Analysis by Devinder Kumar
NEW DELHI (IDN) – The world’s four major newly industrialized countries – Brazil, South Africa, India and China (BASIC) – have in effect warned that signing the Paris Climate Agreement at the High-Level Ceremony on April 22 in New York will lead nowhere unless all elements of an ambitious accord are implemented in letter and spirit.
The High Level Signature Ceremony has been convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the world body’s headquarters. Ban’s second term as UN Chief expires end of the year.
The four BASIC countries have welcomed the adoption of the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and acknowledged that the 21st Conference of Parties (COP-21) held in Paris in December 2015 marked “a milestone in global climate cooperation”.
But they have expressed concern over the lack of adequate financial and technology support to fight climate change. In a joint declaration, they have called upon rich countries to scale up their level of financial support and honour their obligation of providing USD 100 billion per year by 2020.
Reiterating the role of public finance, they urged developed countries to fulfil their pledges to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) – a fund within the framework of the UNFCCC, founded as a mechanism to assist developing countries in adaptation and mitigation practices to counter climate change. The GCF is based in the new Songdo district of Incheon, South Korea. It is governed by a Board of 24 members and initially supported by a Secretariat.
The BASIC group, established by an agreement on November 28, 2009, held its 22nd meeting in New Delhi on April 6 and 7. The meeting, convened by India’s Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, agreed on an 18-point join declaration.
Participants inclided Xie Zhenhua, Special Representative for Climate Change of China, Ambassador Antonio Marcondes, Under Secretary-General for the Environment, Energy, Science and Technology, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil and Maesela Kekana, Chief Director, International Climate Change Relations and Negotiations of South Africa.
They underlined that the Agreement is intended to enhance the implementation of the Convention and is comprehensive, balanced and ambitious. “It also reiterates the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR & RC).”
The BASIC ministers underlined that the Paris Agreement recognizes “the imperatives of sustainable patterns of consumption and production, with developed countries taking the lead, and the importance of climate justice, in strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change”.
They commended the efforts by BASIC countries and other developing countries in tackling climate change, both pre- and post-2020, and emphasised that these represent far more ambitious efforts compared to their respective responsibilities and capabilities.
Referring to the April 22 High-Level Signature Ceremony, they expressed their will to initiate necessary domestic processes for ratification, acceptance or approval as soon as possible with a view to facilitate the timely entry into force of the Agreement, and urged other countries to do so as well.
At the same time, they reiterated the importance of pre-2020 actions in building trust amongst the Parties and noted with concern the pending ratification by many Annex I Parties of the Doha Amendment, which establishes the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. It began on January 1, 2013 and will end on December 31, 2020.
The BASIC countries urged Annex I Parties comprising of industrialized countries to both ratify and revisit pledges of Quantified Emission Limitation and Reduction Objectives (QELROs) to close the emission gap.
They also emphasized that raising pre-2020 ambition on other pillars of the Convention – such as adaptation, finance and technology and support for capacity building – will pave the way for the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
The BASIC country participants reiterated that Parties’ contributions, termed as ‘Nationally Determined Contributions’ (NDCs), are to be country driven and comprehensive.
The joint declaration stressed the differentiated obligations in mitigation actions of developed and developing countries, and for the provision of support. They emphasized that developed countries should continue to take the lead.
They also recalled that the Paris Agreement specifically mentions that the time frame for peaking will be longer for developing countries. They felt that proper anchoring of differentiation in contributions of developed and developing countries is a sound basis for ambitious actions.
The joint declaration also underscored the need for financial support to developing countries for effective implementation of their mitigation and adaptation actions through accelerating the work on the new Technology Framework and the Technology Mechanism.
This, they said, must include the assessment of the Mechanism for a meaningful and tangible dissemination, transfer and deployment of technology from developed to developing countries. They also emphasized the role of innovation and international cooperation in enhancing global actions.
The BASIC countries welcomed the setting up of the Paris Committee, a new institutional mechanism for enhancing capacity building activities in developing countries, and urged developed countries to provide financial support for capacity building in developing countries.
The declaration emphasized the importance of building on the existing transparency framework under the Convention, for effective implementation of the Paris Agreement and reiterated the significance of providing support and flexibility to developing countries, including through the Capacity-building Initiative for Transparency, in fulfilling their obligations under the proposed enhanced transparency framework.
The BASIC countries further underlined that transparency of support is a fundamental aspect of the implementation of the Paris Agreement and that the consideration of this issue should not be outsourced to other entities. They also reflected on the need to focus on the qualitative aspects of climate finance on transparency of support.
They identified means of implementation in the context of provision of finance, technology transfer and capacity building support as the most important enablers of action for developing countries. Ministers expressed their concern over the lack of adequate support in this respect and urged developed countries to honour their obligations under the Convention.
The BASIC countries also expressed concern that the draft proposal on Global Market Based Measures (GMBM) under the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) may impose inappropriate economic burden on developing countries, where the international aviation market is still maturing. They urged the ICAO to develop climate change measures in a manner that is consistent with the principles of CBDR & RC, and to align the GMBM with the relevant provisions of the Paris Agreement. [IDN-InDepthNews – 7 April 2016]
IDN is the flagship of International Press Syndicate.
Photo: (from left to right) Ambassador Antonio Marcondes, Under Secretary-General for the Environment, Energy, Science and Technology, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil; Maesela Kekana, Chief Director, International Climate Change Relations and Negotiations of South Africa; Prakash Javadekar, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Environment, Forest and Climate Change of India; and Xie Zhenhua, Special Representative for Climate Change of China. Credit: INVC