Image credit: - Photo: 2017

Rich Nations Urged to Honour Paris Commitments at COP23

By Jaya Ramachandran

BERLIN (IDN) – Brazil, South Africa, India and China have urged rich nations to honour their commitments made in Paris in 2015 and provide money, help in capacity building and transfer technology to developing countries to fight against climate change.

The four countries comprising BASIC made the plea in a joint statement emerging from their 24th Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change on April 10-11, 2017 in Beijing, China. The statement urged industrialized countries to honour their commitments and increase climate finance towards the 100 billion dollars per annum goal, to be scaled-up significantly after 2025.

The meeting was attended by Xie Zhenhua, Special Representative for Climate Change Affairs of China, Barbara Thompson, Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs of South Africa, Ambassador José Antonio Marcondes de Carvalho, Under Secretary-General for the Environment, Energy, Science and Technology, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil, and Ravi S. Prasad, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of India.

In line with the ‘BASIC-plus’ approach, Parveen Kumar Bala, Minister for Local Government, Housing and Environment of Fiji, on behalf of the incoming Presidency of COP 23, Dr. Khaled Fahmy, Minister of Environment of Egypt, and Jose M. Borja, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ecuador to China, on behalf of the Chair of the Group of 77 also attended the meeting as observers.

Brazil will host the 25th BASIC Ministerial meeting in the second half of 2017.

The BASIC Ministers reiterated that “the global effort against climate change is an irreversible process that cannot be postponed.” It offers valuable opportunities to promote sustainable development. In this regard, they underlined BASIC’s highest political commitment to the full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention, its Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement in all their aspects.

They urged all signatories to “stay the course and maintain their support to the Paris Agreement for the good of all humankind and our future generations.” They highlighted BASIC’s willingness to work together with all Parties and stakeholders to promote global low greenhouse gas emissions, climate-resilient and sustainable development.

The Ministers welcomed the successful outcomes achieved at COP 22 in November 2016, which demonstrated the irreversible momentum behind the multilateral process and adopted the roadmap for the work required to operationalise the Paris Agreement from 2020. They expressed their appreciation to the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco for hosting the Conference.

They pledged BASIC’s full support to the incoming Fijian Presidency of COP 23 to be held in Bonn, Germany, from November 6 to 17, 2017. They underlined the importance of COP 23 to prepare the ground towards the completion of the work related to the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

The BASIC Ministers further underlined that COP 23 should accelerate the implementation of pre-2020 commitments and actions. They reiterated that the work on both the pre-2020 and post-2020 should be in full accordance with the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. “They also emphasised the importance of openness, transparency, inclusiveness and the Party-driven nature of the negotiations.”

The Ministers expressed BASIC’s willingness to continue working constructively with other Parties to adopt balanced and meaningful outcomes, in 2018, related to the implementation of the Paris Agreement from 2020.

“With the aim of accomplishing this task, they underscored the need for entering into the textual negotiation on the modalities, procedures and guidelines for the Paris Agreement as early as possible, in order to produce a comprehensive negotiating text at COP 23, reflecting all Parties’ views and inputs in a balanced manner,” according to the joint statement.

The Ministers affirmed that the outcomes of the work related to the implementation of the Paris Agreement shall reflect differentiation, nationally determined nature of Parties’ contributions, and flexibility to developing countries. Furthermore, they said, when implementing the Paris Agreement, Parties are encouraged to exchange their best practices and cooperate to enhance actions progressively.

The Ministers recalled the legal obligations of developed countries under the Convention and its Paris Agreement to provide financial resources, technology development and transfer and capacity-building support to all developing countries, for their effective implementation and ambitious actions. Ministers emphasised the need for further clarity and robust methodologies to track and account for the provision of finance by developed countries.

Therefore they urged developed countries to honour their commitments and increase climate finance towards the 100 billion dollars per annum goal, to be scaled-up significantly after 2025. In the post-2020 period, Ministers called upon developed countries to provide financial resources to assist developing countries with respect to both mitigation and adaptation in continuation of their existing obligations under the Convention. Furthermore, Ministers called for collaboration among the various mechanisms on adaptation, finance, technology and capacity-building.

The BASIC Ministers emphasised that adaptation is an issue that requires an urgent global response, and reiterated the importance of both the global adaptation goal and of the adaptation communication as a component of Parties’ NDCs (nationally determined contributions) in achieving the purpose of the Paris Agreement. Ministers urged developed countries to provide adequate support to developing countries in meeting the cost of their adaptation actions.

Ministers stressed the urgency of developed country Parties to revisit and increase their economy-wide quantified emission reduction targets and to implement and enhance the provision of finance, technology and capacity-building support to developing countries, which is a prerequisite for mutual trust among Parties and for building a solid foundation for post-2020 implementation and ambition. In this regard, Ministers underscored the importance of ratifying the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol.

The Ministers highlighted the substantial achievements that the BASIC countries continue to demonstrate in combating climate change, both on the implementation of pre-2020 mitigation and adaptation actions and their ambitious NDCs.

“BASIC countries have made notable progress towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development. They are committed to sharing experiences and supporting each other as they further develop their domestic climate policies and actions.”

The BASIC Ministers reiterated that the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) is the primary international forum to coordinate the global response to climate change.

In this regard, they expressed their willingness to strengthen the voice of BASIC in other multilateral fora addressing issues related to climate change, such as the United Nations General Assembly, the International Civil Aviation Organisation, the International Maritime Organisation and the Montreal Protocol, as well as the G20.

They reiterated that measures and outcomes under these fora should be consistent with the UNFCCC and in line with the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.

Note: The joint statement was published by the SOUTHNEWS on April 12, 2017, a service of the South Centre to provide information and news on topical issues from a South perspective. [IDN-InDepthNews – 13 April 2017]

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