Knowing your team mates

You wouldn’t expect a football team that had never practiced together to play particularly well, would you? Especially against a team who met several times a week, were well versed in each others’ strengths, weaknesses and preferences and had hung out together in the pub after a match, perhaps.

The negotiating teams from Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are not only much much smaller than the Annex 1 party delegations (I know there is at least one Small Island State here who only have two negotiators and another LDC Country whose minister was refused a visa), but often their team members have never even met. To bolster numbers and enable them to attend the many meetings that occur each day simultaneously on different agenda items, LDCs often recruit members from civil society with relevant expertise to join their teams, sit in on meetings and help draft interventions. Working in these challenging and tiring conditions is hard enough, but when you don’t know the people you are working with, it makes it a whole lot harder.

Luckily a common goal cements friendships and trust is, necessarily, built quickly. The playing field is not nearly even, but civil society is at least working to even the numbers.