Skip to main content

This page currently contains a selection of content from the draft third edition of the forthcoming Multilateral Environmental Negotiator’s Handbook by UNEP/University of Eastern Finland (2023). The remaining content will be added when the final third edition of the Handbook is published in the coming months. The previous version of the Handbook (from 2007) can be downloaded in PDF format here.

3

3

Machinery

3.1.1

3.1.1

Rules of procedure

3.1.1.5

3.1.1.5

Credentials

Each Party shall be represented by a delegation consisting of a head of delegation and such other accredited representatives, alternate representatives and advisers as it may require. Credentials in MEA negotiations are documentary evidence of a person’s authority to formally represent a State in the negotiations.

Usually, each Party must submit to the secretariat, “if possible” not later than 24 hours after the opening of a session/meeting, the credentials of its representatives. Credentials have to be issued by the Head of State or Government or by the Minister of Foreign Affairs or, in the case of a regional economic integration organization, by the competent authority of that organization. The credentials of representatives are examined by the Bureau which submits a report thereon to the COP. Representatives are entitled to participate provisionally in the session/meeting, pending a decision by the COP on their credentials.

3.1.2.3

3.1.2.3

Financial period of the budget

The rules normally provide for a two-year period or ’biennium’.

3.1.2.5

3.1.2.5

Budget lines

Once the budget is adopted, obligations may be incurred and payments made for the purpose and up to the amount for which the appropriations were approved. Any commitments must be covered by related income unless otherwise specifically authorized by the COP. Transfers within each of the main appropriation lines may be made as well as transfers between such lines up to the limits set by the COP. Any balance remaining at the end of a budget year or at the end of a financial period is transferred to the next year or period.

3.1.2.7

3.1.2.7

Accounts and audit

During the second year of the financial period, an interim statement of accounts for the first year is provided to the COP. A final audited statement of accounts for the full period is provided to the COP as soon as possible after the closing of the accounts.

3.2

3.2

Institutional and negotiation structures

3.2.2

3.2.2

State/country groupings

3.2.2.3.3

3.2.2.3.3

JUSCANZ/JUSSCANNZ

Included in this group are Japan (J), United States (US), Switzerland (S), Canada (C), Australia (A), Norway (N) and New Zealand (NZ). On certain occasions, Andorra, Iceland, Israel, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Monaco, Singapore, Turkey and the Republic of Korea also participate in this group.

3.3

3.3

Roles

There is a range of actors in MEA negotiations, including States and observers, as well as institutional and individual roles. Their roles, authorities, and limitations are described and related issues are examined in the following section.

3.3.3

3.3.3

Presiding Officers

3.3.3.1

3.3.3.1

President/Chair of the COP

3.3.4

3.3.4

Bureau

3.4

3.4

Drafting issues

3.4.1.4

3.4.1.4

Legalese

As noted above, precise and clear use of language is generally preferable for legal drafting, including treaty and decision text. Often, the use of legal language (e.g. terms like mutatis mutandis, described below) can make a text more clear and concise. However, overuse of legal terms should be avoided if plain language suffices.

3.4.1.5

3.4.1.5

Drafting terminology

Understanding certain terminology is important to be able to keep pace with drafting discussions.

Words often used are: “square brackets,” “chapeau,” “article,” “paragraph,” “sub-paragraph”, “preamble” or “recital” and “mutatis mutandis.”

3.4.2

3.4.2

Treaties

3.5

3.5

Documents

3.6.1

3.6.1

Common strategic issues

3.6.4

3.6.4

Shaping overall negotiation outcomes

3.6.4.1

3.6.4.1

General

It is always important to keep in mind that the result of any negotiation session is almost never just a collection of outcomes on specific issues. All Parties and actors need to consider the overall balance of outcomes, that is, the degree to which individual Parties and groups of Parties have been more or less successful in achieving their objectives. Particularly at the higher official and political levels, overall outcomes need to be seen to have ‘something for everybody.’ In this respect, regional balance is consistently an important consideration, particularly with regard to developing/developed countries, but every situation is different.

Even if you are working on a specific issue, you need to consult with others, and particularly your head of delegation, on how your issue fits into the different scenarios for overall outcomes. Even if you believe that your interventions provide the most compelling rationale, you may find that the outcome on your issue will be determined more by considerations of overall balance than of substance. Therefore, it is important to be able to position negotiation objectives within a rationale for how a package of outcomes can be constructed to satisfy concerns about overall balance, as well as producing coherently integrated results which make sense at a practical level.

The bigger and more important the negotiations, the more important are macro level considerations, including timing, venue, High-level decision making, communications, leadership and vision. While these issues are clearly the domain of higher-level officials and Ministers, all members of a delegation need to consider how their issues may fit into and be affected by big picture considerations.

3.6.4.5

3.6.4.5

Communications

Communications can often be used as an effective tool to put pressure on other delegations in negotiations, particularly during high-level negotiation segments, where ministers are involved as they are more politically sensitive.

Communications tactics are also generally advantageous for those Parties or stakeholders whose positions are or can be made to appear simple and straightforward. Many Parties regularly integrate communications into their overall negotiation strategy. When communications are at issue, it may be particularly useful and important to consult and coordinate with stakeholders inside and outside the delegation.

Different types of communications are involved in negotiation settings, such as communiqués to the press, official statements made by delegation representatives, press briefings or interviews. Because of their impact and potential consequences, it is indispensable that they be authorized and cleared prior to delivery or publication by the appropriate national authority or authorities. Larger delegations will usually have dedicated press and communications officers in charge of these matters. This may not be the case for smaller delegations, which is why extra care should be placed by delegates when dealing with external or public communications.

3.7

3.7

Process issues and violations