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Explained: Who are BASIC, the climate change alliance whose meeting India just attended?

The BASIC countries -- a grouping of Brazil, South Africa, India and China -- wields considerable heft purely because of the size of the economies and populations of the member countries.

, Edited by Explained Desk | New Delhi |
August 18, 2019 1:08:26 pm
BASIC climate change, BASIC countries, Climate change conference, Prakash Javadekar, CoP 25 Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar represented India (Source: Twitter/PIB)

The BASIC countries — a grouping of Brazil, South Africa, India and China — held their 28th Ministerial meeting on Climate Change between August 14 and August 16 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. India was represented by Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar, who underlined the importance of the grouping in “making the (2015) Paris (climate) Agreement accepted by all countries in its true letter and spirit”.

Who are the BASIC, and what is the significance of the grouping?

The BASIC group was formed as the result of an agreement signed by the four countries on November 28, 2009. The signatory nations, all recently industrialised, committed to acting together at the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference, commonly known as the Copenhagen Summit, scheduled in Copenhagen, Denmark from December 7-18 of that year. These nations have a broadly common position on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and raising the massive funds that are needed to fight climate change. The BASIC countries constituted one of the parties in the Copenhagen Accord reached with the US-led grouping; the Accord, was, however, not legally binding.

The BASIC group wields considerable heft purely because of the size of the economies and populations of the member countries. China, India, and Brazil are the world’s second, fifth, and ninth-largest economies. And as Javadekar said in Sao Paulo this week, “Brazil, South Africa, India and China put together has one-third of the world’s geographical area and nearly 40% of the world’s population, and when we unitedly speak in one voice this shows our determination.”

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At the Sao Paulo meeting, the Environment Ministers of the BASIC nations — Ricardo Salles of Brazil, Xie Zhenhua of China, Barbara Creecy of South Africa, and Javadekar — expressed their concern about climate change and its adverse effects, and reaffirmed their commitment to the successful implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), its Kyoto Protocol and its Paris Agreement, based on the recognition of the needs and special circumstances of developing countries and in accordance with the principles of Equity and Common But Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR-RC), in the light of different national circumstances.

The Ministers stated the importance of responsible, comprehensive, urgent and ambitious actions against climate change, including in the urban environment. The BASIC nations will work together ahead of the United Nations Session on Climate Change and the next Conference of Parties (CoP25) in Chile. China will host the next meeting of the BASIC Ministers.

BASIC is one of several groups of nations working together to fight climate change and carry out negotiations within the UNFCCC. Other than BASIC, there are the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the group of countries of Central Asia, Caucasus, Albania and Moldova (CACAM), the Cartagena Dialogue, the Independent Alliance of Latin America and the Caribbean (AILAC), and the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America (ALBA in Spanish), etc.

There are also the Group of 77 developing countries, the African Group, the Arab States, the Environmental Integrity Group, the Least Developed Countries the Small Island Developing States, etc.

CoP25 is scheduled from December 2-13 in the Chilean capital of Santiago.

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