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, subsumed under two complementary integrated Programmes:
- a primarily trust-building Oxford Fellowship Programme with an informal (high level) exchange of views and ideas
- a Training and Support Programme to enhance negotiating skills
Since 2005, there have been over 80 events in 20 countries, reaching out to well over 1700 negotiators and policy makers. Seventy-five Fellows from 30 developing countries have attended the Fellowships. The recently initiated ecbi Finance Circle, open to a broader membership, already includes over 60 members from several countries, ranging from Australia, Barbados and Brazil, to the US, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Management and Timeframe
Internal Management. The day to day running of the Initiative is managed internally through the two ecbi Lead Partners - who form an Executive Committee:
- Training and Support Programme: International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), London, UK.
Head: Achala Chandani Abeysinghe.
- Oxford Fellowship Programme: Oxford Climate Policy (OCP), Oxford, UK.
Head and Director ecbi: Benito Müller.
- Publications and Policy Analysis Unit: Oxford Climate Policy (OCP), Oxford, UK.
Head: Anju Sharma.
- Legal Response Initiative (LRI), London, UK
Head: Christoph Schwarte.
External Management. 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, co-chaired by two eminent people, from one of the European and one of developing countries participating in the ecbi.
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.
Timeframe. 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 its fourth phase.