TWN Info Service on Climate Change (Nov15/01)
2 November 2015
Third World Network

Developed countries should fulfill their obligations under the Convention, says BASIC

2 November (TWN) — Ministers and representatives from Brazil, South Africa, India and China (BASIC) underlined the need to accelerate textual negotiations based on the “revised non-paper of 23 October 2015”, given the limited negotiating time left.

The revised non-paper is the draft that emerged from the latest round of climate talks in Bonn held on 19 to 23 October. As the BASIC countries’ ministers made a “thorough analysis of the current climate change politics”, they sent strong messages ahead of the twenty-first meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP 21) of the United National Framework Convention on climate Change (UNFCCC) scheduled for 30 November to 11 December in Paris. The ministers also outlined their expectations of the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

“The Paris agreement shall be in full accordance with (the UNFCCC) principles and provisions, in particular the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. Differentiation between developed and developing countries should be reflected in each element of the agreement,” the ministers said in a joint statement. They also said that they had communicated their ambitious intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) and urged developed countries to communicate their commitments on provision of support as early as possible to fulfill their obligations under the Convention.

The joint statement was made at the conclusion of the 21st BASIC Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change, which was held in Beijing on 30-31 October 2015.

The meeting was attended by H.E. Mr. Xie Zhenhua, Special Representative for Climate Change of China, H.E. Ms. Izabella Teixeira, Minister for the Environment of Brazil, H.E. Mr. Prakash Javadekar, Minister of State (IC) of Environment, Forests and Climate Change of India and Ms. Judy Beaumont, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Environmental Affairs as the representative of H.E. Ms. Edna Molewa, Minister of Environmental Affairs of South Africa.

Expressing their unequivocal commitment towards a successful outcome at the Paris Climate Change Conference, the ministers stressed that it is done through a “transparent, inclusive and Party-driven process”. The ministers also reiterated their commitment of working with all the Parties to reach an “equitable, ambitious, comprehensive, balanced and durable Paris agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change that enhances the full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention, in order to achieve the objective of the Convention as set out in its Article 2.” The objective, the ministers added, was “not to create a regime distinct from the Convention”.

The ministers reaffirmed that the Paris agreement shall address in a balanced manner the core elements mandated by the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, i.e., mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology development and transfer, capacity-building and transparency of action and support.

They emphasized the importance of holding the increase in average global temperature below 2°C related to pre-industrial levels through enhanced mitigation, adaptation and means of implementation for both.

The ministers affirmed that the Paris agreement should provide for Parties to regularly prepare, communicate and implement their enhanced commitments and actions in accordance with Article 4 of the Convention. “Such an effort should represent a progression beyond the current undertaking of that Party,” the statement read.

On contributions to tackle climate change, the ministers emphasized that these should be nationally determined and comprehensive, covering mitigation, adaptation and provision of support by developed countries to developing countries. The ministers also reaffirmed that ambition and progression should cover both action and support.

To maintain differentiation, the ministers reiterated that developed countries must take the lead in the post-2020 period by “committing and implementing ambitious, economy-wide, absolute quantified emission reduction targets”. On their part, the developing countries would enhance their “different types of mitigation efforts”.

The ministers stressed the equal importance of adaptation and mitigation in the agreement. “Collective commitments must confirm that adaptation is a global responsibility. The Paris agreement should ensure the provision of adequate international support to developing countries, based on their needs and costs of adaptation. This should include support for enhanced adaptation plans, policies, programmes and actions of developing countries,” they said.

On means of implementation, the ministers emphasized that developed countries must provide financial resources, technology development and transfer and capacity-building support to developing countries for their ambitious mitigation and adaptation actions under the Paris agreement, including in particular through periodically formulating, communicating and implementing their forward-looking targets, strategies, plans and policies on financial support, in order to progressively and substantially scale up their support in the post-2020 period, with USD 100 billion per year as a starting point. Public financial resources, distinct from ODA (official development assistance), should be the main source and funds from the private sector can be complementary, the statement read.

Underscoring the need for technology development and transfer to developing countries, the ministers said that the Paris agreement should provide for strengthening the existing technology mechanism, with a view to promoting cooperation on research and development, demonstration and diffusion of environmentally sound technologies and know-how, in particular addressing the issue of intellectual property rights by creating a window under the GCF.

The ministers further emphasized that existing institutions and mechanisms created under the Convention on adaptation, loss and damage, finance and technology should be anchored and further strengthened in the Paris agreement.

On transparency, the Ministers agreed that a post-2020 enhanced transparency system of action and support should be built on the “existing differentiated arrangements under the Convention, while providing flexibility to developing countries”. “Such system should ensure that developed countries enhance the transparency of support by reporting their progress on provision of finance, technology and capacity-building support and provide support to developing countries for enhancing their capabilities on transparency of action and support received,” the statement read.

The ministers also supported the establishment of a global stocktaking of the overall implementation of the Paris agreement and progress towards achieving the objective of the Convention and the global temperature goal. The stocktaking should cover mitigation, adaptation and means of implementation in a comprehensive manner.

On the GCF, the ministers urged those developed countries that have made pledges to the GCF to sign contribution agreements or arrangements as a matter of urgency. (Contribution agreements are signed between countries and the GCF to realize the pledges made by countries.) They also called on those developed countries to increase their contributions to the GCF, while acknowledging the pledges already made. They further urged developed countries that have not done so to make contributions to the GCF as soon as possible. They emphasized that the GCF should function under the guidance of, and be accountable to, the COP.

The ministers also highlighted that notwithstanding the multiple challenges in terms of social and economic development and poverty eradication, as developing countries, they were undertaking robust actions domestically on climate change.

On pre-2020 climate action, the ministers noted with concern that pre-2020 ambition gaps exist not only in mitigation, but also in adaptation, finance, technology and capacity-building support to developing countries. They highlighted the need for increasing pre-2020 ambition by developed countries to build trust amongst Parties. They called for a strong, comprehensive and meaningful decision on pre-2020 ambition in Paris with a view to laying a solid foundation for post-2020 enhanced action.

The ministers urged developed countries to revisit and increase their emission reduction commitments under the Convention or the 2nd commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (depending on which treaty they are bound by), in order to achieve at least 25%-40% below 1990 levels by 2020. Ministers further called on developed countries to honor their obligations to provide new, additional, predictable and adequate financial resources to developing countries in a measurable, reportable and verifiable manner, in particular defining a clear roadmap and pathway towards achieving their goal of providing USD 100 billion per year by 2020.

The ministers reaffirmed the commitment of BASIC, as developing countries, to the unity of the Group of 77 and China, and expressed their appreciation to South Africa for the leadership of the Group.

India will host the 22nd BASIC Ministerial Meeting in the first half of 2016.+