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An update on climate change negotiations under the BASIC group and the African position for COP 17


An update on climate change negotiations under the BASIC group and the African position for COP 17

Willemien Viljoen, tralac Researcher, provides an update on the preparations for the Durban Climate Change Conference

On 6-10 August 2010 the African Group Negotiators on Climate Change (AGN) met in Durban to develop the ‘African Platform for Durban’, while the ministers of the BASIC group of countries (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) attended the eighth BASIC Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change in Inhotim, Minas Gerais; Brazil on 26-27 August 2011.

These meetings formed part of the series of meetings which will be held in preparation for the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP 17) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to be held in Durban between 28 November and 9 December 2011. Other preparatory meetings which will be held include a stakeholders’ meeting, a Negotiators-level Meeting and the Ministerial Meeting in September and the Pre-COP Informal Ministerial Consultation in October; hosted by the incoming COP 17 President, Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, and the ninth BASIC Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change from 31 October-1 November in China.

The African position for COP 17

The AGN consists out of all the African Members’ senior officials, experts and negotiators in the UNFCCC negotiations and is currently chaired by Mr Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The meeting developed Africa’s position for COP 17, addressing various issues raised under the two track negotiating system of the UN Climate Convention and the Bali Roadmap.

The AGN emphasised that there should be a balanced and ambitious outcome in the COP 17 negotiations which will maintain the integrity of Africa’s socio-economic development, including ambitious mitigation commitments from 2013 to 2017 by developed countries; adaptation at the centre of the deal with concrete adaptation activities; enhanced action on technology development and transfer; an improved common reporting framework for short-term finance and clarity about long-term finance sources and scale of financing for developing countries.

The BASIC Group Ministerial Meeting

Apart from the ministers of Brazil, South Africa, India and China attending the meeting, Argentina was also invited under the BASIC-plus approach, since Argentina is the current chair of the G77+China.

The meeting discussed various issues pertaining to the current and future climate change negotiations:

  • Durban outcome: Durban must lead to a comprehensive, balanced and ambitious outcome, in accordance with the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities to ensure future sustainable development. The ideal comprehensive outcome will include advancements in the reduction commitments by developed countries and comparable commitments for developing and least-developed countries, the operationalisation of the Cancun decisions and adaptation actions.

  • Kyoto Protocol: The meeting highlighted the need for the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol post-2012 without a gap between the first and second commitment periods. Parties called especially for the continuation of the flexible mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol, including the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

  • Green Climate Fund and financing: There should be an appropriate overview of the Green Climate Fund to ensure the adequate management and timely disbursements of the Fund to developing countries. There should also be consistent and transparent accounting practices in place for the financing provided by developed countries with detailed and comprehensive information on fast start financial flows.

  • Unilateral climate change measures: Unilateral mitigation and adaptation actions implemented by one country can have undesired affects on other countries. Ministers’ growing concern about the potential negative consequences of unilateral actions was reiterated by the recent decision of the European Union to include the aviation sector in the EU Emission Trading System.



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