BASIC Meet: Efforts to Adapt to Climate Change High on Agenda

Oct 12th, 2014 | By | Category: International Agencies, News

44784051With the increasing frequency of extreme climate events, efforts to adapt to climate change was high on the agenda of the BASIC meet in Sun City, South Africa. The quartet comprising the four emerging developing economies of Brazil, South Africa, India and China, emphasized that the need to focus on adapting to climate change was as important as reducing emissions.

“Adaptation needs are driven by the extent of adverse effects of climate change, experienced both now and in the future,” the statement issued at the end of the two-day meeting of the BASIC in South Africa stated.

To this end, the four countries called on the industrialised countries to give “clearer” indications of their commitment to meeting the climate finance goal of $100 billion a year by 2020 and the initial capitalization of the Green Climate Fund. And that at the December negotiations in Lima under the aegies of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change, the BASIC would push for to ensure adequate resource allocation to the Adaptation Fund and the adaptation window of the Green Climate Fund.

Ahead of the negotiations to be held in Bonn in late October, the BASIC made it clear that the developing countries would not allow for a lop-sided agreement at Paris, which focused more on efforts to reduce emission. The quartet stressed that the new global compact to be finalized at Paris in December 2015 must be balanced and include all the elements—the efforts to be made by each country or intended nationally determined contributions (INDC) must include mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology development and transfer and capacity-building. In this context, the representatives of the four countries reiterated the need to focus on adaptation. “Adaptation is an issue which requires a global response and is as important as mitigation… National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) could be the basis for Parties’ adaptation INDCs. Investment in adaptation by developing countries would represent an adaptation contribution,” according to the BASIC statement.

In the drive to ensure that the 2015 global compact is balanced, the BASIC made it clear that the existing institutions and mechanisms created under the Convention should be used and further strengthened beyond 2020. “The elements of the 2015 agreement should strengthen and enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of climate action. This will be done through provisions to strengthen institutional linkages between the adaptation committee and the Technology Executive Committee with the Standing Committee on Finance with the GCF and other operating entities of the Convention’s Financial Mechanism.”

Making the link between provision of climate finance by industrialised countries and the robustness of the global effort to counter climate change, the BASIC said that there had to be clarity on the manner in which developing countries will be supported in the implementation of their contributions under the 2015 agreement, given the serious socio-economic challenges they face and their urgent efforts to eradicate poverty. The 2015 agreement must establish a clear link between the actions by developing countries to contribute to effectively addressing the climate change challenge and the scale of finance, technology and capacity-building support required by them for implementation.

The leaders and representatives of the four countries made it clear that the Lima round of negotiations to be held in December is an important milestone for the successful conclusion of the negotiation of the 2015 agreement. To this end, they stressed that the new global compact must not redefine or renegotiate the Convention, and must recognise the differentiation between developed and developing countries as reflected in the principle of common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities.

Industrialised countries have been pushing for a reworking of the 1992 firewall between developed and developing countries, arguing that the economic realities of the 1990s no longer hold true in 2014. The BASIC has been firm on this issue. This is the most contentious political issue that will need to be addressed at the Lima round, if countries are to finalise the new global compact in Paris next year.

Four countries reiterated their commitment to limiting global temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius and stressed that the 2015 agreement must provide an inclusive, equitable and effective framework within which countries can put forward their contributions. They also said that agreement should allow countries to progressively enhance their contributions, without providing for regression on existing commitments. India and China are not in favour of a review of the contributions that countries make towards the common goal of limiting temperature rise.

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