Common but differentiated responsibilities: the North-South divide in climate change negotiations

Penetrante, Ariel
External Publications (2013)

in: Gunnar Sjöstedt / Ariel Penetrante (eds.), Climate change negotiations: a guide to resolving disputes and facilitating multilateral cooperation, London: Routledge, 249-276

ISBN: 978-1-138-92671-4

The climate change negotiations seem to have resuscitated the North–South divide in the international system, something which had come to be seen as outdated. In 1980 the Brandt Report—Common Crisis North–South stressed the growing “Third World” problem and the increasing divergence between the North and the South. This paved the way for more studies on the North–South divide. The North–South divide is the socioeconomic and political division between developed (“North”) and developing (“South”) countries. This paper highlights the problems brought about by the social evolutionary feature of this model which assumes that the North “invented” development and that the “South” should follow the same path. In other words, the experiences of the North are supposed to serve as a yardstick for formulating development policies, which implies the need to assert “development principles” determined by the North. This paper argues that development can be removed from its "Western-centric" orientation and instead conceptualized contextually, with socio-cultural and local specificities being properly considered.

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