BASIC nations — India, Brazil, South Afrcia and China — on Sunday said they would stick to the January 31 deadline and communicate information on voluntary mitigation actions to the U.N. climate change panel.

The announcement was made after a seven-hour meeting of the Environment ministers from the four countries, popular as the BASIC bloc, here this evening.

“The Ministers expressed their intention to communicate information on their voluntary mitigation actions to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change by January 31, 2010,” a joint statement issued after the meeting said.

The ministers also asserted that the Copenhagen Accord will not become a legal document and its conclusions would be incorporated in the two-track negotiation process on climate talks.

The four ministers stressed on the importance of working closely with the Group of 77 countries to ensure an ambitious and equitable outcome in the next meet on climate change in Mexico through a transparent process.

The BASIC nations demanded the Denmark, the President of the Conference of Parties (CoP), convene immediately the meetings of the two negotiation groups in March and ensure that they meet on at least five more occasions.

These meetings are essential to make progress towards and agreed outcome at the 16th meeting of the CoP in Mexico in December.

Asked whether the Copenhagen Accord would become a legally binding treaty at a later date, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said “it has no hope of doing so“.

“We support the Copenhagen Accord. But all of us were unanimously of the view that its value lies not as a standalone document but as an input into the two-track negotiation process under UNFCCC,” he said.

“It is not a legal document. It is a political agreement, a political statement. In conclusion, the understanding reached at Copenhagen was that the accord will facilitate two track negotiating process which is the only legitimate process to reach to a legally binding treaty in Mexico,” he said.

Mr. Ramesh said the rich nations should demonstrate their seriousness on the climate issue by giving 10 billion dollars to the Least Developed Countries (LDC) and small island states as promised at Copenhagen.

Asked about reports that the UN had decided to extend the deadline to declare voluntary mitigation actions, South African Minister for Water and Environmental Affairs Buyelwa Sonjica said the BASIC countries would stick to the January 31 deadline.

“We feel obligated that we must commit what we ourselves were part of. That’s a leadership obligation, even if the UN has decided to extend the deadline,” she said.

The BASIC countries said they would meet every quarter to consolidate the group and explore avenues for cooperation in climate science, forestry and other related matters.

The next meeting of the BASIC groups would be held in April in Cape Town.

To a question whether the BASIC bloc would fund any mitigation actions, Brazilian Environment Minister Carlos Minc said individually each of the four countries was involved in supporting LDCs in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Mr. Ramesh said each of the BASIC nations has been supporting adaptation projects through individual assistance programmes.

He said the four leaders discussed supporting such programmes collectively but no conclusion could be reached on the issue. “The next meeting would bring more clarity on this,” he said.

Ms. Sonjica asked the US to take a leadership role in the climate change talks and actions. “The US was lagging behind in Copenhagen. They have a moral obligation to take a lead and ensure that we deliver in Mexico,” she said.