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Set up of the negotiation session

Negotiations are often more effective if they take place in smaller working groups per topic instead of in large plenary sessions with over 190 countries and their representatives (see also Sect. 2.3.2). The small groups consist of issue specialists and communication can be less formal and more direct than in a plenary. At COP sessions, negotiations largely take place in technical working groups with specialists from country delegations. The working groups are always established with a balanced representation from developed and developing countries. These groups prepare negotiation texts for presentation to and approval by the COP plenary.

However, while such a working group approach may generally be effective, it must be avoided, as the Copenhagen climate negotiations in 2009 showed, that some countries feel excluded from the process. This can create suspicion that deals are hammered out by the smaller groups based on their criteria, rather than on criteria of the wider international coalition that is aimed at. In Copenhagen, this resulted in a refusal by some countries to adopt the Copenhagen Accords. At next COP sessions, Presidents assured countries that negotiations would be inclusive, which was specifically illustrated by the set-up of most of the COP negotiations in Durban in 2011, in the form of the traditional Indaba work sessions (see Chap. 5).

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