“Maps are useful as you can use this to see where you are in relation to others” said Professor Charles Sampford of the Institute for Ethics, Governance and Law (Griffith University) at the launch of an interactive digital map of the international climate regime based on the United Nations Framework Convention Climate Regime (UNFCCC) at The Hague Institute on 22 June.
The genesis of the project arose from the observation that weaknesses in the climate framework at the international level are exacerbated by and reinforce climate management weaknesses at the sub-national and regional levels, hindering efforts to devise an international climate change framework.
Responding to this, the map presents a comprehensive overview of the connections between the different parts and levels of the framework to help reveal how the climate institutions are nested inside each other, how they interact with other parts of the system and their associated strengths and weaknesses.
The map is based on the ‘integrity’ concept, which judges how well institutions understand and carry out their role in the system as well as how others perceive the performance of the institution in question. While no institution in the regime achieved full integrity the research suggested most understood their role – but only 50% thought they fulfilled it successfully, Dr. Tim Cadman, Research Fellow at Griffith University and one of the key people behind the map, revealed. The map hopes to utilize this concept of institutional performance in order to expose the relative ‘thickness’ and ‘thinness’ of various parts of the climate regime governance and suggest areas that need more attention in order to improve the performance of the regime as a whole.
Having discussed the concepts behind the map, Mr. Boyd Rotgans from LUST, the Dutch graphic design practice responsible for the map development itself, presented the map, demonstrating how users can interact with it to explore the climate governance regime. He discussed its utility for policymakers and negotiators at the upcomingCOP21 conference in Paris and showed how the map will track users’ interactions to indicate areas of debate during the talks. This data will also feed back into the research behind the map and will be used for assessing the thickness and thinness of the regime.
The audience was very active throughout the presentation, asking some very detailed and at times technical questions to the panel. The map is expected to be released to the public in September 2015 and go through 2 months of fine-tuning before being presented at COP21 in December in Paris, where it is hoped it will help contribute to the success of negotiations and the drafting of a comprehensive climate change framework.