Reporting on the international climate change negotiations

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UNESCO, Nairobi, Kenya

The UN negotiations on climate change provide plenty of reporting opportunities for journalists, even if they are not there in person. The outcomes of talks define what countries agree to do in order to address climate change – on adaptation, mitigation, finance and technology – and in doing so create storylines that will last for years.

Questions to ask

• How many people are in your country’s delegation to the UNFCCC talks? What are their day jobs?

• What are your national negotiators doing ahead of each negotiating session? What are their demands and what do other negotiators think about them?

• Through what process does your country decide its negotiating position, and how does it contribute to the position adopted by larger blocks of nations, such as the Africa Group?

• What is your country doing to implement the decisions that parties to the UNFCCC have already agreed?

• How much money has your country received from each of the UNFCCC funds (Adaptation Fund, Least Developed Countries Fund, Special Climate Change Fund, Green Climate Fund)? Does it have pending applications for funding?

Sources of information:

The UNFCCC secretariat’s website (www.unfccc.int) is full of important information for journalists – from the text of the convention and the Kyoto Protocol to details of the decisions that parties to the UNFCCC make each year. The site also includes each country’s national reports and detailed information on emission targets, pledges of action on mitigation, adaptation and finance.

The UNFCCC secretariat also broadcasts some negotiating sessions and press conferences live on its website, and press releases (http://unfccc.int/press/items/2794.php), factsheets and contact details of experts in each country that is party to the convention (http://maindb.unfccc.int/public/roe/.

IISD’s Earth Negotiations Bulletin (http://www.iisd.ca/process/climate_atm.htm) provides daily reports during each Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC and each Meeting of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. Journalists can subscribe to this good source of neutral information on each negotiating session.

IISD also manages the Climate-L (http://www.iisd.ca/email/climate-L.htm) email-based mailing list for news and announcements about climate policy, which is another good source of information about the negotiations.

For nongovernmental perspective, sources include the Climate Action Network (http://www.climatenetwork.org), a global alliance of more than 450 organisations. It publishes a daily newsletter called Eco (http://www.climatenetwork. org/eco-newsletters) during each UNFCCC meeting.

The Third World Network (http://www.twnside.org.sg/climate.htm) produces briefing papers and daily news updates during UNFCCC sessions.