COP17: India to champion equity and access to sustainable development in Durban
- 23 November 2011
In the lead-up to COP17 which takes place in Durban, South Africa, from November 28 to December 9, 2011, our international policy teams will be commenting on key regional positions. Here, Ashirbad Raha and Aditi Dass, Consultants at The Climate Group’s New Delhi office, discuss the main issues behind India’s position heading into COP17.
After showing commendable flexibility at the Cancun talks – due in large part to the leadership role played by its then climate minister Jairam Ramesh – India has stiffened its position ahead of the Durban talks. The new Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan has gone on record stating that greater commitment on emission reductions from developed countries are necessary before India would be willing even to begin discussions on a legally binding agreement for developing countries.
Also ruled out is the international verification of India’s voluntary climate action. India had earlier expressed a willingness to consider this under the proposed “international consultation and analysis” mechanism – a critical part of any final agreement.
Other negotiating priorities for India in Durban will be the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol, the principle of equity, and technology transfer.
India is now pushing for a “facilitative intellectual property right (IPR) regime”, linking equity with access to sustainable development. The Cancun Agreements were silent on the IPR issue and while “equity” is mentioned it is not defined. India’s objective is to rectify this lack of clarity. India has also called for a bar on imposing “unfair trade practices in the name of climate protection”. The EU’s decision to include international airlines in its carbon trading scheme is the principle target of this trade proposal.
The recent BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India, China) climate ministers meeting in Beijing gave support to India’s position. The joint statement from the group noted, "…the importance of the Indian proposal to include the issues of equity, trade and intellectual property... they agreed that discussions on these important issues, which are crucial to many developing countries, would contribute to a comprehensive and balanced outcome at Durban."
The BASIC countries have also sent out a clear message that agreeing on the second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol is "the central priority" for the forthcoming climate change meeting at Durban, South Africa.
Regardless of the outcome of the Durban summit, India is keen to move ahead with its low carbon development. The comprehensive National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), which has the goal of reducing the emission intensity of India’s GDP by 20-25% by 2020 compared to 2005, underlines this commitment.
Damian Ryan, Senior Policy Manager, The Climate Group, will also be writing news and analysis throughout COP17, and providing a more in-depth post-COP Briefing after the events. Keep up to date on our website and by following him on Twitter during COP17.