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In global climate negotiations, such as the COP meetings, negotiation groups refer to nations that have similar agendas and choose to negotiate together. For example, the European Union (EU) and the G77 (group of “developing” countries) are two typical party groupings. These two groups tend to have opposing opinions at the UN climate meetings. Another ordinary group is SIDS, which stands for the Small Island Developing States.

Why negotiation groups?

Some negotiation groups, such as the EU (with 28 member states), always work together. The function of these collaborations is that they give more weight to specific issues. If countries in a group agree that one subject is the most important, the land group can bring greater attention to that issue. For this reason, it is common for groups to meet and negotiate their agendas before official climate talks. More so, party groupings can be different from meeting to meeting. It usually depends on the topics and each nation’s agenda and interests. Furthermore, negotiation groups are common in all UN meetings, not just climate-related gatherings.

Picture of flags joined together to illustrate land groups.

The G77 group

The G77 negotiation group is one of the largest groups at the climate meetings, founded in 1964 at the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The group got created by 77 developing nations that signed the “Joint Declaration of the Seventy-Seven Developing Countries”. Today, they have grown to include 134 countries. Yet, the name remained because of its historical significance.

The G77 is the largest intergovernmental organisation for developing countries within the United Nations. For example, it includes larger countries, such as Brazil. Yet smaller economies are more common, like El Salvador and Haiti. At the COP meetings, the G77 usually argue for financial support from richer and more industrialised nations to mitigate climate change and adapt to the already changing climate. It is typical for the G77 group to collaborate with China. Then, the group is called G77 + China. For example, the group has argued for “loss and damage” finance. Which refers to financial support for the consequences of climate change that many developing nations are already experiencing. Such as more extreme weather that leads to natural disasters.

The umbrella group

Another country group is known as “the umbrella group”. It is much smaller than G77 and does not have a formal list of participants. Its members are large industrial countries outside of the EU. More so, the collaboration started after the Kyoto Protocol in the 90s. The members are usually the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Kazakhstan, Norway, Russia and Ukraine.

Other examples of negotiation groups

Another example of a smaller country group is AILAC, a collaboration of nations in Latin America and the Caribbean. And the African Group, which represents 54 African nations. There is also the Arab Group and the Environmental Integrity Group (EIG). Finally, at COP21 in Paris, another group took shape. Namely, the High Ambition Coalition: a collaboration between developing and industrialised countries striving for more ambitious climate action. The group emphasises the importance of global cooperation in fighting climate change.

Examples of sources: UNFCCCEuropean parliamentHigh Ambition Coalition


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