Facilitating better representation of LDCs in the UNFCCC process

Began 2011

Our participation support helps least developed countries in their efforts to increase their representation and engage fully and meaningfully in the UN climate talks.

UNFCCC negotiations session, Bonn, May 2017 (Photo Janna Tenzing/IIED)

UNFCCC negotiations session, Bonn, May 2017 (Photo: Janna Tenzing, IIED)

Negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) regime continue at an unrelenting pace with complex agendas, new bodies, and a multitude of technically detailed and interconnected issues. Since 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has also upended the ways of working in climate diplomacy

Participation and meaningful engagement from all countries on an equal footing are fundamental to ensure that the global process yields equitable outcomes, as is making sure that all voices are represented fairly by achieving better gender balance across delegates.

The 46 members of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Group believe that the UNFCCC is the best forum for delivering fair and equitable solutions to addressing the climate change problems at global level. But the process is now quite broad, involves proliferating forums and is not always limited to just two negotiating sessions per year. 

Too often, decisions are being adopted and implemented without adequate input from the LDCs. This is partly because they lack resources to support delegates to participate in the global decision-making process. 

What is IIED doing?

IIED aims to facilitate greater LDC representation in the UNFCCC process by providing support to delegates who are otherwise unable to attend sessions. These include: 

  • Members of a 'core team' of technical experts, who work closely with the LDC Group's chair. These senior negotiators often have the mandate to speak on behalf of the group in the negotiations
  • Senior women delegates with technical expertise on climate change, who are already members of the 'core team' or have the potential to be. This initiative actively supports the LDCs' interest to be a more gender-balanced group, and 
  • Junior delegates, with priority given to women, to strengthen the capacity of the future generation of LDC negotiators.


Incremental progress but limited ambition: COP26 delivers mixed results for LDCs, Anna Schulz, Madeleine Diouf Sarr, Eva Peace Mukayiranga (2022), Issue paper

LDC priorities from COP25 to COP26: unfinished business and pandemic disruption, Anna Schulz, Gabrielle SA Swaby, Sonam P Wangdi (2021), Issue paper

LDCs, negotiations and the climate crisis: will the poorest countries benefit from the COP24 climate package?, Subhi Barakat, Gebru Jember Endalew (2019) Issue paper

Loss and damage in the Paris Agreement’s global stocktake, Brook M Dambacher, Olivia Serdeczny, Ms Kunzang (2018) IIED Briefing

IIED support to the Least Developed Countries Group, Bernardo Monzani (2018), Case study

Additional resources

Transitioning to a low-carbon economy. Lessons from Ethiopia’s progressive climate policy, Mulugeta Mengist Ayalew, Binyam Yakob Gebreyes, Janna Tenzing (2020), IIED Case study 

What is effective climate adaptation? Case studies from the least developed countries, Sejal Patel, Binyam Yakob Gebreyes (2020), IIED Issue paper

A guide to transparency under the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, Achala Abeysinghe, Subhi Barakat, Yamide Dagnet, Gebru Jember Endalew, Bubu Pateh Jallow, Camilla H More, Tshewang Dorji, Cleo Verkuijl (2017), IIED Toolkit

Provisions for support to Least Developed Countries: facilitating the implementation of the UNFCCC and Paris Agreement, Rebecca Byrnes, Stella Gama, Mamadou Honadia, Bubu Pateh Jallow, Marek Soanes, Priyanka Teeluck, Janna Tenzing (2017), IIED Toolkit

Becoming a UNFCCC delegate: what you need to know, Janna Tenzing (2016), IIED Toolkit | en français

Pocket guide to the Paris Agreement, Anju Sharma, Christoph Schwarte, Benito Müller, Achala Abeysinghe, Subhi Barakat (2016), ECBI | en français

A study of LDC capacity at the UNFCCC, Stephanie Andrei, Janna Tenzing, Brianna Craft, Achala Abeysinghe (2016), IIED Issue Paper

Climate change negotiations terminology: the pocket guide, Achala Abeysinghe, Caroline Prolo, Janna Tenzing (2015), IIED Toolkit  | en français


UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (2018 and under the Climate Ambition Support Alliance since 2019)

Swedish Ministry of the Environment and Energy

Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) (2018)


Irish Aid (2014-19)

CDKN (2011-17)

Sweden (2017)

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