Civil society involvement has grown to become an integral part of the UN negotiatingprocess. The side events at the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) are today the most visible componentof and the only formal avenue of civil society involvement in international climate negotiations. This study assesses the extent to which side events effectively: a) provide input to the negotiations and b) contribute to the construction of the climate regime. Through surveying organisers of and participants in side events as well as COP delegates, we have analysed i) who attends side events, ii) why they attend them, iii) why organisations arrange side events, and iv) the outcome of side events.
We distributed a questionnaire to all organisers of side events at COP 13 and the participants in twenty of the 200 side events held in Bali in November 2007. In addition, we also surveyed a strategic sample of the 10,800 participants at COP 13, receiving a total of nearly 1,100 responses.
This report concludes that the side events fulfil the broader official objective of benefitingCOP participants, as these events are rated of high value across all participant groups and geographical categories. Negotiators were by far the most important target audience of all categories of side events, followed by representatives of UN organisations and researchers. Organisers considered the G77 plus China to be the most important Party groupings to reachin all categories of side events.
The average number of side event participants was 82. The attendance at mitigation side events was 42% higher than at adaptation events. However, more negotiators and governmentrepresentatives attended adaptation side events, whereas there was very little media andbusiness and even less NGO and researcher presence at adaptation compared with mitigationevents. If we up-scale the results of this survey, approximately 1,400 of the 3,500 Party participants attended side events.
The study indicates high side event participation from countries with large economies,countries near the COP venue, and the host country. Three of eight side event participants were NGO representatives. About one quarter of the participantsconsisted of negotiators or government representatives. Each side event was attended by anaverage of seven negotiators, 14 government representatives, eight business representatives, seven UN/IGO representatives, and three media representatives. Business representatives.
Linköping: Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research , 2008. , 55 p.