A review of the effectiveness of developing country participation in the Climate Change Convention negotiations

A review of the effectiveness of developing country participation in the Climate Change Convention negotiations

Developing country participation in the Climate Change Convention negotiations

There is an enormous range of views and interests among developing countries (from the small and vulnerable countries in the AOSIS group to larger emitting countries like China and India, and the OPEC group which opposes climate change abatement based on fossil fuel reduction), just as there are major differences between developed country blocks. At the risk of generalising, developing countries, tend to adopt a reactive and defensive negotiating strategy in the UN Framework for Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC) negotiations. While this is to some extent forced on them by the nature of the negotiation process and their limited financial resources, this may not be in their best interests.

Much of the negotiation takes place in small working groups which work simultaneously on a range of issues, in the corridors, over lunch, etc. To some extent this is power politics, but the complex issues of climate change also make it difficult to negotiate in large formal meetings. Other specific constraints to effective developing country participation include the small size and limited range of skills of national delegations (as opposed to the large and multiple-skilled delegations of most developing countries); lack of negotiating experience, knowledge and skills; lack of information and coordination, partly due to the lack of inter-sessional meetings and national or regional research support; low domestic political priorities; language problems; poor office facilities at the Conferences of the Parties (COP); and, due to many of the above factors, fatigue at the COP. Regional groupings are on the whole weak; this is partly since interests in the UNFCCC are not naturally aligned along regional lines.

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