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'Basic' country bloc agrees to 2010 climate timetable

25th January 2010

By: Christy van der Merwe


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The environmental Ministers of the Basic group of countries - Brazil, South Africa, India and China - have reaffirmed their commitment to ensuring an agreed outcome at the global climate change conference scheduled for Mexico toward the end of 2010.

The Basic countries also agreed to coordinate their positions closely as part of climate change discussions in other forums, and emphasised the importance of working with other members of Group of 77 and China, in order to ensure an ambitious and equitable outcome in Mexico through a transparent process.


The ministers, who met in New Delhi in India on Sunday, called on Denmark (the current Conference of the Parties president) to convene a meeting in March of the Ad-hoc working group (AWG) for further commitments under the Kyoto Protocol and the AWG for long-term cooperative action under the convention.

The ministers further emphasised that Denmark should ensure that the AWGs met at least five times before the conference in Mexico, and that funding, logistics and other procedural issues should not be allowed to become a constraint in the convening of these meetings.


The members of the Basic group have already announced a series of voluntary mitigation actions by 2020, and expressed their intention to communicate these voluntary mitigation actions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) by January 31. This was the deadline for countries to submit this information so that it could be incorporated into the Copenhagen Accord.

In South Africa's case, President Jacob Zuma indicated that the country would undertake mitigation actions resulting in a deviation below the current emissions baseline of around 34% by 2020 and by 42% by 2025.

As well as additional AWG meetings, the Ministers of the Basic group agreed to meet at the Ministerial level every quarter. South Africa would host the next meeting of the group in late April.

The ministers also stressed that Basic was not only a forum for negotiation coordination, but also a forum for cooperative actions on mitigation and adaptation, including exchange of information and collaboration in matters relating to climate science and climate-related technologies. Enhancing South-South cooperation with other countries on various issues including those relating to scientific cooperation and support for adaptation to vulnerable countries was encouraged.

Support for the Copenhagen Accord was underscored as representing a high level political understanding among the participants on some of the contentious issues of the climate change negotiations. The ministers also recalled the important contribution of the Basic countries in finalising the Accord.

The UNFCCC process was also regarded as central, and the ministers reiterated that all negotiations must be conducted in an inclusive and transparent manner.

South African Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica, Chinese National Development and Reforms Commission vice chairperson Xie Zhenhua and Indian Environment and Forests Minister of State Jairam Ramesh participated in the meeting.

The ministers called for the early flow of the pledged $10-billion in 2010, as was agreed under the Copenhagen Accord, as proof of the commitment to urgently address the global challenge of climate change.

This fund would focus on the least developed countries, small island developing states and countries of Africa. It was in this context that the ministers also welcomed the progress made on the proposal for financing and implementation of the REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries) mechanism, and decided to undertake close coordination to this end.



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