How to Get Countries to Agree on the Un-Agreeable: Honors 200

Nothing made me appreciate the immeasurable patience of UN negotiators more than attempting to participate in a set of negotiations myself. Acting as a representative of Nepal, I knew going in that the odds were stacked against any progress in the direction I was hoping. During the negotiations, I was struck by a possible solution to the stalemate regarding voluntary vs required emission reduction targets. I turned my name card and offered the following: a mechanism of positive incentives to encourage nations to voluntarily take sufficiently ambitious reduction commitments. Though this idea ultimately ended up stalled in our brief negotiations due to objections from the more powerful (or more inclined to intimidation and bullying, depending on your view) countries, it was an example of problem solving in the Honors 200 course. The mock negotiation put me in a realistic, high pressure situation that forced me to come up with a creative solution to the issue we were facing. It required me to synthesize my knowledge of how individual countries function, how agreements are made within the UN, and the sort of technology that could compel these countries to compromise.  The negotiations as a whole gave me a chance to apply my knowledge and then defend my ideas to representatives that did not agree. I was able to exercise my problem solving skills and invent a possibly feasible solution to a complex problem.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *