TWN Info Service on Climate Change (Apr10/02)
27 April 2010
Third World Network

World cannot wait for the US indefinitely, say BASIC Ministers
Published in SUNS #6912 dated 27 April 2010

Geneva, 26 Apr (Meena Raman) -- Ministers from the BASIC countries said that the "world could not wait indefinitely" for the United States in reaching an internationally legally binding agreement, noting news reports that domestic climate legislation in the United States had been postponed.

According to a joint statement issued at the conclusion of their third meeting in Cape Town, South Africa from 25 to 26 April, the BASIC Ministers "noted news reports that domestic legislation in the US had been postponed and indicated that the world could not wait indefinitely, as it hinders our ability to reach an internationally legally binding agreement."

"A step-change is required in negotiations, and incremental progress on its own will not raise the level of ambition to the extent needed to avoid dangerous climate change and impacts on poor countries and communities," said the statement.

(The BASIC countries comprise Brazil, South Africa, India and China.)

The Ministers who participated in the meeting were Mr. Xie Zhenhua, Vice Chairman of the National Development and Reforms Commission from China, Mr. Izabella Teixeira, Minister for Environment from Brazil, Mr. Jairam Ramesh, Minister of State, Environment and Forests from India, and Mrs. Buyelwa Sonjica, Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs from South Africa.

The statement also said that "Ministers emphasized that developing countries strongly support international legally binding agreements, as the lack of such agreements hurts developing countries more than developed countries."

The "Ministers noted that internationally binding legal agreements already exist in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol. In accordance with the Convention, Brazil, China, India and South Africa are taking ambitious nationally appropriate mitigation actions, as announced in Copenhagen."

"The Ministers agreed that in accordance with the mandate of the Bali Roadmap, such agreements must follow two tracks and include an agreement on quantified emission reduction targets under a second commitment period for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol, as well as a legally binding agreement on long-term cooperative action under the Convention".

"The Ministers felt that a legally binding outcome should be concluded at Cancun, Mexico in 2010, or at the latest in South Africa by 2011."

According to the joint statement, "Ministers said that negotiations should follow a two-pronged approach which develops a politically balanced comprehensive outcome in the formal negotiations under the two Ad hoc Working Groups, underpinned by the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities; and uses the 2010 $10 billion fast-start funding to develop, test and demonstrate practical implementation approaches to both adaptation and mitigation, which can be used to inform the comprehensive package."

The joint statement issued said that "the Ministers also outlined their understanding of how the political agreements on contentious issues, as reflected in the Copenhagen Accord, should be translated into the official negotiating texts under the Ad-hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) and the Ad-hoc Working Group on Further Commitments of Annex 1 Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP)."

"They reaffirmed that negotiations must be based on the official negotiating texts in the AWG-LCA and AWG-KP, and negotiations conducted in an inclusive manner," said the statement. Further, said the joint statement, "the Ministers also said that the only legitimate forum for negotiation of climate change is the UNFCCC. Small groups can make a contribution in resolving conflicts, but they must be representative and their composition must be determined through fully inclusive and transparent negotiations, with a mechanism for reporting back to the multilateral forum."

"Building on the discussion held in New Delhi (January 2010), the Ministers elaborated areas in which progress could be made in the run-up to Cancun, including:

-- the early flow of fast-start finance of the $10 billion in 2010 pledged by developed countries;

-- implementation of the REDD-plus mechanism; (REDD-plus refers to reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation in developing countries, conservation of forest carbon stocks, sustainable management of forests; enhancement of forest carbon stocks)

-- architecture of technology development and transfer;

-- adaptation framework encompassing implementation programmes; and

-- a work programme on measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) of commitments to finance, technology and capacity-building support by developed countries, starting with a common reporting format for financial contributions by developed countries."

"Equity will be a key issue for any agreement," said the statement.

"The Ministers noted that the Copenhagen Accord sets a global goal of keeping temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, without jeopardising economic growth and poverty alleviation."

The statement said that "this implies a certain global carbon budget. The implications of this budget for individual countries require careful analysis, and must be based on a multilateral agreement about equitable burden-sharing, including historical responsibility for climate change, the need to allow developing countries equitable space for development, and adequate finance, technology and capacity-building support provided by developed countries for all developing countries."

"Further elaborating on finance, the Ministers noted that the Copenhagen Accord provides for the scale of finance in short and medium-term. The commitments to provide finance must be operationalised. Both the $30 billion (2010-2012) and the $100 billion annually (by 2020) should be provided by developed countries."

"They said that finance must balance adaptation and mitigation, not only in the next three years, but also in the medium-term."

The "Ministers were also of the view that it will not be possible to deal with mitigation actions by developing countries, without also dealing with support for those actions and the two-fold commitments by developed countries to both provide finance for developing countries and reduce their own emissions, with consequences of non-fulfillment. In this regard, Ministers urged all Annex I countries to raise their level of ambition."

The "Ministers affirmed that the BASIC countries will continue their consultations with other countries and groups, following the BASIC-Plus' approach, in order to facilitate the resolution of contentious issues in the negotiations."

They "also emphasized again that BASIC is more than a forum focused on negotiations. They supported collaboration among experts from BASIC countries and welcomed the creation of an on-going forum, including work on adaptation and mitigation action plans and scenarios."

"They agreed that, remaining anchored in the G77&China, they will continue to contribute constructively to the multilateral negotiations on climate change."

The Ministers also welcomed Brazil's offer to host the next BASIC Ministerial at the end of July and China's offer to host a meeting at the end of October 2010.

"The BASIC Ministerials will bring together analytical work done on several issues, including a focus on equity," said the joint statement. +