'Basic Four' recommit to climate agenda

Monday, January 25, 2010

Pretoria - Ministers from the "Basic Four" countries, which include South Africa, India, China and Brazil, have re-emphasised their commitment to working together to ensure an agreed outcome at COP-16 in Mexico later this year.

COP-16 is a follow up to the United Nations Climate Change Summit (COP-15) which was held in Copenhagen last month. South Africa was represented by Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Buyelwa Sonjica at the event.

Sonjica was one of the ministers who met in New Delhi on Sunday to evaluate the inroads that were made in Copenhagen while also preparing themselves for the Mexico round of talks.

"The ministers underscored the centrality of the [climate change framework] process and the decision of the parties to carry forward the negotiations on the two tracks of Ad hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action," read a statement issued by the group.

They reiterated that all negotiations must be conducted in an inclusive and transparent manner.

While the Copenhagen accord produced political commitments to mitigate climate change by some leaders, rich nations were slammed for their failure to set bold targets on greenhouse gas emissions.

The four ministers expressed hope of a successful conclusion of ongoing negotiations leading to Mexico.

The members of the group have already announced a series of voluntary mitigation actions for 2020 and have expressed their intention to communicate information on their voluntary mitigation actions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change by January 31, 2010.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) described the group's early lead on continuing climate negotiations as a show of commitment shown by the countries to a fair and effective UN-based outcome to climate change this year.

"South Africa is standing by its commitment to negotiate a multilateral agreement as part of the Africa Group and to maintain the two-track process under the UNFCCC," said the organisation's Richard Worthington.