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In global climate negotiations, such as the COP meetings, negotiation groups refer to nations that have similar agendas and chose to negotiate together. For example, the European Union (EU) and the G77 (group of “developing” nations) are two typical party groupings. In fact, these two groups tend to argue against each other at the UN climate meetings. Another usual 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 tend to give more weight to certain key issues. Meaning that if countries in a group agree that one subject is the most important, the land group is able to bring greater attention to that issue. This is why it is common for the groups to meet and negotiate their agendas before the 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. Note that negotiation groups are also common in other UN meetings that do not deal with climate change.

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. It was created back in 1964 at the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The group was 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 major countries, such as Brazil. Yet smaller economies are more common, like El Salvador and Haiti. At the COP meetings, the G77 usually argue for more financial support from richer and more industrialised nations. This is done with the aim to fight climate change but also adapt to the already changing climate. More so, it is common that the G77 group collaborates 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 poor 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. It was created by large industrialised countries that are not part of the EU, after the Kyoto Protocol in the 90s. The members are usually the US, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Kazakhstan, Norway, Russia and Ukraine.

Other examples of negotiation groups

Another example of a smaller country group is AILAC, which is a collaboration of nations in Latin America and the Caribbean. And the African Group, which represents 54 African nations. More so, there is the Arab Group and the Environmental Integrity Group (EIG). There is also the High Ambition Coalition. Which is a cooperation between both developing and industrialised nations. It was formed during the COP meeting in Paris and emphasised the importance of global cooperation. As the name suggests, the nations aim for more ambitious climate action.

Examples of sources: UNFCCC, European parliament, High Ambition Coalition


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