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

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