CAN View: Core Convention Based Equity Indicators, September 2013


Some people still believe that allowing equity a prominent place in the UNFCCC negotiations only increases the chances of deadlock.  Our view, in contrast, is that a breakthrough on equity is essential to a breakthrough in the negotiations.  Extremely ambitious action will only occur within a regime that meets the legitimate development needs of the world’s poor.  Equity, and a process for equity, must be forged into instruments of cooperation and breakthrough.

This brings us, immediately, to the Convention’s core equity principles, and to the need for equity indicators that properly express those principles.  Clarifying these equity indicators is now a top priority.  Doing so wouldn’t be enough to bring real life into the negotiations – only action is action, and only finance is finance – but for all that, a greater agreement on equity would be a game changer.  Agreement on convention-based equity indicators, in particular, would enable real comparability of effort, and thus a regime in which free riders everywhere can be clearly identified. 

The ultimate need, here, is the formal agreement of an Equity Reference Framework under UNFCCC.  The immediate need is a focused effort to agree on a small list of well-designed equity indicators that, taken together, allow us to adequately model the Convention’s core equity principles, as they bear upon the challenge of a cooperative and extremely ambitious global climate transition.

The goal of this paper is to enrich the equity debate by defining a small (as simple as possible, but no simpler) list of Convention-based equity indicators.  We offer this analysis to the Parties, for their use in the coming negotiations and in a possible formal equity review.  In addition, this analysis will anchor the informal equity reviews that CAN and other NGOs will conduct in parallel to the formal UNFCCC processes.