April 2014, Singapore – UNITAR’s Multilateral Diplomacy Programme (MDP) and UNDP Barbados deliver joint capacity building programme for SIDS negotiators preparing for the COP20 conference under the United Nations climate change framework. 

Climate change constitutes an enormous challenge to all nations, but its effects make Small Island Developing States (SIDS) particularly vulnerable. Some of these countries are extremely exposed to the risk of rising global sea levels, increasingly disastrous extreme weather events and other climatic changes.

Aiming to strengthen the performances of SIDS in negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC), UNITAR’s Multilateral Diplomacy Programme (MDP) and UNDP Barbados jointly organized a five day training workshop for SIDS Climate Change negotiators from 7 - 10 April 2014. The workshop was part of the larger “Capacity Building for SIDS Climate Change Negotiators” initiativefunded by the Government of Australia and implemented by UNDP Barbados and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). The face-to-face training programme followed UNITAR’s e-Learning course “Climate Change Diplomacy: Negotiating Effectively under the UNFCCC”.The most successful e-Learning participants were selected to participate in the face-to-face training workshop, where training sessions focused on applying negotiation skills in the specific context of the UNFCCC.

After having covered the substantive side of the negotiations through the e-Learning course, the face-to-face workshop included sessions on negotiations and gave participants the opportunity to try and practice their skills during negotiation simulation exercises. Informal discussions as well as simulations created a unique learning experience and prepared participants in the best way possible for their future responsibilities within international climate change fora. UNITAR’s climate change and negotiation experts, Marcelo Rocha, Rabih El-Haddad and Emily Fraser facilitated and moderated the workshop.

Having taken part in this intensive training, participants expressed that they felt more confident and well prepared for the COP20 UNFCCC conference in Lima. The training also highlighted the importance of climate change in the context of the post-2015 development agenda, and enhanced participants’ appreciation of their role in these dialogues/discussions. One participant summarized his experience of the course like this: “This is one of the most well organised and most informative capacity building programs I have attended. The interactive nature of the exercises made us learn more and the organisers were really helpful.”

UNITAR looks forward to continuing to work with UNDP Barbados, the Government of Australia and other partners to support SIDS and other UN Member States in the context of their preparations for the UNFCCC negotiations in 2014 and beyond.

For more information on this training activity, please do not hesitate to contact Ms. Emily Fraser, Specialist MDP, emily.fraser@unitar.org.