Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Framework of the Rio+20 simulation: Scenario Set-ups

Have you ever wondered why the UNESCO process is how it is? How could you change it, etc? Creating a model of reality is the perfect opportunity to test scenarios, new processes.

In line with the goals set by us for our Rio+20 simulations (educating the youth, acting locally), we encourage each city to experiment, and we suggest you to pick one of the following scenarios:

Don’t forget to let us know which scenario you’re implementing! Keep in mind some include modifications in the Rules of Procedure.

A) How can the role of local authorities be reinforced?
The program “Agenda 21”, directed at municipalities, local governments, and civil society groups, was one of the most successful outcomes of the Rio 1992 Conference. The local scale seems to be one of the most relevant scales at which to apply the general principles that are decided at an international level. Therefore, it can be useful to look into a possible further-reaching involvement of this group of actors.

è  Thus, local authorities could negotiate directly on concrete and common issues depending on their own situation. One delegation of local authorities could take its own commitments.
è One variant of this hypothesis could focus on world megacities and give them one vote since some of them have a GDP and/or a population more important than some states.
Example of specific delegations: Mexico City area, The Megacities of New York or Tokyo, Singapore.

B) How can the need to consider long-term issues be reconciled with the inherent tendency of negotiations to focus on short-term questions?
Politicians and negotiators often tend to adjourn important topics related to climate change. This problem is related to terms of office of politicians, and short-term poll outcomes. In order to remediate this, governments could nominate a delegate to represent their long-term interests (for example a young citizen elected or designated by local associations).

C) How could the negotiations be “regionalized”?
Whether the issue is climate, deforestation or local pollution, the decisions and outcomes of negotiations should be implemented for regions and not countries, thus reinforcing the cooperation of the individual countries. In the case of Kyoto, this would mean negotiation by area, and then negotiation within the defined areas to attribute certain carbon reduction targets to each state. The main limits and difficulties of this model would first be to define the regional areas: which legitimacy, which efficiency for these areas? And how to decide their creation (need for a specific UN agreement)?

To implement this hypothesis, the simulation structure (contact groups, meetings schedule…) should be re-organized by taking into account:
- Geo-economic unions like the ASEAN, the European Union or the Mercosur
-  Common ecologic issues and interests such as deforestation.
D) How could one envisage organizing negotiations through “aggregated interest groups”?
NB: This hypothesis is the most complex to implement. It necessitates a well-organised and large secretariat.  

In order to make negotiations more efficient and prevent deadlocks, one could reduce the number of participants so that for each topic, the different interest groups would be represented. International negotiations have so far been conducted by heterogeneous and inflexible global interest groups (G77, industrialized countries against developing countries…). So, how about bringing together stakeholders in homogenous and flexible thematic interest groups?

States would have to – for each theme negotiated – pick a group that would then represent them in the negotiating process concerning that precise issue. The members of each group would hence differ from one theme to another and for each issue several homogenous interest groups would be created. The right to vote would, however, remain with each individual state who would be invited to validate the negotiating results obtained by the thematic interest groups.

To implement this hypothesis, the simulation structure (contact groups, meetings schedule…) should be re-organized by taking into account specific issues, which can explode conventional interest groups like the G77.  For instance instead of organizing one unique meeting to negotiate a World Environmental Agency, organize one meeting for its mandate, one for its funding…

E) How transparency can be reinforced by publicizing negotiation meetings?
Delegates usually negotiate behind closed doors with the single pressure of their national mandate. In order to restore a balance of pressure, civil society could be allowed to attend every meeting and to speak (at least once). We can try to make the negotiations transparent and public by allowing some journalists to attend, record and broadcast all the meetings.

Don’t forget to send us:

-          hypothesis chosen + justification

-          list of the delegations

The full document can be found here, thanks to Paris+20.

Yours sustainably


/Any question regarding this post? contact mycityplus20@gmail.com

Framework for the Rio+20 Simulation: Delegation Details

We ask each MyCity+20 project to share this common framework so that the results can be consistent and comparable. Do feel free to alter it according to your preferences, but don’t forget to let us know the reasons behind that!

This post is dedicated to the delegations to be represented and it will be followed by another one on scenario set-ups.

Since the simulations are organized with a limited budget and resources, every state cannot be represented. Therefore, countries have been chosen for their specific group characteristics.

1. Mandatory States delegations:

- One delegation for the host country (i.e. your country)
- Brazil, China, India, South Africa
- European Union (if you have enough participants you can represent some specific European countries)
- United States, Japan, Australia
- Small Island Developing States (Caribbean and Pacific Islands)
- Saudi Arabia (to represent the OPEP)
- Two least Developed countries.
- Bolivia (to represent countries which disagree with the current international system and with the concept of  Green Economy).

2. Mandatory non-States delegations:

- Bretton-Wood Institutions: if enough participants you can form two delegations, if not, then one delegation with at least one representative of each institution.
- UNEP/UNDP (one delegation with at least one member for each program)
- A scientific delegation (one delegation with at least one member for each group)
- Major Groups
- Journalists: it’s strongly advised to ask for the local/university media to cover the event as if it was not a simulation

2a. Presidency: 
The simulation conference has to be presided by Brazil. The host country (your country) should take the vice-presidency.

The president has to be active, leading the negotiation process, and stimulating the different delegations. He has to be part of the Brazilian delegation, according to the RIO+20 organization, but the vice president of your simulation has to be from the delegation of your country, highlighting the national commitment of youths.

2.b Secretariat:  
The role of the secretariat is to write the first document of negotiation which should be as neutral as possible. It can include articles which are proposed by certain groups, but should try to include the perspectives of all delegations.
After this document is ‘published’, i.e. presented to the delegations, they are allowed to make amendments. These should then be integrated into ‘zero draft’ to form draft 1. It also has to decide how to frame the contact groups.Then, the final draft, which will be the basis of your simulation of the conference, has to be published with the results of the Preparatory Committee. The secretariat may adjust its contact groups. During the simulation, the secretariat is not directly involved in the negotiation process, but has to moderate the debate and add into the draft’s final modifications. 
 In case you are running the simulation with highschool students, we suggest to have adults helping out the Secretariat.

3. Optional delegations: (examples)

- Venezuela (as part of the bolivarian doctrine) Ecuador
- Russia
- Singapore: especially in testing a scenario related to cities
- Another African Country like Ghana, or a really poor country such as Liberia
- Politically sensitive country (thinking to the Arab Spring) like Iran or Egypt
- South East Asia (Indonesia, Philippines…)

How many people per delegation?
We recommend:

- At least 3 students for each State delegation
- At least 2 students for the IMF, World Bank and UNEP/UNDP delegations
- At least 3 students for the scientific delegation
- At least 9 students in the Major Groups delegation
- At least 2 journalists
- At least 3 secretariat members.

TOTAL (approx):  45 Students for States delegations +20 Students for non-States delegations = 65 players.

These figures are indicative and aim at providing us a basis for future comparison of the outcomes of each simulation. The important point is to let us know your plans.

The full document can be found here, thanks to Paris+20.

Yours sustainably
/Any question regarding this post ? contact mycityplus20@gmail.com

Saturday, February 11, 2012

How can I start my own simulation? - part2

Ok, so you contacted us, and you are now on the map, as a blue dot.

Would you rather be a green dot ? It would mean that you moved from "I'm interested" to "Yes, I am running a simulation of Rio+20 !". It is very easy ! Follow these steps :

1. Send us an outline of your plans, as soon as possible. This way, we can be sure we have the same understanding of what MyCity+20 is all about. It should include a short presentation of the organisations which are involved ! The name of your project should either be in the shape of "MyCity+20" or include it. For example "Amsterdam+20", "Kinshasa+20", or "MyCity+20 - Highschool xyz".

2. Send us the details of your communication campaign :
- specific email address in the shape of youcityplus20@. This will be used for us to communicate with you, as well as to add your contact on the map !
- link to your facebook, website, twitter, etc
3.  Congratulations ! You are now added to our working mailing-list, where we connect the different organisers around the world. There, we will discuss what we can build together !

Check the map, you are now a green dot :) You can now call yourself as part of the MyCity+20 movement.

Yours sustainably

/Any question regarding this post ? contact mycityplus20@gmail.com

How can I start my own simulation? - part1

MyCity+20 is a concept as well as an informal platform in order to motivate and support other cities to create their own simulation of Rio+20.

We share a common vision:

Young people take action in the field of sustainable development.

And we give ourselves the following mission:

Young people will be ready to tackle international sustainable development issues by simulating international summits. Young people are also given the opportunity to take action locally on SD issues.

We set for ourselves 3 goals :
1. The youth learn about global SD issues thanks to a simulation of the Rio+20 summit.
2. The youth are given the opportunity to take action in their local community.
3. The youth carry the message that they are ready to be involved in the transition towards a sustainable society.

You like our vision and mission, as well as our goals ? So does UNESCO* :)

You don't know how to start ?
The MyCity+20 team edited two documents, with UNESCO**:
- a "How to start" document, with a step by step approach.

Read them, and you will know how to be added on the map :)

Yours sustainably
/Any question regarding this post ? contact mycityplus20@gmail.com

* The content and outcome of the discussions during the negotiation simulations of the MyCity+20 initiatives and during its preparations do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of UNESCO with respect to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development.
**The draft version is still in the process of being discussed with UNESCO. UNESCO is in the process of endorsing this draft version.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

How the youth can take over Rio+20!

Rio+20 will undoubtedly be a milestone in the history of international negotiations and this represents an opportunity that must be seized in order for others to take notice of the youth and for us to be a prominent part of future conferences. 

But, how can you mobilize the youth to act in Rio+20? How can the youth be empowered to deal with sustainable development issues?

Borrowing from our experience of a simulation of the Copenhagen negotiations on climate change organized by Sciences Po in 2011, we arrived at the conclusion that giving the youth a taste of the UN negotiations was the best way to pique their interest.  In this context, we decided to organize a simulation in Paris of the upcoming conference in Rio de Janeiro this June.

Our project is thus aimed at mobilizing the youth, educating them on the urgency of sustainable development issues and encouraging them to involve themselves in the negotiation process, albeit from a distance. At our simulation, we will test new methods of negotiation and will arrive at some potential outcomes. Through our experimentation, we will come up with innovative ideas that can restructure the UN processes and restore hope in them. UNESCO, our partners in the project, will be working with our research team in developing a hypothesis for our conference. However, it is important to note that irrespective of the outcomes of our simulation, empowering the youth to take action is our main objective. If we manage to do this, we will succeed in achieving the primary goal that we have set for ourselves, i.e., that the youth is ready to play an active part in international negotiations and to shape its own future.

Through the active support of UNESCO, we have moved towards disseminating the idea globally, extending beyond Paris and France, and looking at other cities in the world. We are encouraging other cities to jump onto the bandwagon and to host their own Rio+20 simulation as we believe that our initiative is worth partaking in.

We have, so far, received an enthusiastic response from many youth organizations and universities worldwide, making us feel optimistic that the MyCity+20 movement will be a success. Currently, we have representatives in Asia (Colombo+20 and Mumbai+20), Europe (Rome+20 and Amsterdam+20) and Central America (MexicoCity+20), Africa (Kampala+20 and Kinshasa+20) who are willing to organize their own simulation of Rio+20. We at Paris+20 will provide interested cities with support; giving them ideas on how to start their own simulation; potential people to contact and overall complete flexibility in organizing their own event. Any interested cities are welcome to contact us at mycityplus20@gmail.com for further details.

The feeling that the time is ripe for the youth to take over the negotiations is being translated into action with this movement and we encourage everyone to participate in the process!

Read this article on the official UNCSD website:  http://www.uncsd2012.org/rio20/index.php?page=view&nr=699&type=230&menu=38