The eighth BASIC Ministerial Meeting on climate change took place in Inhotim, Minas Gerais, on the 26th and 27th of August 2011. Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, Minister of External Relations of Brazil, Izabella Teixeira, Minister for the Environment of Brazil, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa as incoming COP President, Edna Molewa, Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs of South Africa, Xie Zhenhua, Vice-Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission of China, and J.M. Mauskar, Special Secretary for Environment and Forests of India attended the meeting. In line with the “BASIC-plus” approach, Argentina as chair of the G77 and China was invited.
Ministers reiterated the importance of achieving a comprehensive, balanced and ambitious result in Durban in the context of sustainable development and in accordance with the provisions and principles of the Convention, in particular the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, and the Bali Road Map. This result must fully cover negotiations under the two tracks of the UNFCCC: the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) and the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long Term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA). They emphasized that Durban must advance all aspects of the negotiations, including the establishment of Annex I commitments for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol and comparable commitments by non-Kyoto Protocol Annex I parties, the operationalization of Cancun decisions and resolving pending issues not concluded in Cancun. Ministers emphasized the centrality of adaptation and means of implementation as part of a balanced and comprehensive outcome. These are elements needed to ensure balance in the completion of the Bali Road Map and Bali Action Plan. Ministers underlined that agreeing on the second commitment period is the central priority for Durban, as failure in this regard would generate a challenge to multilateralism and would undermine the rules based multilateral response to climate change under the UNFCCC. Ministers reiterated their support for a transparent and inclusive preparatory process to ensure that Durban takes a major step forward in working towards the perspective of a comprehensive, ambitious, fair and effective outcome, ensuring the full, effective and sustained implementation of the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol.
Ministers reaffirmed that the Kyoto Protocol is a cornerstone of the climate change regime. They underscored the role of the Kyoto Protocol in ensuring deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions from developed countries commensurate with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessments and the 2°C goal recognized in Cancun. They stressed that the continuation of the flexibility mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol, in particular the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), is contingent upon the establishment of quantified emission reduction commitments by Annex I Parties under the second commitment period. They urged Parties to the Kyoto Protocol to work constructively to ensure that there is no gap between the first and second commitment periods. Ministers emphasized that the perspective of Annex I Parties leaving the Kyoto Protocol to present their mitigation contribution under the AWG-LCA can only be the reflection of reduced political will to cut their greenhouse gas emissions. It is hardly conceivable that a country would leave the Kyoto Protocol to do more.
Pending issues to be concluded
Taking note of India's submission of items to be added to the provisional agenda of the COP, Ministers underlined the importance of addressing pending issues which must be advanced in Durban. This is essential to generate the necessary balance in the climate change negotiations.
Ministers also called for the early operationalization of all the institutions agreed to in Cancun, including the registry for nationally appropriate mitigation actions and international support; the Adaptation Committee; the Technology Executive Committee, Centre and Network; and the Green Climate Fund, which must provide significant means of implementation for immediate action to tackle climate change. They highlighted that the extent to which developing countries can implement their actions is dependent on the extent to which developed countries fulfill their commitment to provide sufficient financing, technological support and capacity building for both mitigation and adaptation.
Green Climate Fund
Ministers stressed the importance of ensuring appropriate overview of the Green Climate Fund by the Conference of the Parties, in order to ensure its adequate management and timely disbursements to developing countries. They emphasized that the Transitional Committee should interact with, and be guided by the AWG-LCA.
Ministers considered work by BASIC experts on a common reporting format for rigorous, robust and transparent accounting of finance by Annex I Parties. A common reporting format for finance is a priority for Durban to enable accounting of performance against the delivery of the quantified finance target of US$ 100 billion per year by 2020. Ministers also underlined the importance of ensuring the scaling up of financing up to and beyond 2020. They reiterated the need to ensure that accounting of finance by all developed countries be consistent, complete, comparable, transparent and accurate. Ministers also stressed the importance of detailed and comprehensive information on fast start financial flows provided by developed countries, which should be made available officially. They reaffirmed their view that the UNFCCC Secretariat should publish information on funding already disbursed under fast start financing, as this relates to a multilateral commitment.
Ministers also reflected on BASIC expert discussions on measuring, reporting and verifying Annex I mitigation. They underscored the need for stringent common accounting rules, with a view to ensuring transparency and comparability of mitigation commitments by all developed countries. They stressed that the rules of the Kyoto Protocol are the reference for the efforts undertaken by all developed countries in this area. They expressed the importance of operationalizing the transparency arrangements by developing countries, based on existing provisions under the Convention. They pointed out the robust contribution already offered by developing countries in emission reductions, which demonstrates a higher level of effort in comparison to mitigation by developed country Parties.
Equitable access to sustainable development
Ministers welcomed the work undertaken by BASIC experts on “a framework for equitable access to sustainable development”, as requested at the 6th BASIC Ministerial Meeting. This work will serve as a valuable contribution to the body of scientific knowledge informing policy development.
Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+)
Ministers recognized the importance of enhancing action to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, enhance removals by forests and sustainable forestry management practices, on the basis of scaled up international financing and technology transfer. They also underlined important additional benefits that REDD+ can offer to sustainable development in areas such as biodiversity protection.
Dangers of unilateralism
Ministers expressed their concern with unilateral climate change measures, planned or implemented, which generate negative impacts on other countries. They expressed their strong concern with the decision of the European Union to include the aviation sector in the EU Emission Trading System, including flights to and from its territory by non-european companies
G77 and China
Ministers emphasized the importance of G77 and China unity and its key role in climate change negotiations. They noted the clear demonstrations by the G77 and China of leadership and willingness to contribute to a strong global effort. They decided to maintain the “BASIC-plus” approach, in order to enhance the transparency of its meetings. They also praised the role played by the South African incoming COP Presidency and its efforts to organize inclusive, high-level consultations on climate change, which will contribute to a successful and ambitious outcome in Durban.
The Ministers also had an opportunity to discuss the perspective for the Rio+20 Conference in 2012. In this regard, they stressed the important role of BASIC countries in ensuring success of Rio+20, as well as the Durban Conference on Climate Change and the New Delhi Conference on Biodiversity. This is a clear sign of their firm commitment to advance multilateral solutions to global problems.
Ninth Meeting of Ministers
Ministers welcomed the offer of China to host the Ninth BASIC Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change on the 31st of October and the 1st of November. A meeting of experts will be held alongside this Ministerial meeting.