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  • Top emerging nations pledge climate aid for poor states


[NEW DELHI] Four rapidly developing countries — Brazil, South Africa, India and China (known as BASIC) — have vowed to boost climate science cooperation among themselves and other developing countries.

The countries' environmental ministers, who met in Delhi yesterday (24 January), said their countries will develop a framework for permanent scientific cooperation on climate change and extend technological support to other developing nations, especially least developed countries (LDCs), in areas such as forestry and adaptation.

This resolve to help the countries most vulnerable to climate change is a "slap in the face of rich countries that are in a better position to do so", said Carlos Minc, Brazil's environment minister.

He made the agreement with China's Xie Zhenhua, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission; Buyelwa Sonjica, South Africa's minister of water and environmental affairs; and the Indian environment and forests minister, Jairam Ramesh.

The BASIC group is yet to decide how much it will give LDCs, though Minc estimated the total would exceed the US$10 billion pledged by rich countries. The nations are exploring ways to extend technical support in their own scientific strengths. For example, Brazil's national space agency could offer free satellite services for monitoring forests and desertification in Africa, said Minc.

Brazil also plans to support other Latin American countries, initially with US$200 million — 20 per cent of the Amazon Fund, an international fund set up by the country in August 2008 to protect the Amazon forests. The fund aims to raise US$21 billion over 13 years to finance conservation and sustainable development.

India could share with its South Asian neighbours data from two planned satellites — one to monitor greenhouse gases in the regional atmosphere, scheduled to be launched in 2012, and another to monitor forest cover, Jairam Ramesh, India's environment minister told SciDev.Net.

In turn, the ministers said, developed countries could set an example by ensuring that LDCs, small island developing states and African countries rapidly receive the US$10 billion pledged at the Copenhagen climate summit last December.

The four countries will submit their voluntary mitigation actions before the UN by 31 January, a deadline set at the Copenhagen meeting.

They also repeatedly asserted that the BASIC group is not a parallel forum to G77 — the largest group of developing countries — but a part of it.

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