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India holds post-Cancun BASIC ministerial meeting on Climate Change

NEW DELHI, Feb. 28 — Environment ministers from BASIC countries – Brazil, South Africa, India and China – met here for two days ending on Sunday assessing the post-Cancun climate change policy and discuss coordination for talks in Durban conference in December 2011.

It is the first major international meeting of any group of countries since December 2010 when the Cancun agreements were reached in Mexico.

Ministers and ambassadors from Argentina, Algeria and the Maldives were also invited to participate in the meeting as observers representing the Group of Seventy Seven (G77), the African Union and the Group of Small Islands.

At the end of the conference, Indian environment minister Jairam Ramesh introduced a joint statement on behalf of the BASIC group countries.

He said that all four countries welcome the Cancun agreements as a positive step forward. Although the agreements have provided the stage for the resolution of some of the political issues, BASIC countries are equally convinced that the agreements are not a substitute for the Bali Road Map, he said.

"There were a number of issues in the Bali Road Map that had not been presented in the Cancun agreements, in particular the issue of equity, intellectual property rights and trade which are all very important to BASIC countries," Ramesh said. "We will make every effort to bring these issues back to the main stream discussion."

He pointed out that the Second Commitment Period of Kyoto Protocol and Fast Start Finance are the two critical issues that need further clarity.

BASIC countries stressed that a decision on the Second Commitment Period under the Kyoto Protocol should be taken at Durban to ensure that there is no gap between the first and the second commitment period, according to the Joint Statement.

On Fast Start Finance, Ramesh said that it is highly regrettable and most unfortunate that even after 14 month of hard negotiation, the so-called fast-start fund of 30 billion U.S. dollars over a three-year period is hardly fulfilled. The fast-start fund is meant for Africa, small island states and LDCs(Least developed countries).

"It is the key bargain, but it has not been started. Unless countries begin to see money flowing, the atmosphere at Durban would continue to be clouded with suspicions," Ramesh said.

Xie Zhenhua, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission of China, said participating countries in the BASIC ministerial meeting had assessed the Cancun Agreement and coordinated, unified and strengthened the position of developing countries.

The meeting was short, but all sides reached agreement on all the issues, Xie said. "Cancun Agreements are only task partly done under the framework and mandate of Bali Road Map, and we hope this year in Durban we can achieve the task."

He called on all countries in the world to strengthen mutual trust and political will to make Durban a success in order to respond to the challenge of climate change faced by all humanity. (PNA/Xinhua)

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