Climate Talks, Negotiation Process

The co-facilitator : a crucial, yet often forgotten, actor in the negotiation process

This article is written by Clément Métivier.

Imagine being in a room with 196 of your peers. Your goal? Deciding on what will be on the table for dinner. Your mission? Make everyone agree on what dish to cook, when to serve it, at what temperature, and whether everyone should eat that dish or not. This would be quite a challenge for you, right?

Well, this is pretty much what is happening during international climate negotiations. This year, the 196 Parties (195 States and the European Union) that are belonging to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have to negotiate on a new climate regime, which has to be completed by the end of 2015 at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21), and will then come into effect after 2020.

Consensus, a very tricky process

Climate negotiations are based on a consensus principle. In order to take decisions, Parties must all agree with each other. Since there are 196 of them, reaching consensus is therefore a very tricky process, especially because the issues addressed are way more important than a dinner. Indeed, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to the negative impacts of climate change are two daunting tasks, with huge social, political and economic consequences, which require all countries to rethink their development pathways and redefine their energy system, among other things.

At that point, putting 196 actors around a table and aiming at reaching consensus does not seem like a good plan. However, taking a closer look at the climate negotiations may introduce a more optimistic perspective. Indeed, all Parties are not usually present during the facilitated groups, when all the topics related to the future agreement are discussed in detail (for example, mitigation, adaptation, technology, transparency, or finance). Within those facilitated groups (also called contact groups), around 50 delegations are usually present, which makes dialogue a little bit easier than with almost 200 countries. In addition, the existence of alliances among countries leads to situations where one country speaks on behalf on its group, and express a common position, thus making the negotiation process smoother.

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Climate Talks, Negotiation Process, The Climate Nerd Chronicles

Alice’s adventures in ADPland (2/2)

This article is part of the Climate Nerd Chronicles.

Read the 1st part of this chronicle: Alice’s adventures in ADPland (1/2)

Bannière CN

The trial

In the next room Alice entered, all the Kings and Queens were solemnly sitting around a large table, so large that it went from one end of the room to the other. Stuck in a tiny corner, speccy people were preparing their fingers to write each and every word that would be said.

The White Rabbit cried out :

Silence in the court ! I will read the accusation :

The Kings and Queens, they had a clean atmosphere,

Since the beginning of  time.

The Kings and Queens, they stole this clean atmosphere, 

And drove the temperature up !

All are guilty, and yet no one is. The first defendant – a black King – said :

We agree that the matter requires our best attention, but we only stole a small share of the clean atmosphere. And it seems like all  these changes will affect us, more than the others. How unfair is that ?

Another defendant said :

That is true, we have been stealing for many years, and not just a little. But the Court should consider that the past remain the past – there is no need to designate culprits, it is the future that we should focus our efforts on.

Some claimed “We will stop stealing only if you start doing it first ! » Others responded “We will stop stealing only if you too commit not to steal anymore.” It seemed like an endless discussion, going around in circles…

Lire la suite « Alice’s adventures in ADPland (2/2) »

Climate Talks, Negotiation Process, The Climate Nerd Chronicles

Alice’s adventures in ADPland (1/2)

This article is part of the Cimate Nerd Chronicles

Read the 2nd part of this chronicle: Alice’s adventures in ADPland (2/2)Bannière CN

Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by some strangers on the train and of having nothing to do. Once or twice she had peeped into the documents her neighbors were reading but they had no pictures or conversations in it, and « what is the use of a document », thought Alice, « if there are so many words in it! ».

She was wandering in her own thoughts when she saw a white rabbit wearing a blue necklace and a suitcase who seemed to be in a hurry.

Oh dear! oh dear! It shall be too late !

Alice thought that she had never seen a rabbit with a suitcase in the past, but following her instinct, decided to follow him. She jumped off the train and without even paying attention she had already entered a magical world – ADPland.

Lire la suite « Alice’s adventures in ADPland (1/2) »