Training and supporting new climate change negotiators

IIED works with the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Group to level the playing field for their engagement in the international climate change negotiations. Together with strategic partners, we organise training workshops and provide direct support to delegates to strengthen their negotiating skills.

January 2023 - December 2024
Fernanda Alcobé

Researcher, Climate Change

Supporting new climate change negotiators
A programme of work that highlights efforts to support delegates from the least developed countries
A large group of people sit and stand behind a desk smiling for a photo.

Participants and LDC negotiators pose for a photo during the regional Africa training in Senegal in May 2023 (Photo: ENDA Energie)

The UN climate change negotiations is a complex multilateral process. Arriving at negotiated outcomes is further complicated by the significant imbalance in resources and capabilities between developed and developing countries’ delegations.

This project equips and empowers delegates from the least developed countries (LDC) and in particular, female negotiators. The aim is to improve LDC delegates’ knowledge of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) decision-making process so that they can engage in it effectively and translate its outcomes into national level policies.

We organise regional and pre-COP training workshops, publish knowledge products for new delegates, and mentor and support women to become climate leaders.

What is IIED doing?

Drawing on a decade of experience, IIED is working with partner organisations to train and support new climate negotiators. The two year ‘UNFCCC Capacity Building for Least Developed Countries (LDC)’ project was launched in 2023 and is funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI).

As the lead partner, IIED implements the project with ENDA Energie (ENDA), Prakriti Resources Centre (PRC) and Legal Response International (LRI).

The project offers:

  • Regional training workshops
  • Pre-COP training workshops
  • Direct support and mentoring for women negotiators, and
  • Knowledge products.

Regional training workshops

Training workshops are the centre of this project. They foster collaboration in targeted regions and help ensure climate change issues become part of mainstream thinking across government ministries.

The workshops are hosted by ENDA for Africa and PRC for the Asia Pacific region. For transparency and fairness, participants to the trainings are nominated by their country’s national focal point, and we highly encouraged the nomination of female delegates, who are often under-represented in UNFCCC negotiations.

Two men and a woman sit behind a desk talking and holding papers in front of them. The man and woman on each end sit behind cards labelled 'Brazil' and 'China' respectively.

Mock negotiations during the regional Africa training in Senegal, May 2023 (Photo: ENDA Energie)

ENDA hosted the Africa regional training in Pointe Sarène, Senegal from 8-12 May 2023 for Anglophone Africa (8-9 May) and Francophone Africa (11-12 May). A bridging day on 10 May brought both groups together for networking and peer exchanges.

At the workshops, participants received a holistic overview on the UNFCCC processes, the topics country blocs negotiate and their importance for the LDC Group in the UNFCCC process. The participants also engaged in mock negotiations, where they practiced taking the floor and their negotiating skills with the support of senior LDC negotiators and legal advisors.

PRC will host the next regional training workshop for Asia and the Pacific in Kathmandu, Nepal, before the 28th UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP28).

LDC delegates from the Africa region are trained on the UNFCCC process in Senegal in May 2023

Pre-COP training workshops

A one-day training session before the annual Conference of Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC brings LDC negotiators (ideally those who attended the regional trainings workshops), policymakers and practitioners together ahead of the negotiations.

They discuss key LDC issues and expected outcomes, exchange views and participate in mock negotiation to practice their negotiation skills. The pre-COP28 training workshop is scheduled for the week before the negotiations commence in Dubai.

Direct support and mentoring for women negotiators

The under-representation of women in climate negotiations has been a longstanding issue. A strong gender disparity is evident not just in the small number of women taking part in the negotiations overall, but also in the low proportion of women in the most powerful positions. Progress to address this has been slow, and the LDC Group’s figures are no exception.

This project aims to improve gender balance in the UNFCCC by specifically targeting female negotiators to take part in our programme. Indeed, the project offers support to female delegates from LDCs who have attended not more than two UNFCCC sessions, and does this in two ways:

  • Logistical support: the project covers all the cost for their participation for three weeks, including the preparatory week before the negotiations
  • Mentoring support: the project pairs them with experienced LDC negotiators. This gives them the space to get first-hand advice and guidance to navigate the complexity of the UNFCCC conferences.
Three women smile as they pose for a selfie outdoors on a street.

IIED-supported LDC delegates Prakriti Koirala (left) and Justina Belo (right) plus their mentor, Isatou Camara, an LDC negotiator on the issues of finance and loss and  damage, in Bonn, Germany in June 2023 (Photo: Prakriti Koirala)

Knowledge products

We will produce knowledge products tailored for delegates new to the UNFCCC. For example, our partner LRI developed the Paris Agreement A to Z application which will be updated under this project.

The project will also deliver blogs and publications, such as  toolkits and pocket guides.

Additional resources

Webinar: Paris Agreement carbon markets and implementation at national level, Legal Response International (December 2023)

SB 58 Summary, Legal Response International (2023) | en français (PDF)

App: Paris Agreement A to Z, Legal Response International (download from Google Play, Apple Store)

Interview with LDC Group chair Madeleine Diouf Sarr: Women from least developed countries and the international climate negotiations − how can we close the gap? (July 2023),

Blog: National Adaptation Plans: LDCs need financing to turn words into reality, by Lina Yassin (April 2023)

Blog: COP27: negotiating for an outcome on loss and damage to support the most vulnerable, by Prakriti Koirala (February 2023)

Blog: On the fast track to climate negotiating: learning from my mentor, by Olivier Ishimwe (February 2023)

Blog: COP27: were the climate-vulnerable finally heard in Egypt?, by Pape Lamine Diouf, Lina Yassin (2022)

Responding to a growing crisis: LDC expectations for COP27, Camilla More, Lina Yassin, Hafij Khan (2022)| en français

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

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


International Climate Initiative (IKI)

IKI maintains an independent complaint mechanism intended to enable people who suffer (potential) negative social and/or environmental consequences from IKI projects, or who wish to report the improper use of funds, to voice their complaints and seek redress. Information about the mechanism, including how to file a complaint, is available on the IKI website