The power of presidency in UN climate change negotiations: comparison between Denmark and Mexico

Original Paper

Abstract

In December 2010, the 16th Conference of Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change ended with adopting Cancun Agreements as official decisions under the UN process. The international community determined the meeting a success. This was a substantial change compared to the previous year’s Copenhagen climate conference, which failed to reach consensus at the official level and thus having come under severe criticism as “diplomatic failure.” This article aims to explain the stark contrast between the two consecutive COP meetings and argues that the leadership style of the president of the conference is one important factor propelling negotiations forward. While the current literature scarcely addresses the role of the president, this article explores multiple variables that condition the president’s effectiveness in moving negotiations forward. This article concludes that the Mexican government successfully chaired the negotiations with excellent agenda management and process management capability, which the Danish government lacked. In particular, its transparent and embracing manner in handling subgroup meetings and the production of a single negotiation text facilitated trust among negotiators, which in turn made the parties tend to cooperate better. More importantly, the case study reveals that the Mexican government had a significant influence on given conditions of the negotiation process, such as the international environment surrounding the negotiation and the decision-making rules.

Keywords

Climate change negotiation Power of chair Chairmanship in multilateral negotiations Effectiveness of chair Leadership of president of COP UNFCCC COP 

References

  1. Araya, M. (2011). The squeezed middle: Why Latin America matters in climate politics intercambio climatico: Latin American perspectives on climate change. http://www.intercambioclimatico.com/en/2011/04/13/.
  2. Blavoukos, S., Bourantonis, D., & Tsakonas, P. (2006). Parameters of the chairmanship’s effectiveness: The case of the UN Security council. The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, 1, 143–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bodansky, D. (2010). The Copenhagen climate change conference: A postmortem. American Journal of International Law, 104, 230–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chasek, P. (2011). Creating space for consensus: High-level globe-trotting into the Bali climate change conference. International Negotiation, 16, 87–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chevallier, R. (2011). COP17: What role for South Africa as an agent of change?. SAIIA Policy Briefing 38. Google Scholar
  6. Christoff, P. (2010). Cold climate in Copenhagen: China and the United States at COP15. Environmental Politics, 19(4), 637–656.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Danish Ministry of Climate and Energy. (2009). Press release ‘Connie Hedegaard hosts Greenland dialogue ahead of UNclimate talks in Barcelona’. http://www.kebmin.dk/node/859. Accessed July 17, 2015.
  8. Dimitrov, R. S. (2010). Inside Copenhagen: The state of climate governance. Global Environmental Politics, 10(2), 18–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Depledge, J. (2005). The organization of global negotiations: Constructing the climate change regime. London: Earthscan.Google Scholar
  10. Grubb, M. (2011). Editorial: Cancun: The art of the possible. Climate Policy, 11(2), 847–850.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Grubb, M., & Gupta, J. (2000). Leadership: Theory and methodology. In M. Grubb & J. Gupta (Eds.), Climate change and european leadership: A sustainable role of Europe. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  12. Gupta, J., & Ringius, L. (2001). The EU’s climate leadership: Reconciling ambition and reality. International Environmental Agreements: Politics Law and Economics, 1, 281–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hampson, F. O., & Hart, M. (1995). Multilateral negotiations: Lessons from arms control, trade, and the environment. Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Karlsson, C., Hjerpe, M., Parker, C., & Linér, B.-O. (2011). Looking for leaders: Perceptions of climate change leadership among climate change negotiation participants. Global Environmental Politics, 11(1), 89–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Karlsson, C., Hjerpe, M., Parker, C., & Linér, B.-O. (2012). The legitimacy of leadership in international climate change negotiations. Ambio, 41, 46–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Keohane, R. O., & Victor, D. G. (2011). The regime complex for climate change. Perspectives on Politics, 9(1), 7–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Khor, M. (2010). Complex implications of the cancun climate conference. Economics & Political Weekly, 52, 10–15.Google Scholar
  18. Knight, S. (2009). ‘Eleven days in December’. Prospect. Issue 164 (October 2009). http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/2009/10/eleven-days-in-december/ Accessed July 17, 2015.
  19. La Vina, A. G. M., Ang, L. & Dulce, J. (2011). The cancun agreements: Do they advance global cooperation on climate change?. Foundation for International Environmental Law and Development (FIELD). http://www.field.org.uk/files/the_cancun_agreements__lavina_ang_dulce_0.pdf. Accessed July 17, 2015.
  20. Mehling, M. (2010). From Brokenhagen to cancun can!: The cancun climate summit and its significance for transatlantic relations. Perspective, FES Washington Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. http://library.fes.de/pdf-files/id/07729.pdf. Accessed July 17, 2015.
  21. Meilstrup, P. (2010). The runaway summit: The background story of the Danish Presidency of COP15, the UN climate change conference. In Danish Foreign Policy Yearbook 2010. http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/user_upload/rome2007/docs/What%20really%20happen%20in%20COP15.pdf. Accessed July 17, 2015.
  22. Metcalfe, D. (1998). The presidency of the council. International Negotiations, 3, 413–434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Morgan, J. et al. (2010). Reflections on the cancun agreements. World Resources Institute. http://pdf.wri.org/reflections_on_cancun_agreements.pdf. Accessed July 17, 2015.
  24. Nasiritousi, N., & Linnér, B.-O. (2014). Open or closed meeting? Explaining nonstate actor involvement in the international climate change negotiations. International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics.,. doi:10.1007/s10784-014-9237-6.Google Scholar
  25. Odell, J. S. (2005). Chairing a WTO negotiations. Journal of International Economic Law, 82(2), 425–448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Parker, C., Karlsson, C., Hjerpe, M., & Linér, B.-O. (2012). Fragmented climate change leadership: Making sense of the ambiguous outcome of COP-15. Environmental Politics, 21(2), 268–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pew Center (2009). Summary of COP 15 and CMP 5 prepared by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. http://www.pewclimate.org/international/copenhagen-climate-summit-summary.
  28. Rajamani, L. (2010). III. The making and unmaking of the Copenhagen accord. International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 59, 824–843.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Rajamani, L. (2011). The cancun agreements: Reading the text, subtext and tea leaves. International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 60(2), 499–519.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Steinmo, S. (2008). What is historical institutionalism? In D. DellaPorta & M. Keating (Eds.), Approaches in the social sciences (pp. 113–138). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Streck, C., et al. (2011). The results and relevance of the cancun climate conference. Journal for European Environmental & Planning Law, 8(2), 165–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Sweney, M. (2009). Copenhagen climate change treaty backed by ‘Hopenhagen’ campaign. The Guardian. http://www.theguardian.com/media/2009/jun/23/hopenhagen-climate-change-campaign. Accessed July 17, 2015.
  33. Tallberg, J. (2002). The power of the chair in international bargaining. Article prepared for presentation at the 2002 ISA Annual Convention, New Orleans, March 24–27 2002.Google Scholar
  34. Tallberg, J. (2010). The power of the chair: Formal leadership in international cooperation. International Studies Quarterly, 54, 241–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Underdal, A. (1994). Leadership theory: Rediscovering the arts of management. In I. Z. William (Ed.), International multilateral negotiation: Approaches to the management of complexity. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.Google Scholar
  36. UNFCCC (1996). Draft rules of procedure of the conference of the parties and its subsidiary bodies. FCCC/CP/1996/2. http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/cop2/02.pdf. Accessed July 17, 2015.
  37. Yamin, F., & Depledge, J. (2005). The international climate change regime. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Young, O. (1991). Political leadership and regime formation: On the development of institutions in international society. International Organization, 45(3), 281–308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kangwon National University, School of LawChuncheonRepublic of Korea

Personalised recommendations