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

As part of efforts to create a more level playing field for government delegations taking part in global climate negotiations, IIED led a training and support programme that focused on building the capacity of UNFCCC negotiators from vulnerable developing countries, including the least developed countries. IIED is currently seeking support for the next phase of this work.

November 2014 - September 2020
Brianna Craft

Senior researcher, Climate Change

Climate Change research group
Stepping up global ambition for climate action and justice
A programme of work showing how IIED is supporting the most vulnerable countries to increase global ambition to stay below 1.5°C
Group of men and women pose for a photo on stairs

Participants of the 2019 ecbi Regional Training Workshop for Asia and the Pacific, Kathmandu (Photo: IIED)

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 and Legal Response International.  

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

The ecbi training and support programme offers:

  • Regional workshops
  • Pre-COP workshops, and
  • Bursaries for junior negotiators.

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.

We have held workshops for Francophone Africa in Senegal (201620172018 and 2019), hosted by ENDA energie (French site), and for Anglophone Africa in Tanzania (2016), hosted by EPMS, in Senegal (20172018) and in Ethiopia (2019), hosted by ENDA energie.

Our Asia Pacific workshops have been held in Bangladesh (2016), hosted by the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), in Sri Lanka (2017 and 2018), hosted by Janathakshan, and in Nepal (2019), hosted by Prakriti Resources Centre (PRC).

Pre-Conference of the Parties (pre-COP) workshops

The training and support programme organises pre-COP workshops to support negotiators from vulnerable developing countries to come together a day or so before the UNFCCC sessions.

"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" – feedback on the training and support programme

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 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, the Gambia, Malawi and Nepal attend the UNFCCC negotiations and become experts in the negotiating process.

Bursary recipients are chosen based on recommendations from senior negotiators and a letter by the bursary applicant explaining their motivations to engage in the UNFCCC process. Preference is given to women from least developed countries. After each meeting they attend, the junior negotiators write a report that is 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 core team of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Group. 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 Endalew, another bursary recipient and a LDC core team member, became the LDC chair for 2017-18.

A series of videos have been created showing the workshops and featuring interviews with LDC Group members and bursary recipients. These can be watched below or on IIED's YouTube channel.

Additional resources

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 

Pre-COP Training Workshop 2016 (PDF), Anju Sharma (2016), Workshop Report

Pre-COP Training Workshop 2015 (PDF), Anju Sharma (2015), Workshop Report

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