A key limitation of the UN climate change negotiations is the lack of a level playing field between delegations, both North-South, and South-South. Another major obstacle lies in mutual misunderstanding and a lack of trust, particularly between industrialised and developing countries.
The European Capacity Building Initiative (ecbi) was launched in 2005 to overcome these limitations and obstacles through a number of capacity and trust building activities. The Initiative has three main areas of work:
- A trust-building Oxford Fellowship Programme to promote an informal (high level) exchange of views and ideas.
- A Training & Support Programme to enhance negotiating skills, particularly of new negotiators.
- A Publications & Policy Ananlysis Unit, to support the two Programmes with the provision of information and advice.
The ecbi Finance Circle, open to a broader membership, includes over 60 members from several countries, ranging from Australia, Barbados and Brazil, to the US, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The day to day running of the Initiative is managed by an Executive Committee, with the following members:
- Achala Chandani Abeysinghe, International Institute for Environment and Development, London, UK.
- Benito Müller, Oxford Climate Policy, Oxford, UK.
- Anju Sharma, Oxford Climate Policy, Oxford, UK.
- Christoph Schwarte, Legal Response Initiative, London, UK.
Strategic guidance and quality control is provided from outside the ecbi Membership by the participating government Partners. Strategic guidance for the content of the Initiative is given by an Advisory Committee, with the following Members:
Developing Country Members
Co-Chair Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu (Democratic Republic of Congo)
Pa Ousman Jarju (Honorary Member)
Mohamed Nasr (Egypt), ex-officio (Africa Group Chair)
Gebru Jember (Ethiopia) ex-officio (LDC Group Chair)
Stella Gama (Malawi)
Centrally Managed Activities
Communication with the target participants of the ecbi is crucial to the success of the initiative. Certain communication activities - such as the selection of participants for the Training and Support Programme and Fellowships - are most efficiently carried out at Programme level. Other centrally managed administrative activities are the provision of support to the ecbi Committees, producing the Annual Reports, managing the ecbi database and website, supporting the independent evaluation process, and representational functions during the UNFCCC sessions.
The ecbi began with a one-year pilot phase (2005) and a two-year 'proof-of-concept' phase (2006-7). In 2008 the ecbi established itself as a longer-term European instrument for the sustained building of developing country negotiation capacity through a second Phase (2008-2011). Phase III ran from 2011-2015. ecbi is currently in the fourth phase.