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National Delegations to UNFCCC Conferences of the Parties: Who Participates?

Skovgaard, Jakob, Jacqueline Gallant. 2015. National Delegations to UNFCCC Conferences of the Parties: Who Participates? Earth System Governance Working Paper, No.35.


Understanding which ministries represent their countries at the annual United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conferences of the Parties (COPs) helps clarify the dynamics of these important negotiations. Data from COP1, 7, 15, 17 and 19, representing twelve different countries (the US, China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, the UK, Germany, Japan, Denmark, Sweden, Gabon, and Bhutan), was used to analyze which ministries comprised the delegations. Although the delegations have increased in size, the relative shares of different ministries have remained more constant, notwithstanding the larger representation of “peripheral” ministries at decisive COPs like COP15. Environment ministries constitute the largest group followed by foreign ministries. Environment ministries, however, are more predominant in developed countries than their developing counterparts. China and the US are the two outliers, as their delegations have been dominated by the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission and the US State Department respectively.

The Working Paper is available here (pdf).

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