OECD Annex 1 Expert Group on the uNFCCC

the annex 1 Expert Group (AIXG) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was created in 1994, as an ad hoc cadre of government officials from the departments of environment, energy, and foreign affairs of countries that have committed to Annex 1 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Annex 1 acknowledges the impact of human behavior on global warming and climate change. The UNFCCC treaty of 1992 attempted to develop well-articulated methods of reducing global warming and formulating specific responses to climate change. Most OECD member states have signed Annex 1, as have other nations from Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, which was created after the break-up of the Soviet Union. Most nations who have signed the UNFCCC have also signed the more powerful Kyoto Protocol.

Countries who commit to the UNFCCC officially acknowledge that climate change is of major concern to all humans, recognize that human behaviors have led to increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHG) and warming temperatures, and admit that these phenomena are having a negative impact on the world's ecosystems and human health. Signatories from developed countries accept that industrialization has been, and continues to be, a major contributory influence to global warming and climate change, and understand that highly-industrialized nations are required to accept the lion's share of the blame for both phenomena. Without infringing on national sovereignty, parties to the UNFCCC accept responsibility for committing their own governments to international cooperation, to encourage domestic efforts to mitigate the potential for future environmental damage, while developing technologies and coping strategies for dealing with the impact of global warming and climate change on human health, the environment, society, and the economy.

Upon its creation, the Annex 1 Expert Group of the UNFCCC was charged with addressing the analytical issues raised by the UNFCCC, particularly those relating to fulfilling commitments of Annex 1. Official meetings are held twice a year, but group work continues throughout the year. The OECD and the International Energy Agency (IEA) provide secretariat support for the group by preparing informational and analytical papers directed toward member countries and other interested parties. The Annex 1 Expert Group has been instrumental in standardizing the reporting of national emission inventories and in developing GHG mitigation policies, such as those included in the Kyoto Protocol. Other efforts have focused on providing member nations with assistance in policy design, implementation, and performance. The group is also involved in providing assistance to countries in using the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and emission trading to meet the objectives of the UNFCCC and in educating government officials and the public about global warming.

AIXG programs are generally designed to deal with long-term issues concerning global warming and climate change and with the specifics of meeting goals of individual projects. Examples of long-term issues include understanding the relationship between GHG emissions and deforestation, supporting the development of alternative energies, generating cooperation from the private sector, as well as governments, in dealing with global warming and climate change, and using existing literature, forums, seminars, and case studies on climate change from specific countries and regions to develop plans for international cooperation in mitigating the effects of global warming and climate change.

Policy formation continues to be a major priority of the Annex 1 Expert Group, and much of the focus is on providing support to transition economies and on monitoring compliance with the terms of the UNFCCC. Because the Kyoto Protocol contains stronger monitoring and compliance measures, those activities are generally conducted through provisions specified in the Kyoto agreement. In addition to Kyoto's provisions, Annex 1 parties to the UNFCCC agree to regularly provide GHG projections and reports and furnish estimates of potential effects on emissions and sinks. Within those guidelines, member countries have developed a myriad of responses to dealing with UNFCCC requirements.

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