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Day 89 – Q 4.Expand upon the concept of ‘common but differentiated responsibility’. What has been the stance of major developed countries on this principle?

4. Expand upon the concept of ‘common but differentiated responsibility’. What has been the stance of major developed countries on this principle? 

 ‘सामान्य लेकिन विभेदित जिम्मेदारीकी अवधारणा पर विस्तार करें। इस सिद्धांत पर प्रमुख विकसित देशों का रुख क्या रहा है


Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities is a principle within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It acknowledges the different capabilities and differing responsibilities of individual countries in addressing climate change.

Reflecting CBDR-RC, the Convention divided countries into “Annex I” and “non-Annex I,” the former generally referring to developed countries and the latter to developing countries. Under the Convention Annex I countries have a greater mitigation role than non Annex-I countries.

CBDR-RC and the annex classifications were codified in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, and Annex I country emissions reductions were legally bound. 


Stance of major developed countries on this principle 

Developed countries are not in full agreement with the broader interpretation of CBDR that allows for its application to general sustainable development.

  • The United States accepts the special leadership role of the developed countries based on their industrial development, wealth and technical expertise capabilities. 
  • Developed countries have the stand that they do not accept international obligations or liabilities, or any diminution in the responsibilities of developing countries.
  • Unites States of America has effectively fundamentally rejected the principle. U.S has also pulled out of Paris agreement. 
  • Most developed countries do not reject the basic premise of differentiated responsibilities. The issue is not the differentiation between countries per se, but rather the reliance on only two (indeed anachronistic) categories: industrialised and developing countries.
  • Developed countries are calling for all countries to be differentiated according to their economic capacity. 
  • Developed counties are calling for a new mode of applying the ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’ principle to make it acceptable to all state parties to the climate international legal instruments.


The CBDR still remains the most potent principle to bring all states to the round table for fair negotiations on climate change. Sacrifices must be made to mitigate climate change by the big polluters, especially the US. 

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