BASIC Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change

The 21st BASIC Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change was held in Beijing on 30 and 31 October 2015.

The BASIC countries (also Basic countries or BASIC) are a bloc of four large newly industrialized countries – Brazil, South Africa, India and China – formed by an agreement on 28 November 2009. The four committed to act jointly at the Copenhagen climate summit, including a possible united walk-out if their common minimum position was not met by the developed nations.

As the Ministers at the 21st BASIC meeting in Beijing made a thorough analysis of current climate change politics, they expressed their unequivocal commitment towards a successful outcome at the Paris Climate Change Conference through a transparent, inclusive and Party-driven process. The Ministers underlined the need for accelerating the textual negotiation on the basis of the revised non-paper of 23 October 2015, given the limited amount of negotiating time left.

The Ministers reiterated their commitment to work together constructively with other Parties on all issues to reach an equitable, ambitious, comprehensive, balanced and durable Paris agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change that enhances the full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention, in order to achieve the objective of the Convention as set out in its Article 2, and not to create a regime distinct from the Convention.

The Paris agreement shall be in full accordance with its principles and provisions, in particular the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. Differentiation between developed and developing countries should be reflected in each element of the agreement.

The Ministers reiterated that developed countries must take the lead in the post-2020 period, by committing and implementing ambitious, economy-wide, absolute quantified emission reduction targets. On their part, developing countries will enhance their different types of mitigation efforts.

Ministers of the BASIC grouping stressed the equal importance of adaptation and mitigation in the agreement. Collective commitments must confirm that adaptation is a global responsibility. The Paris agreement should ensure the provision of adequate international support to developing countries, based on their needs and costs of adaptation. This should include support for enhanced adaptation plans, policies, programmes and actions of developing countries.

The BASIC Ministers emphasized that developed countries must provide financial resources, technology development and transfer and capacity-building support to developing countries for their ambitious mitigation and adaptation actions under the Paris agreement, including in particular through periodically formulating, communicating and implementing their forward-looking targets, strategies, plans and policies on financial support, in order to progressively and substantially scale up their support in the post-2020 period, with USD 100 billion per year as a starting point. Public financial resources, distinct from ODA, should be the main source and funds from the private sectors can be complementary.

The Ministers underscored the need for technology development and transfer to developing countries. The Paris agreement should provide for strengthening the existing technology mechanism, with a view to promoting cooperation on research and development, demonstration and diffusion of environmentally sound technologies and know-how, in particular addressing the issue of intellectual property rights by creating a window under the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

The Ministers reaffirmed that the Paris agreement shall address in a balanced manner the core elements mandated by the Durban Platform, i.e., mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology development and transfer, capacity-building and transparency of action and support.

The Ministers emphasized the importance of holding the increase in average global temperature below 2°C related to pre-industrial levels, through enhanced mitigation, adaptation and means of implementation for both.

They affirmed that the Paris agreement should provide for Parties to regularly prepare, communicate and implement their enhanced commitments and actions in accordance with Article 4 of the Convention. Such an effort should represent a progression beyond the current undertaking of that Party.

BASIC Ministers further emphasized that contributions should be nationally determined and comprehensive, covering mitigation, adaptation and provision of support by developed countries to developing countries. Ministers also reaffirmed that ambition and progression should cover both action and support.

The Ministers emphasized that existing institutions and mechanisms created under the Convention on adaptation, loss and damage, finance and technology should be anchored and further strengthened in the Paris agreement.

The Ministers concurred that a post-2020 enhanced transparency system of action and support should be built on the existing differentiated arrangements under the Convention, while providing flexibility to developing countries. Such system should ensure that developed countries enhance the transparency of support by reporting their progress on provision of finance, technology and capacity-building support and provide support to developing countries for enhancing their capabilities on transparency of action and support received.

They supported the establishment of a global stocktaking of the overall implementation of the Paris agreement and progress towards achieving the objective of the Convention and the global temperature goal. The stocktaking should cover mitigation, adaptation and means of implementation in a comprehensive manner.

The Ministers noted with concern that pre-2020 ambition gaps exist not only in mitigation, but also in adaptation, finance, technology and capacity-building support to developing countries. They highlighted the need for increasing pre-2020 ambition by developed countries to build trust amongst Parties. They called for a strong, comprehensive and meaningful decision on pre-2020 ambition in Paris with a view to laying a solid foundation for post-2020 enhanced action.

The Ministers of the group urged developed countries to revisit and increase their emission reduction commitments under the Convention or the 2nd commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, in order to achieve at least 25%-40% below 1990 levels by 2020. Ministers further called on developed countries to honor their obligations to provide new, additional, predictable and adequate financial resources to developing countries in a measurable, reportable and verifiable manner, in particular defining a clear roadmap and pathway towards achieving their goal of providing USD 100 billion per year by 2020.

They urged those developed countries who have made pledges to the GCF to sign contribution agreements or arrangements as a matter of urgency. They also called on those developed countries to increase their contributions to the GCF, while acknowledging the pledges already made. They further urged developed countries that have not done so to make contributions to the GCF as soon as possible. They emphasized that the GCF should function under the guidance of and be accountable to the COP.

Notwithstanding the multiple challenges in terms of social and economic development and poverty eradication, BASIC countries, as developing countries, are undertaking robust actions domestically on climate change. They have further communicated their ambitious intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs). They urged developed countries to communicate their commitments on provision of support as early as possible to fulfill their obligations under the Convention.

The Ministers noted with appreciation the work done by the BASIC experts including on equity, differentiation, ambition, INDCs and finance, and requested them to continue their work.

The Ministers reaffirmed the commitment of BASIC, as developing countries, to the unity of Group of 77 and China, and highlighted the importance of cooperation among developing countries. They expressed their appreciation to South Africa for the leadership of the group. They voiced their support for further strengthening developing countries’ common positions in Paris through the Group of 77 and China.

The Ministers welcomed the offer by India to host the 22nd BASIC Ministerial Meeting in the first half of 2016.