Joint statement issued at the conclusion of the 26th BASIC Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change

Durban, South Africa, 20 May 2018


The 26th BASIC Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change was held in Durban, South Africa, on 19 - 20 May 2018. The meeting was chaired by H.E. Ms Edna Molewa, Minister of Environmental Affairs of South Africa and attended by H.E. Mr. Xie Zhenhua, Special Representative for Climate Change of China, H.E. Dr Harsh Vardan, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Earth Sciences, Science and Technology of India and H.E. Ambassador J. Antonio Marcondes, Undersecretary General for the Environment, Energy and Science and Technology of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil. H.E. Mr. Michal Kurtyka, incoming COP President of COP 24, was invited and welcomed as a special guest to attend the meeting.

BASIC Ministers reiterated that the global effort against climate change is an irreversible process that cannot be postponed. Ministers called for the widest possible cooperation by all countries and other stakeholders to protect global climate for our present and future generations, with a view to building a community with a shared future for mankind, in terms of climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development. They further highlighted all BASIC countries’ commitment to work together with other Parties to ensure the full, effective and sustained implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), its Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement.

Ministers reaffirmed that the Paris Agreement is a hard-won achievement by the international community, which enhances the implementation of the Convention in the post-2020 period. They noted the transformative impetus the Agreement brings to the global response to climate change, in the context of poverty eradication and sustainable development, whilst reflecting equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances.

Ministers further welcomed the impressive 176 ratifications, to date, of the Paris Agreement adopted under the UNFCCC. They called on all remaining Parties to the UNFCCC to join the Agreement as soon as possible.

Furthermore, all BASIC countries have ratified the Doha Amendment for the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol. Ministers noted with concern that there are still 32 ratifications required for entry into force, and called on those Parties that have not yet done so to ratify as a matter of urgency.

Ministers pledged BASIC’s full support to the incoming Polish Presidency of COP 24 in Katowice, as well as their continued support to the current Fijian COP Presidency, commending in particular Fiji’s contribution to the UNFCCC process, particularly the Fiji Momentum for Implementation adopted at COP 23, including the facilitative Talanoa Dialogue.

Ministers have received reports from their officials of the success of the initial exchanges in the facilitative Talanoa Dialogue that took place during the UNFCCC intersessional meeting in May 2018. The BASIC countries intend to convene national events with their respective stakeholders and contribute narratives to the facilitative Talanoa Dialogue well ahead of COP 24. Ministers look forward to a rich exchange of views during high-level dialogues in Katowice, with consideration of pre-2020 action and support as a crucial element of the Talanoa dialogue.

The Ministers are confident that the narratives to be presented will be captured in a balanced manner, reflecting the full diversity of experiences of the international community, and highlighting practical solutions and best practices on how to enhance ambition for both pre-2020 and post-2020 action and support.

Ministers noted with concern the significant gaps in pre-2020 climate efforts that exist not only in mitigation, but also in adaptation and support to developing countries. Ministers stressed that these gaps should not be transferred to the post-2020 period and present an additional burden to developing countries. They urged developed countries to honour their existing commitments and enhance ambition, including through the enhanced provision of support, which will enable developing countries to achieve higher ambition in their actions.

Ministers expressed their determination to complete the Paris Agreement Work Programme at COP24 to enable full implementation of the Paris Agreement from 2020 onwards. The BASIC countries will continue working constructively with other Parties to ensure the adoption of a comprehensive and balanced outcome of the Work Programme, based on the principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances. They emphasized the importance of achieving comparable levels of specificity to operationalize all provisions of the Paris Agreement to achieve a balance.

In this regard, they underscored the need for Parties to prepare, by the end of the UNFCCC sessional meeting in Bangkok in September 2018, a comprehensive and Party-driven negotiating text covering all the matters and inter-linkages related to the implementation of the Paris Agreement, through reflecting all Parties’ options in a balanced manner. Ministers underlined the importance of an open, transparent, inclusive and Party-driven process towards the completion of the Paris Agreement Work Programme.

Ministers reiterated that contributions to the global response to climate change are nationally-determined and that Parties’ efforts should cover mitigation, adaptation and support, taking into account differentiated responsibilities and obligations of developed and developing country Parties under the Convention and the Paris Agreement.

The guidance being developed under the Paris Agreement Work Programme should assist Parties in the preparation and communication of their mitigation, adaptation and support contributions, including that such efforts will represent progression over time, and will also recognize the need to support developing country Parties for the effective implementation of this Agreement. Ministers stressed that adequate and continuous support should be provided to developing countries to increase their capacities in all relevant areas, including to prepare, communicate and implement their contributions and to participate in the enhanced transparency framework under the Agreement.

The Ministers emphasized that current work on guidance for mitigation components of NDCs should not in any way undermine the nationally determined nature of NDCs. The work should respect the understanding reached in Paris on differentiation between developed and developing countries and diversity of mitigation efforts by developing countries, including the consideration of issues related to the impact of response measures being addressed as part of the mitigation issues under the Paris Agreement Work Programme.

The Ministers took note of the emissions gap in both pre- and post-2020 mitigation ambition. In that respect, they urged developed countries to take the lead in emission reductions, achieve the peaking of their emissions as soon as possible if they have not already done so, and thereafter undertake rapid reductions in accordance with best available science.

In transparency, flexibility for developing countries informed by their national circumstances and capacities must be provided and built into the modalities, procedures and guidelines for the enhanced transparency framework, including in terms of frequency of reporting; relevant quantifiable references consistent with the nature of mitigation efforts agreed under Article 4.4; capacity-building for reporting based on nationally-determined needs; among others.

Ministers reiterated that the transparency arrangements under the Convention shall form part of the experience drawn upon for the development of the modalities, procedures and guidelines for transparency. Ministers underlined the significance of the extension of the mandate of the Consultative Group of Experts on National Communications from developing country Parties (CGE) to continue its support for developing countries in implementing transparency-related provisions and enhancing their relevant capacities under the Convention and its Paris Agreement. They also emphasised that the enhanced transparency arrangements should also represent a progression beyond previous efforts by developed countries for both action and support.

Ministers noted with concern the limited progress in the negotiations thus far on adaptation and loss and damage, which are integral parts of the Paris Agreement. They emphasised that adaptation is an issue that requires an urgent global response and reiterated the importance of both the global goal on adaptation and the adaptation communication in achieving the purpose of the Paris Agreement. They emphasized the importance of consistent information under each of the common elements for adaptation communications, so as to clearly understand progress towards the global goal on adaptation, whilst cognizant of the different vehicles that Parties may use in communicating this information. Ministers also recognized the importance of reporting on impacts and adaptation in the enhanced transparency framework, since the relevant aggregated information on both ex-ante adaptation communications and ex-post adaptation actions are necessary inputs for a comprehensive Global Stocktake.

Ministers affirmed that equity is a fundamental aspect that must be considered in the aggregation of the overall progress and collective efforts on mitigation, adaptation and provision of support in the Global Stocktake. In this regard, Ministers underlined that both the process and outcome of the Global Stocktake should be in the light of equity.

Ministers noted that the enhanced provision of sustained, predictable and adequate finance, technology development and transfer and capacity-building support by developed countries to developing countries will enable developing countries to achieve higher ambition in their actions. Ministers further emphasized that effective implementation of developed countries’ legal obligations regarding provision of support will be paramount for trust-building among Parties in order to create an international enabling environment for the successful implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Ministers therefore urged developed countries to honour their commitments to reach the goal of USD100 billion per annum in climate finance by 2020. With USD100 billion per annum as a starting point, developed countries should progressively and substantially scale up their financial support in the post-2020 period. They also emphasized the importance of the development of robust guidelines and methodologies to track and account for the provision of finance by developed countries in line with their obligations, as well as the development of technical expert review guidelines to ensure the robustness of reported information on provision of support. They further highlighted the importance of discussing modalities for communicating indicative information on the support to be provided by developed countries referred to in Article 9.5 of the Paris Agreement.

Ministers reiterated their deepest concern over attempts by some developed countries to unilaterally apply new eligibility criteria for developing countries’ access to funding under the Global Environmental Facility and the Green Climate Fund. They recalled that such criteria are not compatible with guidance from the Conference of the Parties and are a departure from the letter and the spirit of the Convention and its Paris Agreement. Furthermore, they indicated that such attempts violate the terms of the Instrument for the Establishment of the Restructured Global Environmental Facility, as well as the Governing Instrument of the Green Climate Fund, falling outside the mandate of the GEF Council and of the GCF Board on eligibility criteria. They stressed the view that such attempts are tantamount to renegotiating the Paris Agreement and potentially undermine the level of ambition of developing countries in the global effort against climate change. Furthermore, Ministers noted with concern the lack of adequacy of financial resources provided by developed countries to the GCF and GEF to assist developing countries in their climate actions.

Ministers stressed that the implementation arrangements for technology development and transfer and capacity-building are indispensable parts of the Paris Agreement. They further called for progress to be made on the relevant issues under the Paris Agreement Work Programme, i.e., the periodical assessment of the effectiveness and adequacy of the technology support under the Technology Mechanism, the elaboration of the technology framework and the enhancement of the Paris Committee on Capacity-building.

Ministers noted upcoming meetings and highlighted their interest in achieving progress and common understanding in such meetings, including the Petersberg Climate Dialogue, the Ministerial on Climate Action and the Pre-COP, and expressed their willingness to engage constructively with their colleagues in addressing political issues in the lead up to COP 24.

The Ministers noted work being undertaken by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) on climate change. They recognized the importance of efforts to address greenhouse emission reductions in the international aviation and shipping sectors and to ensure environmental integrity throughout the UN system. Ministers underlined that such efforts must complement the UNFCCC, its Kyoto Protocol and its Paris Agreement and conform to their key principles, in particular equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capacities, in the light of different national circumstances.

Ministers reaffirmed their determination to strengthen bilateral cooperation amongst BASIC countries, including exchanges on domestic policies and best practices on addressing climate change. BASIC countries will promote South-South cooperation on climate change in various thematic areas, in the context of sustainable development, with the priorities of eradicating poverty and achieving food security.

BASIC Ministers reiterated their unequivocal commitment to support Egypt, as the Chair of the Group of 77 this year, with a view to strengthening the unity of the Group of 77 plus China, and advancing the common interests of developing countries in the multilateral climate process.

Ministers welcomed the offer of India to host the 27th BASIC Ministerial Meeting in the second half of 2018.