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Saarc joins hands in climate fight


The Times of India, New Delhi, 5th December, 2014

Vishwa Mohan

LIMA: India and its seven neighbours on Wednesday moved to make Saarc a separate pressure group to represent them at the climate talks here.

Saarc countries are part of one or more negotiating groups under UNFCCC. This move will allow them join hands afresh when China is no longer the country which will forcefully represent common interests following its bilateral deal with US.

"Saarc, as a group to represent eight countries, will be formalized once ministers of these nations arrive for talks at the high-level segment of the negotiations next week," delegation member of one of the countries said.

The group's first informal meeting was held on Wednesday at the office of Indian delegates at the COP 20 venue (20th edition of the Conference of the Parties). Officials of all eight countries agreed to formalize it next week. The move will help the Saarc group put across its views collectively ahead of the final climate deal in Paris next December. These countries initially agreed to formalize Saarc as a climate talks group during the formation's November conference in Kathmandu.

Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif, who attended the Saarc meet, agreed to the Maldives proposal to make the group a separate entity to represent all eight South Asia nations at Lima.Although Saarc as a climate negotiations group existed and represented these countries at three Conferences of the Parties (COP 2010-12) it went into hibernation after India became more active in another group - BASIC - with Brazil, South Africa and China.