At a three-day workshop hosted by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Small Branches network and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), twenty-one Members of Parliament from sixteen small states and jurisdictions learned how to navigate the multilateral climate landscape and implement effective climate action.
The workshop, hosted at the United Nations complex in New York, was designed to equip participants from both national and sub-national Legislatures with the knowledge and skills to represent their jurisdictions in international climate negotiations.
Despite their relatively limited contributions to global greenhouse gas emissions, people living in the smallest jurisdictions, particularly Small Island Developing States (SIDS), often suffer the most severe impacts of global warming, including rising sea levels, extreme weather events and internal displacement.
Improved access to climate finance, technology and renewable energy sources are essential for small states and jurisdictions to adapt to the global climate risk. International climate negotiations represent an opportunity for small jurisdictions to leverage their concerns and secure these resources, alongside wider commitments to protect their economies and environments from the damage caused by climate change.
Watch | Belizean Senators discuss climate negotiations on national TV
Senators Janelle Chanona and Bevinton Cal, from the National Assembly of Belize, reflect on how the Empowering Climate Democracy workshop will help them strengthen Belize’s position at international climate negotiations.
At the CPA-UNDP workshop, participants had the opportunity to gain insights into the internal workings of international climate negotiations through practice negotiation sessions, mock public hearings and group workshops, led by experts from international organisations including the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and UNDP.
Hon. Churchill Gill, Member of the National Assembly of the Seychelles, said that the negotiation session was ‘very informative’, adding that he would ‘surely use the knowledge in my country.’ This was echoed by Senator Janelle Chanona from the National Assembly of Belize who said that the mock negotiation was an ‘insightful exercise across the board.’
Commenting on the format of the workshop, the CPA Secretary-General Stephen Twigg said:
“This programme offered participants opportunities to engage with expert speakers, complete practice negotiations and to network with a number of multilateral actors. At the CPA, we believe that the best learning environments prioritise dynamic engagement and focus on participation across all attendees.”
Inside the negotiations: Tips from an expert
Carmen Suro-Bredie, former Assistant U. S. Trade Representative for the Environment and Intellectual Property and international negotiation expert, shared her insights into the negotiation process with participants.
- Pre-Negotiation: Make sure you know the who, what, when, where, why and how of the negotiations.
- Assembling the Team: Get the right people in the room – lawyers and technical experts are essential.
- At the Table: Have a clear opening statement and make it relevant.
- Ask, ask, ask, tell, tell, tell: Identify the “Coincidence of Wants” – knowing what the party you are negotiating with wants and exchanging this for your want.
- Putting It On Paper: Language is key!
- Roll Out: Draft press releases for all possible outcomes in advance.
- Making It Happen: Establish methods and time frame for implementation, follow-up mechanisms and an implementing agency.
The CPA Small Branches network empowers small Parliaments in the Commonwealth to overcome national and global challenges through cooperation, advocacy and the strengthening of parliamentary democracy and good governance. Climate change and environmental governance are a thematic priority under the network’s 2021-2023 Strategic Plan.
UNDP works to help Parliaments to better ensure gender equality; nature-sensitive development; equitable energy access and transition; risk management for resilience; and reduced poverty and inequality.