21 October 2011, New York, United States of America The United Nations Institute of Training and Research (UNITAR) organized a two-day workshop on Environmental Negotiations and Climate Change Diplomacy on the 20 and 21 of October at the Office of the Permanent Observer of the African Union to the United Nations, as part of the 2011 Negotiation Series “Towards a level playing field” organized in collaboration with the Olof Palme Memorial Fund. Through participatory and simulation exercise, developed by Yale University professors, the workshop helped participating delegates grasp the latest and most dynamic issues of global climate change negotiations. 

Yvonne Lodico, UNITAR NYO, opened the workshop cautioning, though the politics of climate change negotiations are difficult, environmental concerns require progress. Prof. Benjamin Cashore from Yale University confirmed this advise, and provided a riveting synopsis of the various perpectives that delegates will hear in Durban.. Next, a group of experts, introduced the roles of science and technology on climate change mitigation and adaptation. Mr. Friedrich Soltau, Sustainable Development Officer at the UN DESA emphasized the climate solutions in balance of economic, environmental and social aspects and proposed the near zero waste ecological regeneration as a long term sustainability solution. Mr. Alexander de Sherbinin from Colombia University demonstrated the global emission projections and the challenges required to stabilize climate change. The consequences of failure in meeting climate stabilization may result in climate related migration due to uneven climate impact across the world. Furthermore, Ms. Elina Palm from the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction discussed the co-benefits of disaster reduction and climate change adaptation. Finally, Mr. Rama Rao from the World Intellectual Property Organization discussed expanding technology access to the poor through technology transfer.

Featured policy experts gave an excellent brief on issues raised from previous and ongoing climate change negotiations as well as expected results of the Durban Conference in November 2011. As a former negotiator, Mr. Mohammad Reza Salamat from the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Change Support Team explained the stakes of the Durban conference. Amb. Staffan Tillander, Sweden’s Ambassdor for Climate Change, advised that significant solutions are possible by working within issues and sectors. Mr. Thembela Ngculu from South Africa explained the role of the host country in international negotiations, and stressed that his country’s preference for harmony of nature approach. Mr. Jorge Laguna-Celis from the Mexican Mission shared the outcomes of Cancun Conference in setting the institutional framework for the successful global regime.