The two-day meeting of Like Minded Developing Countries (LMDC) concluded in New Delhi on Tuesday with Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar stating India would continue to be an intergral part of the developing country group at the climate change talks.

Prakash Javadekar ©
Prakash Javadekar ©

Javadekar’s statement laid to rest the doubts in the wake of chief economic advisor Arvind Subramanian’s advice last month that India should distance itself from the group, which also has China as a member.

Negotiators from 13 countries including China, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Argentina spent a day and a half behind closed doors drawing up strategic common positions to take at the remaining negotiating rounds for the Paris agreement.

At the end of the talks, Javadekar said in his closing statement, “There is no other way but that the core agreement should reflect all the elements of the UN (United Nations) Framework Convention on Climate Change – mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology and capacity building. Differentiation must be reflected in all these pillars. We have to have a balanced core agreement.”

He also said the Paris agreement should reiterate all the principles of the convention including equity and common but differentiated responsibility. Without the developed world delivering on its commitments on finance, the Paris agreement could fall, which even the French President had warned, he noted.

The minister said developed countries were indulging in double-speak on the critical issue of ‘loss and damage’. He was referring to the fact that the developed world has so far blocked any attempts to let ‘loss and damage’ form part of the core of the Paris agreement while it keeps referring to calamities across the world arising out of climate change. “When it comes to giving compensation, they say these are natural phenomena,” Javadekar said.

In its joint statement, the LMDC group noted how negotiations at the last round of UN talks had not been conducted on the text for the Paris agreement. They demanded that the co-chairs of the negotiations should prepare the new negotiating documents, which must be “comprehensive, balanced and capturing the positions of Parties reflected during the negotiations without prejudging or interpreting the emergence of convergences. The documents should include clear options reflecting different views from Parties on all key issues”.

This came against the fear in many developing countries that most of their issues have been dropped down the priority list at the talks while the developed country interests have been protected so far.

Ayman Shasly, leading the delegation from Saudi Arabia, said LMDC continued to be a positive and robust force leading from the front at the UN climate talks and its unity and providing inputs that took the talks forward. Javadekar, too, noted that the research-based work the group had been able to do in providing options at the climate talks helped push for a successful Paris agreement based on the principle of equity.

The closed-door meeting of the LMDC group focused on issues it needed to bring back into focus at the climate talks and how it could provide positive inputs that could break logjams. After the meeting, the LMDC negotiators also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his residence.