Climate change negotiation skills: training for LDC negotiators

In a recent workshop, participants from Least Developed Countries learned about the mechanics of climate negotiations, tackled complex terminology and discussed how to resolve conflict situations that can arise during multilateral talks.

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Ilaria Gallo
Ilaria Gallo is a training assistant in national adaptation planning at UNITAR
28 July 2016
Francophone negotiators sitting around a table (Photo: UNITAR)

Francophone negotiators during the first sessions of the training held in French (Photo: UNITAR)

Earlier this month representatives from more than 40 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) from Africa, Asia and the Pacific (17 Francophone and 30 Anglophone) participated in a training event in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to build their climate change negotiation skills.

LDCs face severe socio-economic and environmental problems, substantially constraining sustainable development. Climate change and variability will continue to exacerbate these problems. 

UNFCCC's parties have committed to considering the special needs and concerns of LDCs and how they are impacted by the adverse effects of climate change. This includes removing obstacles faced by LDCs when engaging in intergovernmental climate change negotiation processes.

This training has been designed by UNITAR as part of a broader UNDP-UNEP global programme to build capacity of LDCs to effectively participate in intergovernmental climate change processes. The programme began in July 2014 and runs until December 2016. It is funded by the Least Developed Countries Fund of the Global Environment Facility (LDCF-GEF).

Organised in collaboration with UNDPUNEP and IIED, it builds on ongoing coordination with the chair of the Least Developed Countries Group in the UNFCCC process, Mr. Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu. Through this initiative UNITAR provided training to the LDCs – both senior and emerging negotiators – in the run-up to COP21 in Paris and following the negotiations. The work complements IIED's further involvement in the European Capacity Building Initiative (ecbi), which supports negotiators from developing countries.

A stronger position

The training's overall objective was to strengthen LDC negotiators' understanding of the mechanics of the UNFCCC negotiating process and how they can effectively support LDCs delegations on the main issues contributing to entry into force of the Paris Agreement − aimed at limiting the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels − by 2020.

The training focused on developing specific negotiation skills and the techniques to use these skills to foster national objectives and of the wider LDC group more broadly.

Interactive sessions based on adult-learning techniques helped to facilitate understanding of the complexity of multilateral negotiations and implications of the Paris Agreement for the LDCs as well as key negotiation terminology and techniques to manage effective communication and resolve conflicts that arise during multilateral negotiations.

The training was organised into Francophone and Anglophone sessions to encourage sharing of regional experiences, but also included a joint session for both language groups, steered by the LDC chair.

The intention was to not only build individual capacities of emerging negotiators, but also strengthen coordination and cooperation among the LDCs, to ensure their voices will have a greater collective impact at future global negotiations.

Ilaria Gallo ([email protected]) is a training assistant in national adaptation planning at UNITAR. This blog was originally posted by UNITAR.