The UNITAR NY Office organized a two-day event, entitled “Strategic Negotiation Skills Training for Small States’ UN Representatives”, in partnership with the Commonwealth Small States Centre of Excellence at the UN Headquarters on 27-28 June 2018.
Dr. Tres-Ann Kremer, Head of Good Offices for Peace and Adviser, Commonwealth Secretariat, started a discussion about challenges in multilateral negotiations from a small state perspective. Participants took turns expressing their concerns as small state representatives. Among the issues discussed were the Missions’ limited resources and the lack of staff members able to attend events occurring simultaneously.
Dr. Roy S. Lee, Professor at Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, also addressed these challenges. He explained that regional divisions often do not encompass the beliefs of small country delegations and that gaps in communication and biased selections of topics can constrain the effective participation of small states, as their representatives struggle to attend all meetings and have their opinions heard. He provided solutions to these concerns, suggesting techniques and methods having to do with selecting subject matters, compromises and accommodations.
The next day, Professor Larry D. Johnson, Adjunct Professor of Law at Columbia Law School and former Assistant-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs at the United Nations, defined the ways in which resolutions must be drafted and submitted, touching upon coordination and sponsorship. He then went on to discuss in detail the Rules of Procedure of the United Nations and issues confronted by small states in past resolutions. No-action motions and closures of debate (Rules 74&75) were topics of intense conversation among Mr. Johnson and the representatives.
H.E. Pennelope Althea Beckles, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Trinidad and Tobago, then facilitated a presentation on negotiation strategies with a focus on small states. H.E. Diego Fernando Morejón Pazmiño, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Ecuador, led the discussion in conjunction with Ambassador Beckles, providing insight and interacting with participants. Then, participants applied the knowledge they learned over the two-day course to an open dialogue on the way forward in negotiations as small states.
A diploma ceremony followed, and participants enjoyed a short reception to conclude the course.