Strategies and Variables in Prolonged International Negotiations
New Horizons in Environmental Politics series
Chapter 1: Introduction
International negotiations matter in world politics. Questions of international security, trade and the environment cannot be addressed if states do not engage in international negotiations. From the Paris and Potsdam peace treaty negotiations in the first half of the 20th Century to the ozone and climate change negotiations in the second, the last 100 years has been marked by the success or failure of international negotiations and the 21st Century looks set to be the same. Many of these negotiations, indeed many of the most significant in the post-war era, have been prolonged, stretching for years and sometimes decades. This has certainly been true for environmental and trade issues. The international negotiations on the Law of the Sea and the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations both lasted almost a decade and the most recent Doha Round of trade negotiations will surpass them both. The international climate negotiations represent one of the best examples of the phenomenon. Since the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 and the entry into force of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in March 1994, states have been engaged in a seemingly endless negotiation process. The only constant has been the continuation of the process, punctuated by agreement and acrimony. The so-called ëKyoto phaseí of negotiations, which commenced with the first Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC in 1995, and took a decade to conclude before the Kyoto Protocol ultimately entered into force at the eleventh Conference of the Parties in 2005.