002). Justice and Adaptation to Climate Change. Tyndall Centre Working Paper 23. Available at: Scholar
  25. Parmesan, C., Yohe, G. 2003‘A Globally Coherent Fingerprint of Climate Change Impacts across Natural Systems’Nature4213742CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Philibert, C., Pershing J., J. C. Morlot and S. Willems (2003). Evolution of Mitigation Commitments: Some Key Issues. OECD and IEA Information Paper. COM/ENV/EPOC/IEA/SLT(2003) 3Google Scholar
  27. Pielke, R. A. (2004). ‘Misdefining “Climate Change”: Consequences for Science and Action’, Environmental Science and Policy (submitted)Google Scholar
  28. Ramakrishna, K. 2000

    The UNFCCC – History and Evolution of the Climate Change Negotiations

    Gomez-Echeverri, L. eds. Climate Change and Development.Yale School of Forestry and Environmental StudiesBoston4762
    Google Scholar
  29. Root, T.L., Price, JT., Hall, KR., Schneider, SH., Rosenzweig, C., Pounds, J.A. 2003‘Fingerprints of Global Warming on Wild Animals and Plants’Nature4215760CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Schipper, E. L., S. Huq and M. Khan (2003). An Exploration of ‘Mainstreaming’ Adaptation to Climate Change. Research/issue brief presented at the Adaptation Research Workshop, 9–12 November 2003, New Delhi, IndiaGoogle Scholar
  31. Schlamadinger, B. and G. Marland (2000). Land Use and Global Climate Change: Forests, Land Management, and the Kyoto Protocol. Arlington, Pew Center on Global Climate Change. Available at: http://www.pewclimate.orgGoogle Scholar
  32. Thomas, C.D. 18 co-authors2004‘Extinction Risk from Climate Change’Nature427145148CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Watson, RT. 2003‘Climate Change: The Political Situation’Science30219251926CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. WBGU (2003). Climate Protection Strategies for the 21st Century: Kyoto and Beyond. Special Report by the German Advisory Council on Global Change. Available at: http://www.wbgu.deGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suraje Dessai
    • 1
    • 2
  • E. Lisa F. Schipper
    • 1
    • 3
  • Esteve Corbera
    • 1
    • 3
  • Bo Kjellén
    • 4
  • María Gutiérrez
    • 5
  • Alex Haxeltine
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Tyndall Centre for Climate Change ResearchUK
  2. 2.School of Environmental SciencesUniversity of East AngliaNorwichUK
  3. 3.School of Development StudiesUniversity of East AngliaNorwichUK
  4. 4.Ministry of the EnvironmentSweden
  5. 5.Department of Anthropology, Graduate CenterCity University of New YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations