Workshops that build climate negotiators' capacity: European Capacity Building Initiative training and support programme


We aim to create a more level playing field for all government delegations taking part in climate negotiations at the international level through our work. That's why IIED manages the European Capacity Building Initiative (ecbi) training and support programme, which focuses on building the capacity of UNFCCC negotiators from vulnerable developing countries.

Participants of the 2014 ecbi pre-COP training workshop for LDC negotiators, Lima

The European Capacity Building Initiative (ecbi), launched in 2005, aims to support the international climate change negotiations by building and sustaining capacity among developing country negotiators, and by fostering trust between both developed and developing country negotiators.

IIED is a lead partner in the ecbi, along with Oxford Climate Policy. The training and support programme runs alongside, but is distinct from, our support for UNFCCC negotiators' project.

The training and support programme

The ecbi training and support programme aims to help negotiators and national policymakers from vulnerable developing countries improve their knowledge of the UNFCCC decision-making process so they can engage in it effectively and translate its outcomes into national level implementation. 

As seen from the comments below, participants value the workshops, both as a forum for sharing different national views and experience, and for learning from more experienced negotiators.

What the ecbi training and support programme offers

Regional workshops
Regional workshops foster collaboration in targeted regions and help ensure climate change issues become part of mainstream thinking across government ministries. They let negotiators meet, exchange views and — if they wish — plan together.

But as well as negotiators, parliamentarians and representatives from ministries such as finance and planning can attend to get up to speed on climate change negotiations and their implementation.

Comments from previous workshops

"We have seen a better involvement of the LDC Group members in the negotiations, whether in the plenary, contact groups, drafting groups or other meetings. We have also had more interaction with other groups."

"In previous years, many senior negotiators have retired and been replaced by junior negotiators. The ecbi preparatory and regional workshops help the new negotiators understand the subject."

"We had better communication between the LDC Group and other groups, and better understanding of the LDC Group's Key Messages by its members as a result of the support from ecbi."

"The capacity building aspect of the ecbi was reflected by the production of appropriate documentation for negotiators and the organisation of regional workshops and high-level technical meetings."

The regional training workshops for 2016 took place as follows:

  • The workshop for South and Southeast Asia was hosted by the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) in Bangladesh from 14-15 April [Workshop report - PDF].
  • The workshop for Francophone Africa was hosted by ENDA Energie Environnement Développement (ENDA) in Senegal from 15-16 June [Workshop report - PDF].
  • The workshop for Anglophone Africa was hosted by Environmental Protection and Management Services (EPMS) in Tanzania from 14-15 September.

Pre-Conference of the Parties (pre-COP) workshops
The training and support programme organises Pre-COP Workshops to support senior and junior negotiators from vulnerable developing countries to come together a day or so before the UNFCCC sessions.

The negotiators identify key issues for their countries and groups that will be discussed at the session, and discuss how they can help the rest of their group influence negotiating outcomes. To expand the expertise available, key representatives from other important ministries who have participated in the Regional Workshops are also invited to these Pre-COP workshops.

The 2015 pre-COP workshop took place on 28 November prior to the opening of COP21 in Paris [Workshop report - PDF].

In 2016, the pre-COP workshop is scheduled to take place on 5 November prior to the opening of COP22 in Marrakech.

The training and support programme also offers bursaries that support junior negotiators in becoming subject specialists. These bursaries have helped selected junior negotiators from countries such as Sudan, Tanzania, Mali, Lesotho, Ethiopia, Gambia, Malawi and Nepal attend the UNFCCC negotiations, and helped them become experts in the negotiating process.

Bursary recipients are chosen based on recommendations from senior negotiators. After each meeting they attend, the junior negotiators write a report that is published on the ecbi website and sent to the other fellow negotiators.

Bursary recipients have been instrumental in making developing countries more effective in the UNFCCC negotiations. For example, most of the ecbi bursary holders have gone on to become members of the LDC core team. There, they advise the LDC Group chair and group members in their chosen negotiating themes.

In 2012, Sumaya Zakieldeen, an ecbi bursary recipient, was nominated for the UNFCCC Adaptation Committee as the only representative of the LDC group. Gebru Jember, another bursary recipient and an LDC core team member, has become the LDC group's key coordinator for the Kyoto Protocol.

Technical support during sessions
During the climate negotiations, the ecbi partners deliver technical and legal advice to developing country negotiators and civil society organisations. A team of liaison officers from the Legal Response Initiative (LRI) follow the negotiations and talk delegates through legal issues.

If a request for advice cannot be answered instantly it is forwarded to a legal advisor who addresses the query and drafts a short legal opinion. Training and support programme participants can use this service during the sessions.


IIED in partnership with the ecbi Publications and Policy Analysis Unit produces an LDC paper series to ensure negotiators are well prepared with the facts, figures and analysis they need to drive effective decisions. 

A Pocket Guide to the Paris Agreement has also been produced and translated into French.

Selected papers are summarised into briefings for a wider audience to raise broader awareness of LDC concerns in the climate negotiations. 

See also Policy Brief: Enhanced Direct Access: A Brief History (2009-15)



International Climate Initiative (IKI)


Achala Abeysinghe (, principal researcher, IIED's Climate Change Group