Common But Differentiated Responsibilities

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Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) was formalized in United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) of Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, 1992. The CBDR principle is mentioned in UNFCCC article 3 paragraph 1..,[1] and article 4 paragraph 1.[2] It was the first international legal instrument to address climate change and the most comprehensive international attempt to address negative impacts to global environment.[3] CBDR principle acknowledges all states have shared obligation to address environmental destruction but denies equal responsibility of all states with regard to environmental protection.

In the Earth Summit, states acknowledged disparity of economic development between developed and developing countries. Industrialization proceeded in developed countries much earlier than it did in developing countries. CBDR is based on relationship between industrialization and climate change.[4] The more industrialized a country is, more likely that it has contributed to climate change. States came to an agreement that developed countries contributed more to environmental degradation and should have greater responsibility than developing countries. CBDR principle could therefore be said to be based on polluter-pays principle where historical contribution to climate change and respective ability become measures of responsibility for environmental protection.[5]

Concept of CBDR evolved from notion of "common concern" in Convention for the Establishment of an Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission of 1949[6] and "common heritage of mankind" in United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1982.[7]

Objectives[edit]

In general, there are three objectives of contracting differential treatment; to bring substantive equality in a framework for justice, to foster cooperation among states, and to provide incentives for states to implement their obligations.[8]

In the Earth Summit, CBDR principle was established to apprise that the pollution is beyond boundaries and to achieve environmental protection through means of cooperation. UNFCCC 1992, Article 3 paragraph 1, "The Parties should protect the climate system for the benefit of present and future generations of humankind, on the basis of equity and in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. Accordingly, the developed country Parties should take the lead in combating climate change and the adverse effects thereof."[1]

Background: Differential Treatments[edit]

CBDR was not the first differential treatments of countries in international agreements. There were other protocols, agreements that employed principle of differential treatment.

Criticism[edit]

Todd Stern, U.S. Special Envoy on Climate Change said in commencement speech at Dartmouth's 2012 graduation ceremony that world now can no longer have two distinct categories of countries having different responsibility. Countries should instead follow differentiation of a continuum, where states are required to act vigorously according to their own circumstances, abilities and responsibilities. He emphasized in having common responsibility for all countries instead of a group of countries taking a dominantly more responsibility.

Stone argues meaning of a word 'differentiated' could be problematic as every agreement differentiates.[11] He also says CBDR is "neither universal or self-evident"[12]

Cullet points out that with CBDR, it may be difficult to determine the existence of specific customary norms[13]

Rajamani says developing countries would have an unfair economic advantage because they do not face same restrictions like developed counties. Climate Change Treaty would be ineffective without developing country participation. US has been suggesting key developing countries are not doing enough to satisfy 'common responsibility for the problem' but developing countries emissions from their is'survival emissions' and that of the developed countries are 'luxury emissions'[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change" (PDF). UNFCCC. 1992. p. 4. Retrieved 24 September 2016. The Parties should protect the climate system for the benefit of present and future generations of humankind, on the basis of equity and in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. Accordingly, the developed country Parties should take the lead in combating climate change and the adverse effects thereof 
  2. ^ "United Nations Framework Convention On Climate Change" (PDF). UNFCCC. 1992. p. 5. Retrieved 24 September 2016. All parties, taking into account their common but differentiated responsibilities and their specific national and regional development priorities, objectives and circumstances... 
  3. ^ Harris, Paul G. (1999). "Common But Differentiated Responsibility: The Kyoto Protocol and United States Policy". New York University Environmental Law Journal. 27. 
  4. ^ Cullet, Philippe (1999). "Differential Treatment in International Law: Towards a New Paradigm of Inter-state Relations". European Journal of International Law. 10, 3: 578. 
  5. ^ Rajamani, Lavanya. "The Principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibility and the Balance of Commitments under the Climate Regime". Review of European Community & International Environmental Law. 9, 2: 122. ISSN 0962-8797. 
  6. ^ "Convention for the Establishment of an Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission" (PDF). Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission. 31 May 1949. Retrieved 24 September 2016. ... by tuna fishing vessels in the eastern Pacific Ocean which by reason of continued use have come to be of common concern and desiring to co-operate in the gathering and interpretation of factual information to facilitate maintaining the populations of these fishes ... 
  7. ^ "United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea" (PDF). United Nations. 1982. Retrieved 24 September 2016. ... the General Assembly of the United Nations solemnly declared inter alia that the area of the seabed and ocean floor and the subsoil thereof, beyond the limits of national jurisdiction, as well as its resources, are the common heritage of mankind, the exploration and exploitation of which shall be carried out for the benefit of mankind as a whole, irrespective of the geographical location of States,  
  8. ^ Cullet, Philippe (1999). "Differential Treatment in International Law: Towards a New Paradigm of Inter-state Relations". European Journal of International Law. 10, 3: 552–553. 
  9. ^ "Differential and more favourable treatment reciprocity and fuller participation of developing countries". World Trade Organization. Retrieved 28 September 2016. 4. Any contracting party taking action to introduce an arrangement pursuant to paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 above or subsequently taking action to introduce modification or withdrawal of the differential and more favourable treatment so provided shall: 
  10. ^ "Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment". United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). 1972. Retrieved 23 September 2016. Without prejudice to such criteria as may be agreed upon by the international community, or to standards which will have to be determined nationally, it will be essential in all cases to consider the systems of values prevailing in each country, and the extent of the applicability of standards which are valid for the most advanced countries but which may be inappropriate and of unwarranted social cost for the developing countries. 
  11. ^ Stone, Christopher D. (2004). "Common But Differentiated Responsibilities In International Law". The American Journal of International Law. 98, 2 (2): 276. doi:10.2307/3176729. JSTOR 3176729. 
  12. ^ Stone, Christopher D. (2004). "Common But". The American Journal of International Law. 98, 2 (2): 281. doi:10.2307/3176729. JSTOR 3176729. 
  13. ^ Cullet, Philippe (1999). "Differential Treatment in International Law: Towards a New Paradigm of Inter-state Relations". European Journal of International Law. 10, 3: 579. 
  14. ^ Rajamani, Lavanya. "The Principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibility and the Balance of Commitments under the Climate Regime". Review of European Community & International Environmental Law. 9, 2: 128–129.