Cracks are appearing in the Basic group of countries — Brazil, South Africa, India and China — over leading the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the body that draws climate policy.
Both India and South Africa are in race to head the UN body.
Environment and Forest Minister Jairam Ramesh had written to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon nominating environment secretary Vijai Sharma to the post. The minister claimed the support of China, Russia and Brazil.
But last week, South Africa said it was fielding former environment minister Marthinus Van Schalkwyk as it nominee for the post of UNFCCC executive secretary.
Incumbent Yvo de Boer resigned last month and his replacement has to be chosen by July. The executive secretary is expected to conduct climate negotiations, and 2010 is crucial as a treaty is expected at the climate summit in Mexico in December.
“The selection process is on,” a UN spokesperson said.
The appointment is made by the secretary general in consultations with the countries member to the convention.
India had expected that all Basic countries would support its candidate. But, South Africa has different plans. “South Africa believes that its candidate can be appointed because of strong presence of the African block in the UN climate negotiations,” said an official with the knowledge of the selection process.
India is seen to be very close to the US and other rich countries in climate negotiations.
In a related development, the Basic group has invited Indonesia as a special guest for its summit in South Africa in April. Mexico and South Korea have expressed interest in being part of the group for Mexico summit, but the proposal has not been accepted so far.