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World Reforms Strategy


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There is no denying the fact that the North-South divisions were deeper in the case of biodiversity than in the case of climate change negotiation. In the case of biodiversity the developing countries had a to take the lead as they were rich in species. The developing countries view was therefore that the Northern concern about biodiversity did not justify any dictation to the South about how they should manage their own natural resources. In their view, action in this regard depended mainly on the supply of Northern expertise and funding. In the biodiversity negotiation, the developed countries were more united than they were in the case of the climate change negotiations. The developing countries were also united in the biodiversity negotiations. The North argued firmly for the GEF funded through voluntary contribution and the South insisted on a special biodiversity fund funded through compulsory contribution compromise was finally reached in Nairobi in May 1992. Soft words with limited force were used for conservation strategies. The issue of financing channels was settled in an even more indirect way. The GEF was mandated to operate in this area on interim basis. But the question of the organization of the GEF became one of the key battle grounds of a pre- Rio process

Before the conference, the fundamental difference between the North and South became more and more apparent particularly in the context of drafting the Earth Charter. The Northern states were looking for a set of principles which underlined the need for a modification in the economic policies of developing countries. They wanted to include environmental compulsion in Southern economic policies. On the other hand, the main principle for the South was to pursue economic development in their own way, according to their own judgment as to what was appropriate.

There were some differences among the developed countries regarding their proportion of overseas aid. For example the US, UK, Germany and Japan devoted low proportion (about 0.2-0.4%) of their GDP to overseas aid. On the other hand some Northern countries foe example France, the Netherlands and some Scandinavian countries, gave higher national priority to overseas aid(0.6-1% GDP). The developing countries were also not in a very unified position in the process of the conference. A central tension which dominated the negotiation of the document of Agenda 21(Agenda for twenty first century) was the sharing of the global responsibility for environmental action. The North wanted to avoid the historical blame for environmental pollution. It also wanted to avoid financial responsibility. On the other hand the South blamed the North's over consumption and lifestyles, as the major cause for environmental problems and therefore demanded financial support from the North once again. However, these problems were solved by using soft language, of course in the final text which had limited force.

In the case of Earth Charter the same concerns were expressed by both parties. The Northern countries were concerned about environment and Southern countries with their development objectives. Very skillful balance was maintained between them by incorporating language like the need for all states to pay attention to the environment and, on the other, the special needs of developing countries and responsibilities of developed countries with regard to global economic development. Aother area of disagreement between them was the deforestation and desertification issue on the one hand, the North was in favour of a deforestation convention and South was against. On the other hand, the South was in favour of desertification convention while North was against. As there was no solution in the discussion on these matters, both issues were then passed to UNCED.

Kh. Atiar Rahman is a distinguished author and a poet. He has many publication in national and international media.


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