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Synergies between UNCTAD and UNFCCC – potentials, obstacles, consequences
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Department of Water and Environmental Studies.
2007 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Magister), 20 points / 30 hpStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Climate change is a complex and multidimensional issue that encompasses not only environmental problems but also political, socio-economic and cultural challenges as well. Moreover, major shifts in the weather patterns caused by the anthropogenically induced global warming may have significant impacts on the global economy and international trade in particular. However, the effects of climate change will be distributed unevenly around the world and the poorest nations will be affected the most due to their higher vulnerability. Additionally, the winners and losers nexus will probably differ between the time of mitigation efforts and reality of adaptation process. These issues will create more complications in the relations between developed countries (global North) and developing nations (global South). Therefore, if multilateral treaties and institutional arrangements regarding climate change are to be effective and acceptable to all parties, there is a need to deal with problematic of global warming as a whole, including the issues of development and international trade in particular. A concept of synergy is a strategy that could allow building a mutual cooperation between climate change and international trade regimes. It is important to emphasize that the synergy is understood here not as a simple cooperation of two separate parts, but as combined efforts which final effect is greater than a sum of individual parts working separately.

Thus, the aim of this study was to trace and analyze linkages between the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in order to determine potentials, obstacles and consequences of synergies between these two organizations. The linkages – that are prerequisites of synergies – between the two organizations were traced within the four key areas: institutional capacity, political dimension, conceptual basis and recommendations for actions. The research was conducted based on the case study that allowed investigation of synergies as a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context. A broader understanding and clearer conclusions regarding synergies were achieved through the method of interpretation called hermeneutic circle. The world-systems and dependency theory together with a historical background of the two respective institutions became a pre-understanding of examined issues during the analytical process.

The biggest potentials for establishing synergies between UNCTAD and UNFCCC were found within currently existing institutional linkages based on affiliation with the United Nations system of institutions, as well as on research and capacity building regarding the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Whereas obstacles were visible in: the North-South paradigm (or core-periphery in terms of the world-systems theory); the winner-loser division – particularly when it comes to CDM projects and adaptation to climate change impacts – visible not only on the North-South line of relations but also the South-South as well; and environmental aspects vs. economic benefits (what is the priority: climate protection or continuation of development). Conclusions of this study allowed envisaging three potential outcomes of synergies between UNCTAD and UNFCCC. Additionally, three alternative scenarios were suggested based on the aspiration to balance influences of the North and the South – a tactics that could make mitigation efforts and adaptation strategies successful for the benefits of all, rich as well as poor.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Tema vatten i natur och samhälle , 2007. , 60 p.
Keyword [en]
climate change, international trade, development, regime, synergy, linkages
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-9397ISRN: LIU-TEMA/VMPWLS-D--07/006OAI: diva2:23899
2007-05-14, Asklepios, Temahuset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, 58183 Linköping, 10:00
Available from: 2007-06-25 Created: 2007-06-25

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