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Facilitating climate change negotiations

On-going climate negotiations are challenged by competing national and business interests that are creating stumbling blocks to success. Nordregio's Senior Research Fellow Lisa Van Well is co-author of a chapter in the recently published Earthscan/Routledge book Climate Change Negotiations: A guide to resolving disputes and facilitating multilateral cooperation, which looks at how these obstacles can be dealt with.

The book, edited by Gunnar Sjöstedt and Ariel Macaspac Penetrante, asks how these persistent obstacles can be down-scaled, approaching them from five professional perspectives: a top policy-maker, a senior negotiator, a leading scientist, an international lawyer, and a sociologist who is observing the process.

The authors identify the major problems, including great power strategies (the EU, the US and Russia), leadership, the role of NGOs, capacity and knowledge-building, airline industry emissions, insurance and risk transfer instruments, problems of cost benefit analysis, the IPCC in the post-Kyoto situation, and verification and institutional design. A new key concept is introduced: strategic facilitation. 'Strategic facilitation' has a long time frame, a forward-looking orientation and aims to support the overall negotiation process rather than individual actors.

The chapter by Van Well, entitled Institutional Capacity Building to Facilitate Climate Change Negotiations: A Need for New Thinking was co-authored together with Angela Churie Kallhauge from the International Climate Policy Unit of the Swedish Energy Agency. It explores the concept of institutional capacity within the context of the international climate change negotiations. It looks at how parts of the process might profit from being altered so to insure capacity of all parties around the negotiations table. This largely systemic perspective centers on the structures of the negotiations, in the attempt to make them more efficient, equitable, coherent and accountable; thus boosting the capacity of negotiating parties.

Gunnar Sjöstedt, Ariel Macaspac Penetrante (Eds), (2013), Climate Change Negotiations: A Guide to Resolving Disputes and Facilitating Multilateral Cooperation