Climate Change

BASIC ministers pledge support for robust and fair rule book on Paris Agreement

They stress on the need for a comprehensive and party-driven negotiating text by Bangkok intersession in September 2018

By Vijeta Rattani
Published: Monday 21 May 2018

The two-day BASIC ministerial meeting, which concluded in Pretoria, South Africa on Sunday (May 20), saw ministers pledging support for fair and robust creation of a rule book for elaborating rules, methodologies, guidelines, and procedures of various components of the Paris Agreement.

The BASIC group comprises emerging economies of the global south namely Brazil, South Africa, India and China which are active members working towards climate change issue by trying to reduce carbon growth and urging developed countries to raise ambition and provide support.

The meeting was chaired by Edna Molewa, minister of environmental affairs of South Africa. Other participants representing BASIC group were Xie Zhenhua, special representative for climate change from China, India's environment minister Harsh Vardan, and Ambassador J Antonio Marcondes serving as undersecretary general for the environment, energy and science and technology of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil. Incoming President of the 24th meeting of Conference of Parties (COP 24) from Poland, Michal Kurtyka was the special guest for the event.

BASIC members stressed that climate efforts are irreversible and need to be urgently pursued. They highlighted the importance of Paris Agreement, and emphasised the need for cooperation and engagement for climate action. However, the ministers particularly noted the negligence given to pre-2020 actions, till the Paris Agreement becomes operational in 2020.

They expressed disappointment that Doha Amendment for the second commitment period till 2020 was still not in force with 32 ratifications still required. The ministers called upon the countries to ratify the Doha Amendment and also urged the developed countries to step up ambition and support till 2020.

Rule Book

The ministers pledged support for fair and robust creation of rule book. Noting the gap in pre and post 2020 ambition, the ministers stressed for a robust rule book for enhancing ambition, which would also consist of clear guidelines for raising of Nationally Determined Contributions or the NDCs under the Paris Agreement. Even so, the ministers stressed that rules and guidelines for NDCs must in no way compromise with the nationally determined character of the NDCs. They also stressed on adaptation and loss and damage which are still marginalized in the negotiating process.

BASIC ministers also supported the need for a clear negotiating text by the end of Bangkok climate intersession in September 2018 which can go into the political phase of the COP 24 for creation of rule book. They emphasised on negotiating text that must be balanced and should cover all the components and inter-linkages related to the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Talanoa Dialogue

For taking stock of the collective progress towards climate action to inform the next round of NDCs in 2020, the Paris Agreement established the facilitative dialogue, which was later referred to as Talanoa Dialogue at COP 23 in Bonn in November 2017. At the Bonn inter-session, which took place from April 30-May 10, the Dialogue was organised parallel to the negotiations and was hailed a success for being an inclusive conversation between parties, civil society, businesses, youth and indigenous groups on their experiences with climate impacts and their ongoing efforts to deal with them. The outcomes of the Dialogue would be captured in a synthesis report before the next COP in Poland in December 2018.

Against this context, the BASIC ministers highlighted the need for the synthesis report to be balanced and representative of the diverse views expressed during the Dialogue and include the need for augmenting pre-2020 efforts. They pledged to organise regional and domestic Talanoa Dialogues to step up climate ambition and other channels like St Petersberg Dialogue and Ministerial meetings.


Ministers expressed concern over inadequacy of financial sources and urged developed countries to honour their commitments to fulfill the mandate of Green Climate Fund (GCF) of 100 billion USD by 2020. They also stressed on the need for ex-ante communication of financial commitments by developed countries and robust guidelines to track finances provided by the developed countries as per their obligations. 

On technology transfer and capacity building, the ministers focused on periodical assessment of effectiveness and adequacy of the technology support under technology mechanism, and elaboration of technology framework, besides enhancement of the Paris Committee on capacity building.


The ministers noted that equity is fundamental to the UNFCCC and its processes—the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. It must be reflected in the implementation of Paris Agreement and its components, including Global Stocktake for collective progress on climate actions in 2023 and enhanced transparency framework on action and support.

India will host the next BASIC ministerial meeting in second-half of 2018.

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