Since the 1960s, the countries of the developing world have approached international negotiations together as the Group of 77, or G77. The G77 has steadily demanded greater participation in international politics. Member-states also argued that negotiations should lead to international agreements that enhanced their development possibilities. After 2000, several countries in the G77 grew economically and politically to take on larger roles. The BASIC countries – Brazil, China, India, and South Africa – emerged as a coalition in 2009 that has teamed up to address climate change negotiations together. At the same time, they maintained their ties with the G77 and continued to negotiate within it. This article asks how the rise of the BASIC coalition affects the status of the G77 and its members’ ability to achieve their central goals in the negotiations: a seat at the table and resources to support their sustainable development aspirations.
India has always backed the demand of G77 countries that the developed world start helping poorer nations cope with the “loss and damage” from extreme climate events like Typhoon Haiyan that ravaged the Philippines but stopped short of a hardline stand.
The G77 — which has expanded to 133 nations since the group was formed nearly half a century ago.
The Warsaw talks are tried to lay the foundations for a global accord meant to be agreed in 2015 and enter into force from 2020. The rich fear it would be costly and make them legally liable for droughts, heat waves and storms. For poorer countries, the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan earlier this month has raised the urgency of compensation.
India is a member of the G77. But it holds an independent position since 2009 when, along with emerging economies like Brazil, South Africa and China, it formed the BASIC group that worked with developed countries to reach the unofficial Copenhagen Accord, a set of decisions that included creation of a Green Climate Fund (GCF).
The G77 and China want a separate mechanism for compensating loss and damage under the UNFCCC as tagging it with the GCF, they say, would increase competitiveness. The GCF funding from 2020 will have an annual ceiling of $100 billion.
Most observers have seen a relationship of mutual benefit or at least mutual dependency between the members of the G77 and BASIC. In general, the G77 is seen to benefit from the greater visibility and negotiating weight of its larger and wealthier members, while the BASIC countries avoid isolation and gain legitimacy for their demands when they are couched within the G77’s agenda. On the other hand, this article shows that many members of the G77 appear to have some concrete disadvantages from asserting similarity with the BASIC countries.
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