Midway assessment: A Dynamic Interpretation of the Principle of Equity in the New Climate Change Regime

PhD candidate Rosa Manzo at the Department of Public and International Law is presenting her doctoral Project "A Dynamic Interpretation of the Principle of Equity in the New Climate Change Regime" Friday 16 September.

PhD candidate Rosa Manzo. Photo: UiO.

  • Assessor: Professor Peter Lawrence, University of Tasmania
  • Leader of the assessment: Professor and Head of Department Ulf Stridbeck, University of Oslo
  • Supervisor: Professor Christina Voigt, University of Oslo

The principle of Equity

This research project investigates the role played by the equity principle in shaping the climate change regime. It follows equity from its first formulation in the United Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to its most recent adoption in the Paris Agreement.

The principle of equity has been a core principle in shaping the climate change regime since its inception in UNFCCC. Up to the Paris Agreement, it has been interpreted through the principle of common and differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR/RC) encompassed in art. 3 of the UN convention. This understanding has brought the traditional distinction between the commitments made by developed and developing countries. The difference being that developed nations commit to mitigation obligations, while developing countries are in charge of adopting green policies with the financial support of developed countries.  Through recent years some developing nations have contributed significantly to global CO2 emissions. As a result there was a call for a new and more equitable climate change regime. A new understanding of the principle of equity emerged during the negotiations. This research argues that the Paris Agreement encompasses a dynamic interpretation of the principle of equity which moves beyond the current treatment of the CBDR/RC principle and contributes to design an ambitious and inclusive climate regime.

Preliminary findings:

  • The first part of the project is built on the theory of law and the role of equity in public international law with particular regard to its debated role as source of law. This part concludes that equity as a principle of international law is far from being an abstract concept. It can be found encompassed in a number of related concepts, including bona fides, reciprocal trust, proportionality, all terms already in use by international courts.
  • The second part builds on these findings. It attempts to illustrate how the principle has gained a fundamental role in international environmental law and climate change law in particular. This part focuses specifically on how the principle has been involved in the designing of the climate regime from 1992 to its recent developments.

For outline and draft text, please contact Rosa Manzo.

Published Aug. 26, 2016 9:52 AM - Last modified Apr. 3, 2017 1:43 PM