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Global Governance Centre
06 March 2020

Exploring the potential for an international negotiation platform

More than 70 representatives of international organisations, governments, business, civil society and other stakeholders participated in "exploratory talks" on the potential for an international negotiation platform. All negotiators and interested parties are invited to contribute to a survey to inform next steps.

“Exploratory talks” on the potential for an international negotiation platform were convened on 7 February 2020 by the Global Governance Centre, in cooperation with the Graduate Institute’s Executive Education. The event brought together more than 70 participants with more than 110 registrations. Representatives of international organisations, governments, business, civil society and other stakeholders engaged, making rich interventions, and putting forward innovative ideas and fundamental questions under Chatham House Rule. 

“The talks served their purpose: a first collective exploration for an initiative focusing on negotiations and negotiators”, said Jerome Bellion-Jourdan, Senior Fellow in Residence at the Global Governance Centre and facilitator of the talks. “As we mark 100 years of multilateralism and reflect on the future of global cooperation, there seems to be a clear interest in rethinking the formats of negotiations and enhancing the capabilities of negotiators to address global challenges”.  

An anonymous survey was circulated to the registered participants as a way to complement the talks and allow as many views as possible to be expressed in confidence. While preliminary findings are made public, the survey can now be completed by all negotiators and interested parties.

 

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At this exploratory stage and building on the range of contributions, an international negotiation platform could be a means to help addressing three underlying and interconnected issues: 

  • Rethinking the format of negotiation: experimenting new forms of negotiations to bring new actors to the negotiation preparation and the negotiation table (business, civil society, but also specific groups e.g. refugees/migrants; youth); piloting cross-sectorial delegations of negotiators to build bridges between different negotiations; 

  • Enhancing negotiation capabilities: organizing peer-to-peer negotiators’ fora to share experiences and know-how; providing a safe space for negotiators with “Devising seminars” and other innovative approaches such as “Walking the negotiation” to overcome deadlocks and address challenges such as the real/perceived asymmetry of power; establishing a pool of experienced negotiators for ad hoc support to negotiations; 

  •  Gearing up negotiations towards the greater good: organizing talks by and interaction with negotiators known for their role in win-win(-win) negotiations contributing to the greater good; acting as a convening power and connector between current and past negotiators to conceive future negotiations as value creator to deliver on the ambition of “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” and to maximize the implementation of negotiated agreements against the odds. 

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Suggested next steps would include: 

  1. Exploring further the needs and possible future directions; 

  2. Initiating concrete activities before scaling up according to interest and resources; 

  3. Developing a business model and governance, which can foster inclusive participation, innovation and creativity. 

All negotiators and interested parties are invited to further engage with: jerome.bellion-jourdan@graduateinstitute.ch