The Environment Ministers of BASIC countries — Brazil, South Africa, India and China — will frame a common position ahead of the crucial Durban climate conference due next month on several issues including the second commitment period of Kyoto protocol.

Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan will visit Beijing on Monday to attend the ninth meeting of BASIC countries. It is mainly for preparing the negotiations for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference. The climate conference in Durban will be held from November 28 to December 9, officials of the Environment Ministry told PTI.

A senior official said: “Because in Durban, we have to take a decision on many things. The BASIC countries have to discuss what should be their strategy and approach to the issues. The second commitment period of Kyoto protocol will be on the agenda. That is one of the important issues.”

The Kyoto protocol favours legally binding agreements, which call for mandatory emission cuts by the rich countries and voluntary cuts by the developing nations. India is opposed to any legally binding cuts for the developing countries.

On whether China is in agreement with the recent statement issued by Heads of the IBSA, the official said, “China is broadly in agreement with that [IBSA] approach.” Though maintaining that the two approaches are “slightly different on some issues,” the official stressed that “India believes that China generally agrees.”