TWN Info Service on Climate Change (Aug14/01)
11 August 2014
Third World Network

Peru COP should finalize elements of draft negotiating text, say BASIC

New Delhi, 11 August (Indrajit Bose) – Ministers and representatives from the BASIC countries underscored the need for finalization of the elements for a draft negotiating text for the 2015 outcome by the Peru Conference of Parties (COP20), scheduled in December this year. The BASIC countries comprise Brazil, South Africa, India and China and this call was made at the conclusion of the 18th BASIC Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change, which was held in New Delhi, India, on 7-8 August 2014.

In a joint-statement issued from the meeting, the ministers reiterated that the six core elements for the 2015 outcome that have been identified in paragraph 5 of the Durban decision—mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology development and transfer, transparency of action and support, and capacity-building—“should be addressed in a balanced and comprehensive manner through an open and transparent, inclusive, party-driven and consensus-building process”. (Paragraph 5 of the Durban decision reads: …decides that the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action [ADP] shall plan its work in the first half of 2012, including, inter alia, on mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology development and transfer, transparency of action and support, and capacity-building, drawing upon submissions from Parties and relevant technical, social and economic information and expertise).

The ministerial meeting was attended by Mr. Prakash Javadekar, Minister of State of Environment, Forests and Climate Change of India, Ms. Edna Molewa, Minister of Environmental Affairs of South Africa, Mr. Xie Zhenhua, Vice Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission of China and Dr. Francisco Gaetani, Deputy Minister of Environment of Brazil.

At the meeting, the ministers stressed that the “2015 outcome to be adopted at the COP in Paris should be comprehensive, balanced, equitable and fair in order to enhance the full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention”. The ministers affirmed that the BASIC countries are ready and willing to play their part in this process and that they would extend their full support to the process. The ministers though noted that the BASIC countries face massive scale of development challenges and despite that, the governments of all BASIC countries were undertaking “extensive and ambitious voluntary mitigation actions to pursue low carbon pathways including through the development and deployment of renewable energy, improving energy efficiency through improved technologies, REDD+ (Reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation), etc.”

In keeping with their stand that the process and outcome of the ADP must be in full accordance with all the principles, provisions and structure of the Convention, in particular the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, the ministers emphasized that the developed countries should take the lead in addressing climate change in accordance with their historical responsibilities, the latest available scientific evidence on climate change trends and the fifth assessment report of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. They urged developed countries to “implement their commitments under the Convention towards developing countries for provision of finance, technology and capacity-building support”.

On intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs), the ministers affirmed that the INDCs would include all pillars of the ADP—mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology development and transfer and capacity building. They stressed that differentiation should apply to the INDCs. “The commitments of the developed countries to be included in the INDCs should be quantified economy-wide emission reduction targets for mitigation and provision of finance, technology development and transfer as well as capacity building support to developing countries for their mitigation and adaptation actions”, while the INDCs of developing countries would be in the context of their “social and development needs” and would be premised on the extent of financial, technological and capacity building support provided by developed countries”. The ministers emphasized that the information to be provided for INDCs would also need to be differentiated between the developed and developing countries. They stressed that the purpose of such information is to facilitate the “clarity, transparency and understanding of the INDCs in accordance with the Warsaw decision”. [Contributions had been the most contentious issue during the ADP’s meeting in Warsaw in 2013. The COP almost could not reach any decision on the Durban Platform because of disagreements over the word “commitments”. Eventually, after a “huddle”, Parties agreed that they would “initiate or intensify domestic preparations for their intended nationally determined contributions, without prejudice to the legal nature of the contributions …and to communicate them well in advance of the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (in Paris) (by the first quarter of 2015 by those Parties ready to do so) in a manner that facilitates the clarity, transparency and understanding of the intended contributions, without prejudice to the legal nature of the contributions.”]

On pre-2020 mitigation ambition, the ministers reiterated that the Kyoto Protocol “remains the essential and legally binding basis for addressing pre-2020 mitigation ambition”. They expressed serious concern on the low level of mitigation ambition of developed countries. They called for necessary arrangements to be made for the “2014 revisit for increasing the emission reduction targets by all developed country parties in line with what is required by science, and comparable pledges in the same timeframe by those Annex I Parties, who have not participated in the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol till now”. They also called for the expeditious ratification of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

The ministers also expressed concern that the pre-2020 ambition gap exists in adaptation, finance, technology and capacity building support to developing countries. They said that the developing countries’ contribution to mitigation is “far greater than that of developed countries” and that it could be enhanced if “developed countries effectively implemented and significantly increased their commitments of providing finance, technology and capacity building support to developing countries”.

On adaptation, the ministers drew attention to the fact that adaptation measures required an “international response” since the impacts of climate change are global. They welcomed the Warsaw COP decision on setting up a Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage.

Calling for the full operationalization of and close coordination between institutions established in the Bali process, the ministers called for the “immediate and substantial capitalization of the Green Climate Fund (GCF). According to the joint statement, “The Ministers proposed that a part of the funds to be made available under the Green Climate Fund could be utilized to secure IPRs (intellectual property rights) of relevant climate friendly technologies for deployment in developing countries.”

Expressing disappointment over the “continued lack of any clear roadmap for providing US$ 100 billion per year by 2020”, the ministers urged the developed countries to “honour their obligations to provide new, additional and predictable financial support to developing countries in a measurable, reportable and verifiable manner”. Public financial sources should be the mainstay of climate finance, the ministers reiterated, while adding that any private finance could only play a “supplementary role”.

The ministers also 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 such as in aviation or shipping”.

The ministers stated that they looked forward to the forthcoming climate change summit to be hosted by the UN Secretary General in New York in September for “generating political momentum on climate action”.

The ministers welcomed the outcome document of the Santa Cruz Summit of the Group of 77 and China held in June 2014 to mark the 50th anniversary of the group, as well as the third international conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), scheduled in September in Apia, Samoa. The ministers reiterated their solidarity with the “SIDS countries in their efforts to adequately meet their unique development challenges and vulnerabilities”.

South Africa will host the next BASIC ministerial meeting in October 2014.