The End of Differential Treatment for Developing Countries? Lessons from the Trade and Climate Change Regimes

Review of European Community & International Environmental Law (RECIEL), Vol. 22, No. 1, 2013

21 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2012 Last revised: 14 Feb 2013

See all articles by Joost Pauwelyn

Joost Pauwelyn

Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID); Georgetown University Law Centre

Date Written: November 9, 2012

Abstract

Dividing the world in two groups of countries – developed and developing – remains deeply engrained. This bifurcation is increasingly problematic. It has led to deadlock in negotiations and equity concerns. This article traces parallel developments of differential treatment in the trade and environmental regimes. It demonstrates that in both regimes a radical shift is in the making, away from differential treatment for developing countries as a group, and toward individualized differentiation between countries based on objective, issue-specific criteria. The question is less whether China or Russia are developing countries. The challenge is to find criteria to differentiate between countries – both developed and developing – tailored to each negotiation or regime. Half a century after the start of decolonization, this may be the end of differential treatment for developing countries. Yet, ironically, it leads to more (not less) differentiation and though not without risks can make regimes more effective and equitable.

Keywords: development, trade, WTO, climate change, UNFCCC, World Bank, developing countries, foreign aid, common but differentiated responsibilities, generalized system of preferences, BRICS, China

JEL Classification: A10, B40, F02, F13, F35, O19, P00

Suggested Citation

Pauwelyn, Joost, The End of Differential Treatment for Developing Countries? Lessons from the Trade and Climate Change Regimes (November 9, 2012). Review of European Community & International Environmental Law (RECIEL), Vol. 22, No. 1, 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2173497

Joost Pauwelyn (Contact Author)

Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) ( email )

PO Box 136
Geneva, Geneva CH-1211
Switzerland

HOME PAGE: http://graduateinstitute.ch

Georgetown University Law Centre ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States

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