BASIC Four To Meet In Jan To Firm Up Climate Stand

  • Date: 02/01/10

The Times of India: The high-octane Copenhagen climate talks may have ended but global negotiations are going to get into a greater frenzy in 2010. To be on top of the game, the BASIC four countries — China, India, South Africa and Brazil — are going to meet in January itself to sort out common positions ahead of the frenzied formal talks that are bound to run through the year.

China has written to India requesting an early ministerial round of the BASIC countries, which emerged as the most influential alliance sealing the Copenhagen Accord along with the US and other developed economies.

Members of the BASIC group have expressed apprehensions that the next few rounds of meetings running through 2010 would be far more problematic and challenging than even the discordant Copenhagen round. They have warned that a greater level of cooperation would be required in the coming months to counter pressure from an angry Europe (which felt slighted at the Copenhagen talks) on one side, the resurgent and jubilant US administration (having steered the talks in its favour) on another and an upset fraternity of G77 countries completing the triangle.

The meeting is bound to also discuss strategies to deal with other non-UN but important meetings like that of the G20 and the US-hosted Major Economies Forum that have major political implications on the formal negotiations.

To add to the conundrum, the confusion over the status of the Copenhagen Accord has to be sorted out by January end. The hosts of the just-concluded talks, Denmark, will soon be formally requesting countries to indicate if they wish to be associated with the Copenhagen Accord. Under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the accord would have become a legally binding agreement only if all the 192 member countries had signed on to it. As four countries — Bolivia, Venezuela, Sudan and Tuvalu — refused to accept the accord it became a ‘noted’ document of the convention. It was decided that countries which wish to back it would be given time to sign on to it.

Now the UNFCCC secretariat will receive the communications from countries indicating their willingness to be associated with the accord. The list of signatories would be ready by early 2010.

Even though India was one of the key countries to negotiate the accord, it would be internally assessing the implications of formally standing by it under the UN process. It still remains open if the government would decide to take the accord to the cabinet for clearance before it formally accepts it. Sources indicated the next month would see frenetic discussions to resolve the new questions the Copenhagen Accord has raised.

The meeting of the BASIC four will also help cement a common position on the accord and the procedural and larger implications of accepting it. The consultations at various levels would also be required with other G77 developing countries, many of whom have already expressed reservations about letting the accord become the template for future negotiations.

Copyright 2009, The Times of India

 

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