On the principles of the Convention

On the principles of the Convention: The essential disagreement is over what principles will apply in the 2015 deal. Does that mean the existing arrangement of Annexes remains? Will developed countries adhere to the principle of historic responsibility? What does equity mean? The following party positions bring out the differences in the open:

Published: Saturday 04 May 2013

We are no longer in a world where some countries take action. Obligations need to be applicable to all. But applicable to all does not mean one size fits all or two size fits all approaches. Contributions must be nationally defined. Also, we don’t see differentiation as per the Annexes in the Convention. Each party should be able to see their own contribution as fair. Contributions reflected in our agreement should not be conditioned on finance. It will not work for mitigation since everyone has to contribute.

If we get differentiation wrong, we will get less participation and an unfair agreement. The world has changed. 700 million people have been lifted out of poverty and this must reflect in the modern day agreement

Australia (Umbrella group)
We must have an agreement applicable to all parties. Countries with greatest capacity should lead the way to climate action and finance on the basis of CBDR and RC; All countries must contribute as their capacity grows.

Switzerland ( Environmental Integrity Group or EIG)
By 2015, we must adopt a legally binding agreement under the principles of CBDR and RC and equity. However, a fair understanding of equity is needed. 2015 deal must be win-win for all, or else it will not succeed.


Using the expression equity is tricky because we mean different things when we say equity. Use of the word fairness, though, is more appropriate. We propose a stepwise approach, wherein in the first step we define a menu of possible commitments with associated MRV (monitoring, review and verification) without prejudging what parties would do; the second step would define what steps parties would take and the third step would be to discuss the collective effort. The third step could involve indicators and would reconcile the top-down and bottom-up approach and ensure what is fair and ambitious.

New Zealand
We need participation first and foremost. With a top down approach, it will be difficult to get participation and with bottom up, it will be difficult to get ambition. Where is the sweet spot? Should we have a top down approach for developed countries and bottom up approach for developing countries?

To incentivise national action in the design, recognition of national circumstances is important and flexibility based on this. This will broaden participation. Actions should be determined nationally.

Fiji (G77 and China)
Work under Ad hoc working group on Durban Platform (ADP) is under the Convention and its principles and this applies to adaptation, mitigation as well as means of implementation. The new deal must not lead to reinterpretation of the Convention.

Swaziland (African group)
Africa group associates itself with Fiji. All principles of the Convention must apply without any renegotiation of Convention or its Annexes. The deal should enforce multilateral rule based regime that brings equitable access to sustainable development. Mitigation is important, but it should not divert us from setting an adaptation goal.

Nauru (Alliance of Small Island States or AOSIS)
We associate with Fiji and Swaziland. The time to act is rapidly slipping away. Failure means death for us.

Nepal (Least Developed Countries or LDCs)
We associate with Fiji, Swaziland and Nauru. We need to define the structure and scope of the new deal based on CBDR, equity and historical responsibility. We need to minimize impact and loss and damage. Adaptation is a very important issue. In the long run, mitigation is the best adaptation.

Chile (Latin American countries)

We align with Fiji. The principles of the Convention are for action, not inaction. While responsibilities should be common, each state party must make fair commitments

Nicaragua (LMDC)
Developed countries must take the lead. The new deal must focus on adaptation, mitigation, finance, technology transfer, resilience, loss and damage and compliance issues.

Egypt (Arab group) 22 members
We associate with Fiji. Any outcome should not be mitigation centric and must contain all aspects emphasized since 2005. We will assume our fair share of responsibility.

India (BASIC group)
We associate with Fiji. ADP must take the Bali roadmap ahead and not renegotiate, rewrite or reinterpret the Convention, in particular the principles of Equity and CBDR and RC.


Negotiation will be under the Convention. Why are we talking about Annexes?

It is clear from the mandate that ADP will be under the Convention and that the mandate is not to renegotiate. The scope, structure and design of the 2015 deal must take into account application of principles of equity and CBDR; let the Kyoto Protocol serve as an example. In trying to design an outcome, we don’t need to make simpler things more complicated; we should just follow what is there and focus on specific actions that would be enhanced from 2020;

Work of ADP should be under the Convention. Any deviation from the Convention will be counter-productive. Decisions for the past 20 years actually implement and operationalise the principles. What has changed is climate change is upon us and what we have not done is we haven’t fulfilled our responsibilities.

We should remember KP (Kyoto Protocol) was designed by all of us. It had shortcomings, problems, but it is still important to look back. It failed maybe because it did not have full participation. The new instrument must have full participation. Compliance of KP was also not correct. There were no sanctions. The new deal should take care of this lapse

We need a global martial plan. No other country will participate unless major emitters participate. For developing countries to participate, the deal must based on equity.

Equity is central. We cannot be treated equal in terms of responsibility.

Costa Rica
For Costa Rica, history matters. We must accept responsibility for the past and cannot have same responsibility for the US and Bolivia. Having said that, we could explore options for a broader differentiation among developing countries.

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