Advice: Workshop on the negotiation management by the UNFCCC COP23 Presidency of Fiji

On May 19-20 2017, the Center for Multilateral Negotiations organized a 1.5-day workshop on negotiation management for COP23 to support the incoming COP Presidency, the Government of Fiji. The workshop convened experts and officials from previous COP Presidencies, including Morocco, France, Mexico, Denmark, and the UNFCCC Secretariat, who shared valuable insights to support the Fijian government. Participants from Fiji included Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama and Permanent Representative to the UN, Nazhat Shameen Khan.
The programme was divided into a series of interactive sessions that addressed essential issues, such as

  • The roles of the UNFCCC COP Presidency
  • Team work between key facilitating institutions
  • Objectives and themes of the COP23 Presidency
  • The involvement of non-parties

Each session opened with presentations by the experts who drew on their experiences to provide advice on how the incoming Presidency could address the challenges faced by every COP Presidency as well as specific challenges related to COP23. Informal discussions between experts and Fiji participants carved out specific options with possible next steps, moderated by the Center for Multilateral Negotiations.

Feedback from participants has been unequivocally positive. The Government of Fiji highlighted how the workshop provided an excellent opportunity to craft concrete facilitation options for COP 23 in a constructive and supportive framework.
We thank our workshop partner for funding the event: the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) with Director-General, Dr Karsten Sach:
“This workshop again greatly leveraged the wealth of experience from managing past UN climate negotiations for the incoming Fijian Presidency. Sessions were perfectly set up, very practicable and will make a tangible difference. Our expectations as sponsor were more than met.”

International experts and the Government of Fiji
Mr Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji, incoming COP23 President
Mr Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji, incoming COP23 President
Ms Nazhat Shameem Khan, Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office in Geneva for the Republic of Fiji, Chief Negotiator at COP23
Ms Nazhat Shameem Khan, Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office in Geneva for the Republic of Fiji, Chief Negotiator at COP23
Mr Deo Saran, Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary
Mr Deo Saran, Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary
Mr Aziz Mekouar, Ambassador for Multilateral Negotiations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Morocco
Mr Aziz Mekouar, Ambassador for Multilateral Negotiations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Morocco
Mr Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Head of WWF’s Climate and Energy Practice
Mr Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Head of WWF’s Climate and Energy Practice
Mr Antoine Michon, Head of Environment and Climate Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, France
Mr Antoine Michon, Head of Environment and Climate Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, France
Ms Teresa Ribera, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), Scienco Po, Paris
Ms Teresa Ribera, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), Sciences Po, Paris
Dr Rodolfo Godínez-Rosales, COP 16 Lead Negotiator Technology, Mexican Foreign Ministry
Dr Rodolfo Godínez-Rosales, COP 16 Lead Negotiator Technology, Mexican Foreign Ministry
Thomas Becker, Chief Negotiator of the COP15 Presidency, Danish Climate Ministry
Mr Thomas Becker, Chief Negotiator of the COP15 Presidency, Danish Climate Ministry
Mr Halldór Thorgeirsson, Senior Director for Intergovernmental Affairs, UNFCCC Secretariat
Mr Halldór Thorgeirsson, Senior Director for Intergovernmental Affairs, UNFCCC Secretariat
Mr Karsten Sach, Director-General Climate Policy, European and International Policy, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Germany
Mr Karsten Sach, Director-General Climate Policy, European and International Policy, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Germany
Mr Yffic Nouvellon, Vice-President, Havas Paris
Mr Yffic Nouvellon, Vice-President, Havas Paris
Thoughts and responses to the workshop

The Negotiation Workshop was an excellent opportunity to brainstorm outcomes for COP 23 in a constructive and supportive framework. The methodology was excellent with a series of stories told of successes and failures from COP’s past, with clear recommendations for the new Presidency. Most importantly, the Workshop enthused the Fijian team with a commitment to a successful Cop, to a COP with a vision for greater and enhanced ambition, and for a COP which is stamped with Fiji’s cultural ethos and Fiji’s consciousness of the impact of climate change on us all. As the Prime Minister said in his vision statement; we are all vulnerable, we must all act now. Fiji’s historical and contemporary knowledge of the relationship between the environment and human activity, has the capacity to enrich the discussions at COP 23 and inspire the world to greater heights. Our COP 23 team left the Workshop with this greater enthusiasm and commitment. Thank you.
– Nazhat Shameem Khan, Ambassador of Fiji to the UN and COP23 Chief Negotiator

The workshop was highly useful and instructive to everyone I believe but in a particular way to me and my team. Listening to the experiences, lessons learned and advices from all the attendees, was priceless. It was also the opportunity to exchange views on the present situation, the way to move forward to address the problems of climate change and what should be expected from the next COPs, namely COP23.
– Aziz Mekouar, Ambassador for Multilateral Negotiations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Morocco

Although no COP is the same, COP Presidencies share a unique experience of leading a multilateral negotiation process without equivalent by its size and the magnitude of the issue at stake. The seminar provided a great space for that fraternity of current and past COP Presidencies to exchange on the variety of challenges COP Presidencies have to address to lead Parties to a successful outcome. That includes, inter alia, establishing integrated and competent team, organizing spaces to accommodate the diversity of stakeholders, communicating sound and consistent messages, and managing the final hours of the negotiation process.
– Antoine Michon, Head of Environment and Climate Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, France

Ensuring a deep understanding of the political context, the expectations and the negotiating uses in the climate context is a very relevant first step for success. We need to succeed in climate; therefore I would like to express my gratitude for the initiative of CEMUNE to improve the specific challenges that any incoming presidency will be facing.
– Teresa Ribera, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), Sciences Po, Paris

The Workshop in Bonn was truly an important step forward in preparing for a successful execution of COP 23. Post the unilateral withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Accord, a strong and well-tuned Presidency is even more important than before.
– Thomas Becker, Chief Negotiator, incoming COP15 Presidency, Danish Climate Ministry

This workshop again greatly leveraged the wealth of experience from managing past UN climate negotiations for the incoming Fijian Presidency. Sessions were perfectly set up, very practicable and will make a tangible difference. Our expectations as sponsor were more than met.
– Karsten Sach, Director-General Climate Policy, European and International Policy, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Germany

This workshop is a great initiative, a very useful opportunity to provide the Government of Fiji with helpful insights and valuable advices for the upcoming negotiations management in Bonn. A genuinely unique and innovative workshop. The format and the facilitation of the session allowed a truly open discussion and strong engagement among high level experts. Impressive.
– Arielle Schwab and Yffic Nouvellon, Havas Paris

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