Strengthening Global Climate Change Negotiations: Improving the Efficiency of the UNFCCC Process

This paper explores possibilities to strengthen the global climate change negotiations by improving the efficiency of the negotiations process under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The negotiations are taking place against the backdrop of continuing growth of global greenhouse gas emissions and already observable impacts of climate change. Given the urgent and multifaceted nature of the climate change problem, the expanding international climate policy agenda and the various new institutions and processes created under the UNFCCC in recent years, the efficiency of the negotiations process is an important challenge.

This working paper was commissioned by the Nordic Working Group for Global Climate Negotiations (NOAK) to serve as a discussion paper for a workshop “Strengthening the Global Climate Change Negotiations” that took place at the Nordic Council of Ministers in Copenhagen, Denmark, in April 2012. The paper was subsequently updated to reflect discussions at the workshop on the basis of the Chatham House rule. It aims to address the state-of-play in the UNFCCC negotiations, identify some of the main problems and develop concrete proposals to enhance the effectiveness of the climate regime. In doing so, the paper focuses on three main clusters of procedural issues: organization of the work; institutions exercising oversight of the negotiation process; and the decision-making of the COP. Inputs from outside the regime are also briefly addressed. The paper does not intend to give mature suggestions on the way forward, but rather, it seeks to identify issues and themes concerning the efficiency of the UNFCCC negotiations for further discussion.

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