BASIC nations talk climate change

Protecting the interests of developing nations in relation to climate change took centre stage as environment ministers from the BASIC group of countries – Brazil, South Africa, India and China – met in Durban on the weekend.

The meeting formed part of South Africa’s preparations for hosting the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP 17) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Durban in November and December this year.

South Africa was represented by Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa, and incoming COP president, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

South Africa’s proposals for a transparent, inclusive preparatory process leading up to the Durban conference – to ensure that the all-important conference yields a comprehensive, fair and effective outcome – were welcomed.

The BASIC ministers called for unilateral approaches, such as the inclusion of emissions from the aviation sector in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, and establishing unilateral carbon accounting rules to address climate challenges.

In a joint statement, the ministers said they had considered the challenges and possible priority elements on the road to COP17 and reaffirmed their “determination to constructively engage with others to develop an ambitious and realistic outcome.”

Presentations were made on a document by experts from BASIC countries on “a framework for equitable access to sustainable development”. This document is expected to be refined before being published.

The importance of rebuilding trust and strengthening the multilateral system was emphasised during the meeting.

“Ministers re-emphasised that an agreement on the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol is absolutely critical for the success of the Durban Conference … The ministers reaffirmed the commitment of BASIC countries to continue working to strengthen the unity of G77,” the statement read.

Brazil is set to host the 8th BASIC Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change in August.

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