Social Watch, a network of 400 hundred civil organization in more than 60 countries, calls on governments of the developed world to commit to finding a just solution to the current impass in climate negotiations by adhering to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities enshrined in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, Agenda 21, and the UN Charter of Human Rights.

Developed countries must acknowledge the responsibility that they bear in the international pursuit of sustainable development in view of the pressures their societies place on the global environment and of the technologies and financial resources they command. And global agreements on climate must take into account the different circumstances, particularly developing countries ability to prevent, reduce and control the threats produced by climate change.

Climate change affects inalienable human rights such as the right to live a dignified life. It is the responsibility of states to adhere to international law and contribute to international cooperation in the full realization of human rights. Already we have seen the effects of climate change on the right to health, food, decent housing, nationhood, development and the lives of the most vulnerable sectors of society including women, children and indigenous peoples in the developing world. A political agreement is not enough to deal with the current crisis; there is a need for strong and legally binding targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and effective, just and equitable methods to address the impact of climate change on the most vulnerable and least responsible for the crisis.

Global expectations for Copenhagen outcomes have dimmed in recent weeks, most prominently due to inaction by the world's biggest emitters. There’s no place here for the rich and powerful setting conditions for sharing, especially ones that are burdensome and humiliating to the poor and less powerful. What each side is expected to do is but a just and fair share based on differing accountability for what happened and continues to happen. High-emission countries must continue to commit drastic, deep and legally binding cuts on their green house gas emissions from their 1990 levels. These countries’ governments and corporations must also recognize the ecological debt owed by their states, companies and elites to vulnerable and marginalized peoples specifically those from least developed and developing countries.

Reparations and restitution are a fundamental requirement of social and climate justice. These reparations and restitutions are part of a larger ecological debt owed by north to south accumulated through decades of historical plunder, colonialism and economic domination. And this principle calls for climate finance to be seen as part of reparations for climate debt that should not be imposed by developed countries in the form of loans with conditionalities. Therefore, compensation for the adverse effects of climate change on all affected countries and peoples is an issue of climate democracy, justice and accountability not just of mitigation of climate effects or trading in carbon emissions.

The Social Watch Network makes the following calls to States to deal with the effects of climate change:

  • Global agreements must contain a sustainable development framework while giving equal importance to climate change adaptation and mitigation. These must recognize the debt owed to countries and peoples who are not responsible for the climate crisis. And provide both environmental space and development policy choice for the affected communities and countries.
  • To keep multi-national corporations out of the Climate negotiations between states
  • Calls on developed states to stop accumulating ecological, financial and climate debts
  • Find solutions that do not violate human rights especially women, indigenous communities, all vulnerable and marginalized groups.
  • To focus on systemic change in the current models of production to alternative models that are in harmony with nature by starting with a restoration of ecosystems and territories
  • An unconditional cancellation of all debts claimed by governments of the developed countries, the International Financial Institutions, private banks and all lenders from developed countries as a step towards addressing climate change
  • GHG emission reduction by developed countries by 45% by 2020 compared to 1990 level
  • Keep temperature rise well below 1.5 degree Celsius
  • Keep Green House Gas (GHG) concentration below or at 350 parts per million by 2100.
  • Allow GHG concentration to peak by 2015
  • Mandatory contributions from Annex-I Parties for meeting the cost of adaptation, which should be supported primarily from ‘public sources’.
  • Finance should be adequate and predictable with direct, simplified and quicker access for the recipient countries
  • Financial resources should be over and above the existing 0.7% Overseas Development Assistance (ODA); the proposed financial resources should not be less than 1.5% of the Gross Domestic Product contribution by the Annex-I Parties and with of increased allocation to the LDCs and SIDS
  • Adaptation fund must be provided on a grant basis (not as concessional loans);
  • Finance should be sustainable and in line with sovereign ownership of the recipient countries, and should be free from the domination of the existing international financial architecture especially from the World Bank which has been lobbying for a managing role in steering the adaptation funds ;
  • Rights of migrants who are forcibly displaced must be respected
  • The rights of vulnerable populations must be given special attention in any climate deal and must incorporate the Declaration on Indigenous Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women given the effects of climate change.
  • Technologies shall be free from Intellectual Property Rights and already patented technologies should be made available free of charge to the recipient countries
  • Given the patterns of differentiated (historic) responsibilities, the costs for developing country adaptation are seen as debts to be borne by the industrialized world, and debts cannot be repaid by loans, or even by ‘grants’ – these reparations should not be part of the donor-recipient or patron-client relationship.