BASIC countries meet to discuss climate change

Friday, February 25, 2011

NEW DELHI - Environment ministers from BASIC countries - Brazil, South Africa, India and China - will meet in the capital from Saturday to assess the post-Cancun climate change policy and discuss coordination for talks in Durban conference in December 2011.

The Saturday conclave is significant as it is the first major international meeting of any group of countries since December 2010 when Cancun Agreement was reached in Mexico.

The two-day meeting will be held in a BASIC Plus format.

India has invited ministers/ambassadors from three other countries - Argentina, Algeria and the Maldives. This is the sixth meeting of the environment ministers of the four BASIC countries formed in Beijing in November 2009.

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said that BASIC has become a powerful force within the climate change negotiations over the last 15 months.

The BASIC ministers have been meeting regularly since Copenhagen to exchange views and evolve a coordinated approach to important negotiating issues. We will continue to work closely to ensure a positive outcome at Durban and beyond, while advancing the interests of our countries and partners, he said.

In the run-up to the next Conference of Parties in Durban in South Africa, the BASIC meet is expected to finalise the rules and modalities for implementing the Cancun decisions.

A meeting of the two ad-hoc Working Groups on the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol is already scheduled in Bangkok in April this year to discuss the issues emerging from the Cancun decisions and decide on a work programme for actions.

Some of the important issues which are likely to command attention in the current year are those relating to the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol and the ambition and accountability of commitments and actions of developed country Parties.

The rules for international assessment and review (IAR) of the targets of developed countries and international consultations and analysis (ICA) of developing countries’ actions are also to be prepared and finalised. Legal options for the outcomes in future also will be a major issue for discussion.

Other important issues relate to the work of the transitional committee set up by the parties to design the Green Climate Fund and operationalising the Technology Executive Committee set up to facilitate the process of diffusion and deployment of climate friendly technologies.

Argentina, Algeria and the Maldives will participate in the meeting as observers. These countries represent important regional groups within the ‘G-77 and China’ bloc in the climate change negotiations.

This is in keeping with the BASIC tradition of involving major regional groups within G-77 and China in order to enrich discussions and represent the interests of developing countries, Ramesh said.

The Maldives is a member of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in addition to being a neighbouring country from South Asian region. Algeria represents the developing countries in Africa, while Argentina is the current Chair of the Group of 77 and China.

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