“All for one and one for all, united we stand divided we fall.”
The greatest challenge in the pursuit of any global management of environmental issues lies with the present economic disparity between developed and developing nations and risks that are associated with an adoptive stance to reform. Our dire reality of environmental challenges, including the effects of the use of chlorine, is not a coincidence, but the summation of our past and present reality and experience. Our position, interests, and policies are shaped by various biased prism, which leads to our respective reality then unto call for action or lack thereof. In parallel, our UNEP working group delegates (“the Working Group”), whether a nation or an NGO, have been influenced by economic, social, and cultural values and experience that have sculpted their disposition of negotiation proposals.
Although globalization has introduced significant progress in economic welfare as a whole, vast amounts of people in developing countries are suffering from economic inequality: deficit in health, education, and standard of living. Unless all international bodies and Working Groups are cognizant of this truth and alleviate these conditions, any environmental effects will not be sustainable nor reap material advancements. Hence, it is essential that international environmental negotiations devise the means to consider economic and social impacts of globalization. We need to be mindful of others’ frame of reference and free flow of expert information to adequately comprehend both the “push” (the demand) and the “pull” (the resistance) are originating from.
Although we as a global community has become more interdependent than ever, the irony rests in the fact that sovereign nations and NGOs are still self-centered and localized benefits are keenly sought. In the wake of urgent environmental challenges, we need to reassess our self-centric demands and establish interlinked international institutions and systems to think and implement long-term minded environmental mandates and not just hedge for an upcoming shareholders meeting announcements.
Given the complexity of diverse and competing economies, politics, and interests among the representative of the Working Group, the foundational requirement for any successful international negotiation is a firm commitment by the Parties to create binding rights and duties. While the recommendations have been formulated by the Working Group, it must be executed by states or international organizations with treaty-making powers. In conjunction, it is vital that any implementation of these treaties ought to be accompanied by performance measurements and enforcement mechanisms.
An international Working Group can be quite frustrating to belabor with, but the international community, both nations and NGOs, must take a proactive role to strengthen their ties and understanding to process and overcome environmental challenges with resolved cooperation. There are profound theoretical and utilitarian clashes among nations and NGOs, and each environmental challenge is unique, but the global community can acquire lessons from their accumulated collaboration into present missional challenges. In spite of tensions and controversies, all entities must learn to cooperate in saving the environment, more importantly, the continual existence of man.
We should re-measure our priority of economic growth and global competitiveness by assessing the quality of economic growth, more importantly, the impact this so-called growth is incurring. We should seek to obtain more broad-based growth with others’ interests and concerns in mind.
While the complexities within managing the global use of chlorine makes a complicated task, but there are prospects for both deeper understanding and international cooperation within these intricacies. Competing claims with any given issue augment the difficulty of reaching consensus among involved parties, but there are economic and diplomatic channels, along with the expertise of NGOs, to close the gap of misinformation and validating other parties’ conceptual “borders,” i.e., their respective worldview.
The direct or indirect borders can arise from respective economic status, nation vis-à-vis international political role(s) it assumes, or an existing paradigm of priority where environmental challenges lie. However, it was clear in the Negotiation simulation, where there is a resolved commitment to construct recommendations for change, we can expect fruition of answers to our challenges amid an impasse, debates, and different positions and interests.
As Mutual Gains Approach encourages, to develop cooperative and effective long-term policies, all delegates to the negotiation must be intentional to create as much value as possible for all parties to the negotiation. Suitable values are created when the means and the ends to the solutions are mutually favorable. To effectuate such, negotiating parties must concede that the delegates to the negotiation value differently and expand their understanding in the pursuit of collaborative resolutions. This portends that any party’s pursuit of its own interest is substantially codependent on integrating the interests of all those whom have stakes in the issue at hand, especially those that are not directly represented at the negotiation table. “All for one and one for all, united we stand divided we fall.” Our very existence depends on it.
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