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TWN Info Service on Climate Change (Jun13/04)
29 June 2013
Third World Network


UNFCCC not to be renegotiated, rewritten or reinterpreted, say BASIC ministers

Beijing, 29 June (Chee Yoke Ling) –The latest ministerial meeting of Brazil, South Africa, India and China (BASIC) on climate change reaffirmed that the Durban Platform to forge a 2015 agreement is by no means a process to negotiate a new regime, nor to renegotiate, rewrite or reinterpret the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The 15th BASIC Ministerial Meeting was held in Cape Town, South Africa, on 26-28 June 2013. In the joint statement issued on 28 June, they welcomed the call for a more balanced, focused, structured and formal mode of work on the Durban Platform, and placed strong emphasis particularly on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. Consternation was expressed that the mitigation contributions by developing country Parties is much greater than that by developed country Parties who should take the lead in combating climate change.

The participating ministerial representatives were Mr. Xie Zhenhua, Vice Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission of China, Ms. Edna Molewa, Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs of South Africa, Mr. T.S. Tirumurti, Joint Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs of India, as well as Ambassador Andre Correa do Lago, Director of the Department of the Environment and Special Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil.

BASIC Ministers welcomed progress made at the recent UNFCCC meeting in Bonn (3 –14 June) under the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action as well as the acknowledgement by Parties that both the process and the outcome of the negotiations will be under the UNFCCC, and that all of its principles, provisions and Annexes of the Convention shall apply, in particular the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.

They reaffirmed that the Durban Platform is by no means a process to negotiate a new regime, nor to renegotiate, rewrite or reinterpret the Convention, and that future agreement will be built on institutions and mechanisms, including the work carried out by Parties under the Bali Road Map in accordance with its principles and provisions, and also strengthen the multilateral rules-based system.

The Ministers reaffirmed that the 2015 agreement should address the four pillars of adaptation, mitigation, finance and technology development and transfer in a balanced, comprehensive and holistic manner.

They also emphasized that the Convention itself has provided the structure of the future agreement, which define the differentiated commitments and actions for developed and developing countries. They said the future agreement shall follow the structure and provisions of the Convention, in particular the provisions of Articles 4 and 12, as well as the Annexes, which fully reflect the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. The Ministers specifically referred to Articles 3.1 and 4.2 of the Convention in respect of developed countries  taking the lead in tackling the climate change challenge, in accordance with their historical responsibilities and as demanded by science.

The Ministers reaffirmed that the 2015 agreement shall be based on science and the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, as well as the promotion of sustainable development. The enhanced mitigation and adaptation actions of developing countries should be enabled by the provision of adequate finance, technology development and transfer and capacity building support from developed countries.

The added that the implementation of Article 4.7 is crucial for the 2015 agreement, and also underlined that post-2020 enhanced action should not merely build on the respective capabilities.

(Article 4.7 states: “The extent to which developing country Parties will effectively implement their commitments under the Convention will depend on the effective implementation by developed country Parties of their commitments under the Convention related to financial resources and transfer of technology and will take fully into account that economic and social development and poverty eradication are the first and overriding priorities of the developing country Parties.”)

The Ministers recognized that the roundtables and workshops (in the Durban Platform process) enabled Parties to enhance their understanding about each other’s positions on issues related to both the work-streams of the Durban Platform. However, they welcomed the call for a more balanced, focused, structured and formal mode of work on the Durban Platform. This is indeed necessary since there is a need to start focusing on the issues identified in the Durban and Doha mandates, so that the four pillars can be enhanced, they said.

With regards to Workstream II, the BASIC Ministers once again stressed that pre-2020 ambition shall primarily be achieved through the implementation of the 2nd commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (KP) and the outcome of the Bali Action Plan in accordance with the principles and provisions of the Convention.

On the inadequacy of developed countries’current commitments on emission reductions and provision of finance and technology support, the Ministers called for a comprehensive approach to raising ambition in the pre-2020 implementation phase, covering mitigation, adaptation and finance and technology support.

They noted with concern that there is evidently a huge ambition gap between what developed country Parties have pledged and what is required by science and their historical responsibility. They said that studies show that if Annex I Parties as a whole commit to the ambition level of 40% below the 1990 levels, the pre-2020 ambition gap will be fully addressed.

In this context, the BASIC Ministers called for the urgent ratification of the amendments to the KP establishing the second commitment period, emphasized the importance of revisiting and then increasing QELROs under the second commitment period of KP in 2014, and raising the ambition of the comparable pledges in the same timeframe by Annex I Parties not participating in the second commitment period of the KP.

They reemphasized that the Annex I Parties’lack of ambition has the effect of transferring the responsibilities of the developed countries to the developing countries, and would impact the post 2020 period.

The Ministers noted with consternation that the mitigation contributions by developing country Parties is much greater than that by developed country Parties who should take the lead in combating climate change. Any activities, whether internationally or domestically supported, are part of their efforts to implement their nationally appropriate mitigation actions that have been presented. Any international cooperative initiatives may facilitate the implementation by developing countries of their presented actions, but shall not attempt to transfer to developing countries the commitments and obligations of developed countries, they stated categorically.

The Ministers called for the Warsaw COP (Conference of Parties in November 2013) to enhance confidence building amongst Parties through the full implementation of previous decisions including addressing the pre-2020 finance gap, and defining a clear pathway to reaching the goal of providing US $100 billion by 2020 per annum.

They further called for the full operationalization of mechanisms established under the Convention including the Green Climate Fund, the Climate Technology Center & Network, the Adaptation Committee as well as addressing issues of IPR (intellectual property rights) and unilateral measures in a purposeful manner. They underlined that full implementation of the existing decisions is a sine qua non for the success of the 2015 agreement.

The Ministers welcomed the cognizance of the principles enshrined in the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol, including the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, by the 65th session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee of the International Maritime Organization.

They agreed that the discussion on market based measures in the International Civil Aviation Organization, including those measures undertaken within the national jurisdiction, should be based on the principles enshrined in UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol. They further reaffirmed the importance of multilateralism in addressing climate change in accordance with the principles and provisions of the Convention, and reiterated their strong opposition to any unilateral measures on international civil aviation and shipping, as well as similar intentions regarding other sectors.

On HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons), the Ministers emphasized that there are greenhouse gases covered under the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol and shall accordingly be addressed in accordance with its principles and provisions. They agreed to work multilaterally to find an agreed way forward on this issue.

They also considered further work by experts on the equitable access to sustainable development and encouraged experts to continue their discussions, taking into account views expressed by Ministers in the Cape Town session.

The issue of adaptation was given special attention at the session. In further considering the work of experts, the Ministers considered adaptation and its role in the 2015 Agreement. They indicated that commitments should not be limited to mitigation, but include adaptation as a matter of equal priority –as well as the provision of finance, technology development and transfer and capacity-building support for both. In particular, the Ministers recalled Article 4.4. of the Convention as well as Article 4.1(e), which provides for international cooperation in preparing for adaptation. They emphasized that support by developed countries is needed for developing countries to fulfill their commitments to their citizens. Hence, adaptation and its funding must be included in any agreement that is equitable.  The Ministers mandated the BASIC experts to engage with a wider range of experts on adaptation and its role in the negotiations to elaborate this thinking.

The Ministers took note of the report from experts on their considerations on the 2013 –2015 Review, including the reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Groups for the fifth assessment report as a primary source of information together with other relevant information, in particular those reflecting actions on the ground. They were of the view that technical inputs into the 2015 Agreement are crucial, and must reflect balance of the adequacy of the long-term global goal, overall progress made towards meeting the long term global goal, including the implementation of the commitments under the Convention as well as information from developed and developing country experts.

The Ministers underlined their commitment to the unity of the BASIC countries. They stressed the utmost importance of the unity of G77 and China, and reaffirmed the commitment of BASIC countries to strengthen it. They also underlined the urgency of combating climate change, and reiterated their continued efforts to enhance South-South cooperation.

Brazil will host the 16th BASIC Ministerial Meeting in September 2013.

 


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