Inside Out COPs: Turning Climate Negotiations Upside Down

By now it is known that COP25, the latest UNFCCC conference of the parties (COP) and the longest in history, could not achieve its intended outcomes, as negotiators failed to agree on the core issues, thus pushing further away the implementation of the Paris Agreement. COPs that overrun, since it is now a standard practice to drag negotiations into overtime, appear an extremely inefficient process, which is not helped by the arcane language of the adopted texts. We argue that it is time to rethink the entire process and propose the concept of ‘inside out COPs’. This proposal affirms that actions on the ground to implement the Agreement should be given greater prominence than political negotiations agreeing to a patchwork of compromises over its rulebook for implementation. The many actors, including civil society, private companies, cities, universities, indigenous communities, youth and others pressing for action, should be put at centre-stage, which will allow for space to deliver results on the ground, as opposed to fetishising the skilful weaving of texts run through with constructed ambiguities.


Shahrin Mannan, Saleemul Huq and Mizan R. Khan

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