International

G77, China mount sharp attack on rich nations

Accuse them of trying to amend the UNFCCC by tying finance to conditionalities in the draft agreement of Paris summit.

The developing country bloc of G77 and China on Thursday launched a sharp attack on some developed countries at the climate talks here for trying to amend the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) by tying finance to conditionalities in the draft agreement.

In contrast to India, which has been maintaining a low key position, the G77+China group (India is a part of it) said the developed countries that had jumped out of the Kyoto Protocol, or failed to ratify it, were introducing conditions for financing which were not part of the Framework Convention.

A group of developed country parties were trying to introduce a condition that the finance mechanism for developing countries under the Paris agreement would depend on domestic mobilisation of resources, Ambassador Nozipho Joyce Mxakato-Diseko, chairperson for the bloc, said at a press conference at CoP21. The G77+China views this as a deviation from what was agreed at the Climate Change conference held in Durban in 2011. The mandate at that event was for full implementation of the UNFCCC, and come up with an agreement to deal with climate change beyond 2020. “There is no purpose trying to renegotiate the convention,” Ms. Mxakato-Diseko said.

Two points of divergence

Two sharp issues raised by the group are on the inclusion of loosely defined text and conditionalities to financing. The draft, for instance, says that developed countries “in a position to do so” will provide finances to help developing countries adapt. This is vague in legal terms, and difficult to enshrine in an agreement.

Also, issues such as an ‘enabling domestic environment’ and the ability to raise resources domestically were sought to be linked to financing. Throwing in such text into a process that has already been categorically decided by the Convention was an obvious attempt to waste time at negotiations. “Finance is make or break. We want a commitment on finance, and the certainty that we will measure and verify that financial and technical transfer are coming forth,” the spokesperson said, describing the arrangement as a “two way street.”

The G77 group is also unhappy with the foregrounding of decarbonisation in the draft text. It says nowhere is the term mentioned in the UN Framework Convention, and slipping this into the Paris agreement would be dangerous as it could be used as a non-tariff barrier or to impose sanctions.

The Convention is explicit and the principle of ‘Common But Differentiated Responsibilities’ is embedded. “When a developed country wants to self differentiate for itself, without verification whether it will implement [the agreement] the perversity becomes apparent,” Ms. Mxakato-Diseko said, declining to identify the nations in question. She was asked whether she was referring to the United States or the United Kingdom. Although the developed countries named some developing nations as obstructing talks, “we don't name and shame,” she responded. India on Thursday adopted a moderate position, reiterating its commitment to scale up renewable energy, for which it was seeking international support, and declining to identify a likely date when its carbon emissions would peak.

Rushing to meet deadline

Ajay Mathur, the official spokesman, said the negotiators were working on unresolved issues to meet the deadline to hand over the negotiated text to the French presidency of CoP21 by Friday evening.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 1:07:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/g77-china-mount-sharp-attack-on-rich-nations/article7945990.ece

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