The global South is not a monolith. For the purposes of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), it means a diverse assemblage of 150 states classified as “non-Annex 1” Parties. At its core is the “Group of 77”, created in 1964 and since expanded to include roughly 95% of the non-Annex 1 population, including the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), major emerging economies such as China and the Asian “Tigers”, and major oil exporters. It spans the political spectrum from democracy to dictatorship.
The global South is also home to the overwhelming majority of the world’s poor, and the locus of the world’s most profound development challenges. Even while the South witnesses an acceleration of economic growth in some regions, its average individual income is still only one-sixth that of the average Annex 1 citizen. The South contains virtually all the world’s people who live in extreme poverty and/or are under-nourished.
This is what has held the global South countries together within the UNFCCC, even amid strong differences of opinion. From the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 where the UNFCCC was adopted, to the present, the South have shared one core objective: to compel industrialized countries to bear principal responsibility for addressing the climate crisis.
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