TWN Info Service on Climate Change (Jun15/04)
30 June 2015
Third World Network  

Maintain differentiation in each element of Paris agreement, say BASIC

New Delhi, 30 June (Indrajit Bose) — Ministers and representatives from the BASIC countries consider that ambition and effectiveness would be achieved by maintaining differentiation among developed and developing country Parties in each element of the climate agreement in Paris. This would enhance participation and efforts by all countries, they said in a joint-statement issued from the meeting, made available to Third World Network (TWN).

The BASIC countries comprise Brazil, South Africa, India and China. The joint-statement was  made at the conclusion of the 20th BASIC Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change, which was held in in the Permanent Mission of Brazil to the United Nations in New York on 27-28 June 2015.

The statement reaffirmed that the process and outcome of the Ad-hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) “should be guided by and be in full accordance with all principles and provisions of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change)”.

The ministers and their representatives underscored the need for the Paris Agreement to address in a balanced manner, all six elements identified in the Durban mandate – mitigation, adaptation, finance, capacity-building, technology development and transfer, transparency of action and support. “An ambitious outcome of the ADP should not focus solely on mitigation, but should also address the other elements in a balanced and comprehensive manner,” they stressed.

Izabella Teixeira, Minister for the Environment of Brazil, Edna Molewa, Minister of Environmental Affairs of South Africa, Xie Zhenhua, Special Representative for Climate Change Affairs of China and Ravi Shankar Prasad, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change of India attended the meeting.

They also stressed the need to accelerate the pace of negotiations under the ADP and looked forward to a streamlined and concise document prepared by the Co-chairs of the working group, to facilitate substantive progress in the negotiations of the Paris Agreement.

(At the recently concluded climate change negotiations in Bonn from 1-11 June, developing countries reflected that modest progress had been made under the ADP and welcomed the proposal by the Co-chairs to produce on 24 July, a more streamlined, concise and consolidated text to allow for substantive negotiations which will begin late August. For more on this, read TWN Update here).

The statement emphasized that the “negotiations at the forthcoming ADP sessions should focus on the core provisions to be included in a protocol, another legal instrument or agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention”. The ministers highlighted that “the document being prepared by the ADP co-chairs should be concise, including all core elements of the Durban mandate. Further detailing of the provisions, including modalities and technical aspects, could be addressed in COP (Conference of Parties) decisions, as agreed by Parties”.

They concurred that “the agreement must provide an equitable, inclusive and effective framework within which Parties can enhance actions to keep the world on a path to limiting the increase in average global temperature to below 2 degree Celsius and to enable adaptation in response to unavoidable adverse effects of climate change”.

The statement also underscored that “commitments under the Paris Agreement will be in accordance with the principles and provisions of the Convention”. “Contributions will be nationally determined and reflect each Party’s highest possible effort, in accordance with its common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. Contributions should be comprehensive, addressing, mitigation, adaptation and the provision of support by developed to developing countries,” read the joint statement.

The ministers affirmed “the agreement should enable Parties to enhance the implementation of the Convention, without regression on existing commitments”. They further agreed that the “2015 agreement should ensure transparency, keep its implementation under review and provide for further cooperative action under the Convention to address any gaps that may arise”.

On mitigation, the ministers underscored the need for “the provisions of the agreement to fully reflect differentiated responsibilities and distinct development stages of developed and developing countries, with developed countries taking the lead by undertaking ambitious, economy-wide, absolute emission reduction targets and providing finance and technology support to developing countries”. At the same time, “developing countries will enhance their efforts, in the context of sustainable development, enabled and supported by finance, technology development and transfer and capacity-building from developed countries”.

On adaptation, the joint-statement emphasized that adaptation requires urgent global response. “The Paris agreement should ensure the provision adequate support by developed countries to developing countries in meeting their needs and costs of adaptation actions,” said the statement further.

Developed countries must provide new, additional, predictable, adequate and sustained public support to enhance actions by developing countries under the Paris agreement, the statement read. “The agreement must establish a clear link between the actions by developing countries to contribute to effectively addressing the climate change challenge and the scale of finance, technology and capacity-building support, including investments, required by them for implementation. Ministers emphasized that existing institutions and mechanisms created under the Convention should be anchored and further strengthened under the Paris Agreement.”

Noting the progress to operationalize the Green Climate Fund, the ministers called on “developed countries to scale up and fully implement their pledges and urged them to replenish the Adaptation Fund, Least Developed Country Fund, and the Special Climate Change Fund, which need to continue in accordance with their respective mandates”.

On climate action pre-2020 (also known as workstream 2 under the ADP), the joint-statement stressed that the “pre-2020 ambition gap shall be primarily addressed through the implementation of the 2nd commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol and the outcome of the Bali Action Plan. Ministers reiterated their concern with the inadequacy of developed countries’ current commitments on emission reductions and provision of financial and technological support. Ministers noted that ensuring increased financial, technological and capacity-building support by developed countries for mitigation and adaptation actions by non-Annex I Parties is essential for enhancing the short-term capacity of developing countries to contribute to the global fight against climate change”.

The ministers strongly supported the call by Group of 77 and China for the ADP co-chairs to prepare an inclusive paper as a starting point for the discussions under workstream 2 at next ADP session.

(At the climate change session in Bonn in June, there were differences between the developed and developing countries over how to proceed on workstream 2. While developing countries called for a compilation text taking on board the views of all the Parties, developed countries called for a convergences document on workstream 2 Differences also emerged over the mandate of workstream 2.)

The ministers also called for the urgent ratification of the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol in establishing the second commitment period, emphasized the importance of revisiting and increasing ambition of QELROs (Quantified Emission Limitation and Reduction Objective) 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 Kyoto Protocol.

(During the Bonn climate talks in June, the European Union had said that its conditions for moving beyond its 20 per cent emissions reduction target by 2020 below 1990 levels had not been met and anything more would come only post-2020. For more information, read TWN update here.)

Expressing disappointment over “the continued lack of any clear roadmap for developed countries to provide USD 100 billion per year by 2020, as well as on substantially scaling up financial support after 2020”, they urged “developed countries to honor their obligations to provide new, additional and predictable financial support to developing countries in a measurable, reportable and verifiable manner”. The ministers also reiterated, “public financial sources should be the mainstay of climate finance and that private finance could only be expected to play a supplementary role”.

The statement also read, “As developing countries facing multiple challenges in terms of social and economic development and poverty eradication, BASIC countries are undertaking ambitious actions domestically on climate change.” The ministers underlined that “domestic preparations for their respective intended nationally determined contributions are at an advanced stage and that their respective contributions will reflect their utmost efforts towards the objective of the Convention”.

The ministers welcomed the convening of the High Level Event on Climate Change by the President of the United Nations General Assembly on 29 June 2015, the outcome of Lima Climate Change Conference in 2014, and the work of the Peruvian Presidency. They committed to work constructively to ensure a successful outcome at the Paris Climate Change Conference later this year and expressed their full support to France.

The ministers also reaffirmed the commitment of BASIC countries to the unity of G-77 and China, and expressed their appreciation to South Africa’s chairing of the group. They voiced their support for further strengthening developing countries' positions at UNFCCC negotiations through the G-77 and China.

China offered to host the 21th BASIC Ministerial Meeting in the second semester of 2015.