Developed vs Developing Countries on CBDR

Prof. Gurdial on CBDR

Prof. Gurdial on CBDR

Prof. Gurdial, Malaysian negotiator spoke on behalf of Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDCs), has grabbed attention and applause for defending the rights of developing countries (mainly CBDR-RC). In 1992, the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) establishes a principled basis for differential treatment of countries in the global climate regime with its core principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities” (CBDR-RC). The UNFCCC explicitly notes, immediately following its statement of the CBDR-RC principle, that “Accordingly, the developed country Parties should take the lead in combating climate change and the adverse effects thereof.”

LMDCs emphasized on the importance of having developed countries to fulfil their obligations, historical responsibilities, and accept countries’ differentiation and equity in global climate regime.

“On behalf of LMDC, we know you will not be persuaded by our speech. World changed, but historical emission does not change. Developed countries become prosperous because of historical carbon burning. The division of rich and poor has not change. Half of the world population are represented by LMDCs. Two-third of poverty is also our situation. We need convention that impose these realities. Acknowledge historical realities and differentiation” – Prof. Gurdial

The world has always been changing but developed countries have failed to fulfil the obligations imposed themselves especially in reference to Kyoto Protocol and contributions to Green Climate Fund that has been agreed to jointly mobilize USD 100 billion per year by 2020.  As of November 2015, the Green Climate Fund has only successfully raised USD 10.2 billion equivalent in pledges from 38 countries.

Part 2: Post-COP21 Reflection on CBDR-RC

After the two weeks of intense negotiations and strong advocacy from various party groups like LMDCs, Least Developed Countries (LDCs), G77 and China, African Groups, Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) and other vulnerable and developing countries; the adopted Paris Agreement has showed the inclusion of CBDR-RC in finance and capacity building.

For instance,

Article 9.1 states developed country Parties “shall” provide financial resources to assist developing country Parties with respect to both mitigation and adaptation in continuation of their existing obligations under the Convention.

Article 9.2 Other Parties are “encouraged” to provide or continue to provide such support “voluntarily.”

Article 13.9 Developed country Parties “shall”, and other Parties that provide support “should”, provide information on financial, technology transfer and capacity-building support provided to developing country Parties under Article 9, 10 and 11.

However when it comes to “mitigation”, CBDR-RC is not clearly defined.

Article 4.4 Developed country Parties “should” continue taking the lead by undertaking economy-wide absolute emission reduction targets. Developing country Parties should” continue enhancing their mitigation efforts, and are encouraged to move over time towards economy-wide emission reduction or limitation targets in the light of different national circumstances.

It seems like rich and developed countries are not obligated to be responsible for economy-wide absolute emission reduction targets and there are no mentions in the text on responsibility of “historical emissions” or to “Annex I and non-Annex countries” – which is quite a victory for them as they insist everyone should be responsible on combating climate change. However, these issues I believe will be resurface again probably when the agreement take its effect in 2020.

Nonetheless, there is victory for developing countries as well in successfully maintaining CBDR-RC in some areas of the agreement such as finance and capacity building but not mitigation.

Written by: Jolene Journe T.

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