The group of four emerging economies – Brazil, South Africa, India and China – that played a major role in arriving at the Copenhagen Accord – will meet here on January 24 to discuss issues before endorsing the agreement on climate change arrived at in the Danish Capital last month.

The ministerial level meeting is likely to draft a collective response to a communication from the United Nations Secretary-General asking these countries to work quickly and diligently to get all other Parties of the conference to sign the Accord by January 31.

Things have picked up pace following a clarification from the U.N. office that the Accord was a political document and could not be considered a legally binding document though those who agree to it would be bound by the commitments they have announced nationally or at the just concluded climate change meet.

While Denmark apparently wanted all Parties to inform the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat of their willingness to associate with the Accord, there were some reservations from the Indian side as it was felt that the communication implied Copenhagen Accord was legally binding or that it was the basis of negotiating a new legally binding agreement which was contrary to what was agreed to between the U.S. and BASIC countries.

Seeks clarification

When contacted on whether the treaty was legally binding, Minister of State (Independent charge) for Environment and Forests, Jairam Ramesh, told The Hindu that India had sought some clarification which had come in writing saying that the Accord was merely a political document and not a legally binding document.

The Copenhagen Accord is being touted as an essential first step in a process leading to a robust international climate change treaty by the UNFCCC.

China and South Africa have already confirmed their participation for the January 24 meeting while Brazil has also assured of its presence. The meeting will also take stock of the Copenhagen Accord and devise a strategy for the Bonn Ministerial meeting in May.

Meanwhile, the U.N. Secretary-General was also considering setting up a panel to work on how the start-up financing would be organised so as to ensure the developed countries actually start putting up the $ 30 billion they have promised.