International climate change negotiations can be difficult to grasp as they are far removed from everyday life and local-level action. Moreover, negotiation process takes largely place behind closed doors. All this increases the risk that the international climate negotiations are perceived as undemocratic. To make them more accessible to general public, we are organizing a World Climate Negotiations Training (WCNT). WCNT is a day-long role-play of international climate negotiations that takes place a week or two ahead of annual meetings of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
We assign each WCNT participant as a country delegate, who is expected to embody the role of the negotiating body they represent, and we provide briefing materials based on the most recent events so that they can understand their country’s current and historical negotiating positions.
We have designed WCNT to represent dynamics in real climate negotiations. In particular,
we create parallel negotiating sessions to increase the complexity of negotiations and communication;
we assign more delegates to more developed countries, while depriving smaller less developed country delegations from the information they need to succeed;
we assign different countries to different UN-based coalitions with both overlapping and conflicting interests;
we provide scientific information necessary for informed discussion; and
we emphasize consensus-based decision making to demonstrate the difficulty of arriving at an agreement amenable to every country in the world.
WCNT provides participants a unique first-person view on the international climate negotiations, experience on working on complex questions under time pressure, and also an excellent opportunity for networking with people who share the interest in environment and climate change. Nearly all participants consider such role-play events to be memorable even many years after the event. This program forms an essential component of our theory of action, in which individuals are provided with the personal connection and scientific information to address climate change.