From January 12, 2015 to February 13, The Hague Institute and The Stimson Center conducted an online expert consultation on Global Climate Governance at the Intersection of Human Security & Justice. The E-Consult welcomed some 80 climate governance experts from more than 20 countries to exchange ideas on structural and substantive reforms needed to promote efficiency and equity in international climate governance.
The four-week consultation provided an avenue for delving deeper into key recommendations made in four climate governance research papers prepared for the Commission on Global Security Governance & Justice. It built on earlier consultations held in The Hague (November 6, 2014) and Lima (December 9, 2014) on the subject. The following questions were presented to the participants for their expert opinion:
- In which ways can the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) be reformed in order to ensure that its outputs promote ‘climate justice’? Is climate change adaptation funding the best response? How can local community (and regional) efforts to combat climate change be effectively linked with global efforts?
- Is the establishment of a transnational environmental court a feasible means of achieving climate justice and deterring anthropogenic environmental degradation? What type of mandate would make such a court effective?
- Do you think organizations like the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) should play a stronger role in climate governance than they currently do? What are the pros and cons of involving such organizations in climate governance?
- Could the World Trade Organization (WTO) do more to promote the transfer and use of Environmentally Sound Technologies (ESTs)?
- In your opinion, in which ways should the Green Climate Fund (GCF) encourage the development and transfer of ESTs? As it relates to ESTs, would a suggested climate change ombudsman (or mediating authority) be a useful institution for situations in which countries or companies refuse to transfer ESTs to developing countries?
Responding to these questions, the contributing experts shared that an effective global climate governance regime must include norms which lead to ‘social engineering’ as a means of influencing and transforming societies into adopting carbon-neutral lifestyles. Many reform ideas concerning the decision-making mechanism within UNFCCC and the participation of non-state actors in climate negotiations were presented. A number of contributors called for the need to consider a “streamlined fragmentation” of climate governance so as to allow for the different aspects of climate change to be dealt with more effectively. Additionally, it was advanced that we need to reach a global ethical interpretation of climate justice which could guide the adoption and implementation of climate actions.
Some of the recommended structural reforms for more effective global climate governance include:
- The establishment of a mechanism to monitor the implementation of UNFCCC provisions and to discipline member states who undermine the Convention. Effective disciplinary actions could include revocation of treaty membership.
- The establishment of a well-financed neutral body to advance the needs of climate change stakeholders at global fora. This could be for example, a Climate Change Ombudsman or a High Commission for Future Generations.
The write-up of the E-consult can be accessed here.