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UPDATED: November 29, 2011 Web Exclusive
Continuing Commitment
BASIC countries claim climate stances in Durban conference

"Definition of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol is the main priority for Durban," said Su Wei, head of the Climate Change Department of China's National Development and Reform Commission during a statement on behalf of Brazil, South Africa, India, and China (the BASIC countries) at the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, on November 28.

The Kyoto Protocol is the cornerstone of the climate regime and an essential foundation of an ambitious rules-based system, said Su.

The Kyoto Protocol was passed in December 1997 and came into effect in February 2005. It sets binding targets for developed countries for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Its first commitment period will expire at the end of 2012. Developing countries support the definition of a second commitment period, while a number of developed countries are against this. Prior to this conference, Japan, Russia and Canada said they would not sign the second commitment period.

"Sustainable development and poverty eradication remain urgent challenges and overriding priorities for our countries. Yet our countries have pledged ambitious actions to reduce emissions at substantial cost to their economies," said Su.

Therefore, the BASIC countries call upon the developed countries to rise up to their historical responsibilities and take the lead by undertaking ambitious and robust mitigation commitments consistent with science, said Su.

Su also addressed financing, another hot issue of the climate change negotiations, during the statement.

"We underscore that financing is one of the pressing priorities for Durban. We welcome the work of the transitional committee and envisage the consideration and approval of its draft report by the COP [Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change]," said Su.

However, the Durban conference should immediately take steps for operationalization of the Green Climate Fund. This should include its capitalization from public funding by developed countries with accountability to and under the guidance of the COP, said Su.

The BASIC countries regard adaptation as the most urgent task in developing countries, and they support the African Group's position on prioritizing this issue in Durban, said Su.

The bloc calls for immediate operationalization of the Adaptation Committee, which should contribute to adaptation policy development and implementation of adaptation actions in developing countries following the requests of developing countries and respecting a country-driven approach.

"We believe that the Durban conference should achieve a comprehensive, fair and balanced outcome to enable the full, effective and sustained implementation of the convention and its Kyoto Protocol, in accordance with the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, and fulfilling the mandate of the Bali Roadmap in the two-track process of negotiation," said Su.

China reaffirmed the continuance of full support to South Africa to make the Durban conference a success in an open, transparent, inclusive and party-driven process, said Su.

The Durban conference was the 17th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Having opened on November 28, the conference will last 12 days till December 9. Nearly 30,000 representatives from more than 190 countries attended the conference.

(Reporting from Durban, South Africa)

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