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The role of non-nation-state actors and side events in the international climate negotiations

Schroeder, Heike, Heather Lovell. 2012. The role of non-nation-state actors and side events in the international climate negotiations. Climate Policy, 12 (1): 23-37.


United Nations climate change conferences have attracted an increasing number and range of observer participants, often outnumbering national delegates. The interactions between the formal and informal spaces of climate governance at the Conference of the Parties (COP) are explored by investigating why non-nation state actors (NNSAs) attend them and by measuring to what extent official UN Side Events provide relevant information for the formal negotiations. Based on primary empirical research at recent COPs, it is found that 60–75% of Side Events have related directly to items under negotiation in the post-2012 climate negotiations. In this regard, Side Events that facilitate informal exchange between stakeholders not only provide input into the negotiations but also allow issues beyond the realm of the negotiations to be discussed, reflecting the scope of climate change. Although Side Events are an effective forum to exchange ideas and network, their current format and purpose as being events ‘on the side’ does not offer a sufficient framework for coordination between the work of NNSAs and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process.

Les Conférences des Nations Unies sur les changements climatiques ont attiré un nombre croissant et une gamme de participants en tant qu’observateurs, souvent surpassant celui des délégués nationaux. Les interactions entre les espaces formels et informels de la gouvernance climatique à la Conférence des Parties (CdP) sont étudiées en examinant pourquoi les acteurs non-étatiques (NNSAs) y participent et en mesurant le degré auquel les événements parallèles officiels des NU apportent une information utile aux négociations officielles. Sur la base d’une recherche empirique primaire aux CdPs récentes, il se trouve que 60–70% des événements parallèles sont directement liés à des points de négociation dans les négociations climatiques sur l’après 2012. A cet égard les événements parallèles facilitant les échanges informels entre parties prenantes apportent non seulement de la substance dans les négociations mais permettent aussi une discussion de questions allant au-delà du domaine des négociations, révélant la portée changement climatique. Alors que les événements parallèles constituent un forum efficace d’échange d’idées et de rencontres, leur format actuel et leur but en tant qu’événements « parallèles » n’apporte pas un cadre suffisant pour la coordination du travail des NNSAs et le processus officiel de la Convention Cadre des Nations Unies sur les changements climatiques (CCNUCC)

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