BASIC Countries [UPSC Notes]

In the UNFCCC COP26 held in Glasgow, India delivered a statement on behalf of the BASIC countries in which it was said that the developed countries had failed to deliver on the promise of providing USD 100 billion every year to the developing nations ​​since 2009 as support for climate action. 

What is the BASIC grouping? What is its significance? Know more about this grouping and also about the Copenhagen Accord in this article. This is an important article for the UPSC environment and ecology section.

BASIC Countries

BASIC is a grouping of four newly industrialized countries namely, Brazil, South Africa, India and China.

  • The grouping was formed by an agreement in November 2009.
  • The four countries decided to act together at the Copenhagen Summit.
    • The Copenhagen Summit was the 15th meeting of parties of the UNFCCC, hence, also called the COP15 Summit.
    • It was held in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2009.
  • The BASIC group brokered the final Copenhagen Accord (discussed below) with the US.
  • These emerging nations have a broadly common stance on decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and raising the extensive funds that are required to combat climate change. 
  • The BASIC countries grouping wields a lot of heft in international forums because of the sizes of the members and also due to the fact that all of them are emerging economic powerhouses.
  • Put together, the four nations possess one-third of the world’s geographical area and almost 40% of the world’s population.
  • Speaking unitedly with one voice in UNFCCC COPs would showcase the strength and determination of these countries.
  • It is important to show a united front especially since developed countries often drag their feet over their own climate action commitments and goals while insisting that emerging economies also play their part.
  • While it is true that developing countries also must play their part in tackling climate change, especially since China and India are in the top five among the largest emitters of greenhouse gases, the concept of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR-RC) should be taken into account.
  • India endorses this principle of CBDR according to which developed nations must pay the price for the historic emissions which they caused, and which is responsible for most of the temperature rise.

Copenhagen Accord

The Copenhagen Accord was struck in the COP15 of the UNFCCC at Copenhagen in 2009. 

  • The accord provided for explicit emission pledges by all major economies – including, for the first time, China and other major developing countries. 
  • However, it is not a legally binding agreement. 
  • The negotiations for the Accord started with the 2007 Bali Action Plan and took two years to culminate in the historic Accord. 
  • The Accord was drafted by the US and the BASIC countries.
  • It endorsed the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol
  • As per the Accord, India pledged to reduce carbon intensity by 20-25% compared to 2005 levels by 2020.
  • But all the promises made under the Accord are voluntary and not legally binding.

Note:

BASIC is one of the several groupings fighting for climate justice at the UNFCCC. Some of the others are the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the Cartagena Dialogue, the group of countries of Central Asia, Caucasus, Albania and Moldova (CACAM), the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), the Independent Alliance of Latin America and the Caribbean (AILAC), the G77 and so on.

BASIC Countries in COP26

The Environment Minister for India delivered a statement at the UNFCCC’s COP26 where he declared that “developed nations have not only failed to meet the $100 billion goal per year of support to developing nations since 2009, but also continue to present it as a ceiling of their ambition all the way to 2025”. He also opined that the views of the BASIC grouping is aligned with that of the G77.

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