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Political Landscape

Participation in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

Welcome to the issue of the political landscape in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This section starts out with an introduction to participation from civil society during negotiations and why civil society plays a vital role to ensure transparency and legitimacy and holding governments accountable and pre-2020 action for climate justice. Next, it focuses on the role of the EU and the USA and their roles and goals within the UNFCCC. 


  1. Participation

    1. What is a good process

    2. The role of civil society

    3. Example of civil society making demands

    4. Agendas

    5. Accessibility for observers 

  2. Pre-2020

    1. Pre-2020 action

  3. European Union 

    1. What the EU must do to lead climate talks

    2. EU targets too low

    3. Understanding EU 2030 targets 

  4. United States

    1. Role of the US in international negotiations

    2. US and negotiations 

Intro to 25 years of the  UNFCCC

By: COA Earth in Brackets, November 2015

This video gives an introduction to the UN climate talks both from a historical and political point of view. The video leads up to the climate talks in Paris in 2015. Third World Network Director, Chee Yoke Ling, reminds us that when talking about responsibility we must go back to the industrial revolution and remind ourselves who became wealthy using common space. These countries are not the same as the ones now already suffering from climate change and with no capacity to respond to extreme events.


Cancun Can Deliver a Good Outcome, but only from a Good Process

Various climate groups, December 2010
Paper, 4 pages

This brief focuses on the importance of fair and inclusive processes and reflects on historical responsibility. By referring to a lack of transparency and democratic processes at the Copenhagen conference in 2009, the brief urges the negotiations in Cancun to work from the “bottom-up” and follow the established UN practices. The brief underlines and explains why key elements to a good process are: democracy, inclusiveness, and transparency.

Bonn Brief #3: Civil Society Participation

By: various climate groups, June 2011

This brief focuses on the essential role of civil society in the UNFCCC negotiations. It highlights why civil society participation increases legitimacy, can hold governments   for decisions, and are valuable as a technical and political resource especially for countries with limited capacity. The brief is focusing on the importance of access to civil society during COP17 negotiations in Durban and why a democratic conference and the inclusion of civil society is integral for achieving a science- and equity-based outcome. Focus on access to documents and proposals, rights of participation, and transparency on rules and dispute resolutions.

A Letter to Ministers and Negotiators who Care about People and the Climate

Signed: Social movements,farmers, organizations, civil society groups, faith based organizations, youth,  indigenous peoples, NGOs and networks present at UNFCCC CoP18 in Doha, Qatar
List of demands

This letter from Cop18 in Doha, Qatar (2012) make strone demands on governments. The civil society groups list requirements for “A rules-based system of pollution control” and “A mobilization of resources from developed countries to fight climate change and its impacts.

Bonn Brief #2: Agenda Fight

By: Various climate groups, Bonn 2011

The brief focuses on the issues of agendas skewed against developing countries as well as against agreed rules. As the agendas play a large role in determining the outcome of agendas, the brief explains why fair and balanced agendas are important for the future of the UN climate system. The brief explains actions taken by different stakeholders and countries, issues of democracy, and why biased agendas would make the Durban negotiations a disaster.

Observers barred as negotiations finally begin

By: Third World Network, October 20th 2015

Update, 3 pages

This Third World Network update focuses on the negotiations in Bonn in October 2015 where Japan objected to observers’ presence in spin-off groups. The update focuses on questions of effectiveness, transparency, and the process of negotiations and final texts.

5 Reasons to Allow Observers in Negotiations

October 2015, Bonn

5 reasons why observers 1: are needed for transparency in negotiations; 2: bring their knowledge and enrich negotiations; 3: supports certain groups; 4:  keep negotiators accountable; 5: and help shape the future.


Climate Justice Brief: Pre-2020 Action

Various climate groups, June 2015

A call for action in Bonn 2015, listing the concrete terms necessary for the COP21 in Paris to deliver what is needed to have credibility and relevance.  The briefs talks about why there’s a need for fair shares and immediate action.

European Union

Can the EU lead? Can the EU be a leader again in global climate change talks?

By: Campagna per la Riforma della Banca Mondiale (CRBMn, Italy), Christian Aid, Eurodad, Friends of the Earth England, Wales, and Northern Ireland (FOE EWNI), Friends of the Earth US (FOE US), Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), Jubilee SOuth Asia/Pacific Movement on Debt and Development, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), Third World Network (TWN), Tianjin - 10 October 2010

In this brief from 2010, various climate groups list what the EU must to to reclaim its role as a leader in the global climate talks. The brief states that this solution must be multilateral and the EU must commit to the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol and must demonstrate that the EU can lead by example.

Bonn Brief #9: Earth to EU: Time to step up

By: Africa Trade Network, Friends of the Earth (EWNI),, Nord-Sud XXI, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), Young Friends of the Earth Europe, June 2011

This brief highlights how the EU has lower targets than it is capable of reaching and urges the EU to step up. The brief asks the EU to recognise its responsibility and existing commitments, and to take the lead on finance.

Understanding the EU’s 2030 Target

Obtained from, October 2014

This note provides an overview of the EU’s 2030 Climate Pledge. The note argues that the current EU goals are too weak, below capability and does not align with globally agreed goal of 2C. The note questions whether the EU’s current position conforms to the principle of equity and quotes Professor Kevin Anderson on the inadequacy of EU targets.

The United States

What role for the US?

By: Various Climate Justice groups , June 2010

Paradigms, Leadership, The United States

This article looks into the role of the US as the only Annex 1 country left to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. As the Kyoto Protocol in 2010 was the only international instrument with legally binding emission targets, is asks how countries should respond to the US’ proposal to create a new paradigm for climate negotiations.

An Inconvenient Truth: United States Refuses to Negotiate

By: Various climate justice groups, April, 2011

This article focuses on the climate talks in Bangkok in 2011 where the United States states that it was unwilling to negotiate its contribution to cut emissions and curb climate change. This was clearest way the US has shared its intention of not engaging in international negotiations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The article focuses on the role of diplomacy, commitment and compliance. And finally, what to do with the United States?

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