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Opening remarks for the 28TH BASIC Ministerial Coordination Meeting

São Paulo, Brazil, 16 August 2019

Honourable Minister Ricardo Salles, Minister of Environment of the Federative Republic of Brazil;
Honourable Minister Prakash Javadekar, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of the Republic of India,
Honourable Mr Xie Zhenhua, Special Representative for Climate Change Affairs of the People Republic of China
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Senior Officials,

Let me start by agreeing with Mr Xie Zhenhau when he says climate change is a problem we face now.

All the current climate change reports points to global emissions continuing to rise and are currently at an all-time high. The urgency of the situation has once again been brought home to us by massive devastation and loss of lives with cyclones in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, flooding in India and typhoon Lekima in China as well as the prolonged drought and floods in parts of South Africa.

This coupled with the backtracking by some of our major developed country partners, failure to honour their obligations, disregard for their historical responsibilities and unfulfilled pledges, paints a rather grim, picture for the future of our planet and future generations.

Our BASIC countries, are populated with the largest numbers of poor and vulnerable communities. We also face some of the greatest developmental challenges especially in transitioning in a just manner to a low carbon and climate resilient path. Nevertheless as BASIC countries we must show that global leadership and be that beacon of hope for humanity. We must do this while recognising the common but differentiated responsibilities and our respective capabilities.

The BASIC countries including the larger economies of the Global South are contributing significantly to the global effort to address climate change and often beyond what we have presented in our Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). South Africa is enhancing its ambition and taking action in a realistic and responsible manner as well as playing our role as a responsible global citizen through collaborative action. We are increasing our share of renewables in our Integrated Resource Plan beyond what was used as a baseline for our NDC, implementing land sector programmes based on mitigation options through maintenance of carbon sinks and ecosystem resilience, introducing a new carbon tax in 2019 and setting up a national just transition stakeholder dialogue with the aim of developing an economy-wide collaborative work programme. Together with our financial sector we are introducing new climate financing facilities to address market constraints. We hope to play a catalytic role with blended finance approaches to increase climate related investment not only in South Africa but the broader Southern African region.

We need not have be modest or timid about our actions. We need to demonstrate the real action on the ground as BASIC countries are already doing.

In assuming this leadership role, we need to hold developed countries to account for their historical responsibility. We must ensure that developed countries, honor their pre and post 2020 pledges and ensure a balance between mitigation and adaption.

In going forward, we must continue to uphold the principles of multilateralism and the supremacy of the Convention while ensuring that the implementation of the Paris agreement fulfils its purpose of enhancing the implementation of the Convention.

COP 25 in Santiago de Chile must address the unresolved issues in the Paris Agreement. In particular, Article 6, should include common tabular formats for reporting, common timeframes and adaptation, in a fair, balanced and equitable manner while maintaining environmental integrity.

Enhanced ambitious action cannot be achieved without enhanced support in the form of finance technology and capacity building. With regards to finance we need a multilateral climate finance architecture that is transparent with new, additional, adequate and predictable finance, and fair and equitable access to all developing countries. To this end we strongly urge for the Green Climate Funds 1st formal Replenishment: an overall doubling of its initial resource mobilization pledges and a 1st Replenishment in the range of between US$ 14 to 20 billion.

We look forward to practical solutions in this meeting and possible landing zones for COP25 later this year. We also highlight the need for BASIC countries to assess the overarching strategic issues that arise from the negotiations and our collective goal of a Just Transition to a low carbon future. We should have a frank conversation about key issues like the current precarious status of support for developing countries and the implementation and ambition gaps brought about largely by backtracking by some of our developed country Partners.

I thank you.


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