COP21: A nail in the coffin for justice for Least Developed Countries, says LDC Watch

“The final Paris Agreement is a nail in the coffin for justice for LDCs”, said Azeb Girmai, climate lead for LDC Watch, the platform of civil society organizations in the least Developed Countries (LDCs).

“We have gradually seen the text change from the long-standing ‘polluter pays principle’, where developed countries are obliged to finance adaptation and mitigation to help developing countries deal with climate chaos to one where the wealthiest countries simply refused to commit any climate finance. In the final agreement, “new and additional” climate finance committed in the 1992 Convention has now been dropped out”.

These negotiations have operated on the principle that “might is right”, said Prerna Bomzan, LDC Watch policy advocate. “In the last few days, we have seen how the United States and the EU have been pressuring especially the small island states to drop “compensation or liability” in Loss and Damage. In the final text Article 8 of the Agreement referring to Loss and Damage does not involve or provide a basis for any liability or compensation thus making it toothless”.

The much-trumpeted ‘coalition of ambition’ led by the US which has agreed to keep temperature rise to well below 2 degrees and “pursue efforts” to 1.5 degrees is a meaningless media gimmick, as their emission cuts targets which are only voluntary submissions point to a 3 degrees pathway.

Since the opening of negotiations, there has been a radical change throughout the document, where the text has changed towards shifting the burden to developing countries in terms of emission cuts and finance. The developed countries from the outset were determined to rewrite the rules of the Convention, which has steered action against climate change since 1992.

In addition, LDC Watch notes that “The key principles of historical responsibility, equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities have now been weakened with reference to ‘reflect’ instead of ‘in accordance to’ the Convention”.

So we see a future in which, if there is no meaningful change by developed countries, the LDCs will be submerged, flooded, and made into arid deserts, with no money to prevent or compensate for this. LDCs being least responsible for the climate mess are thus unjustifiably bearing the brunt of being most impacted.

However, while this is a very sad day for LDCs, we are determined to continue working for climate justice. While we may have lost this battle, we have not lost the war, LDC Watch concluded.

Azeb Girmai, Climate lead, LDC Watch:

Prerna Bomzan, Policy Advocate, LDC

Daphne Davies, LDC News Service, at:

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