Global Negotiations Unit, Part Four
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Simulation Set-Up – Part Two
As a high level OAS advisor to the Mexican government, you have been asked to observe and offer input on the vital negotiations about to unfold in Toronto. As you sit down to meet with the senior diplomat on the Mexican delegation, they explained what had transpired thus far in the negotiations to you as follows.
The Home Office in Mexico City greatly appreciated the advice you offered regarding the negotiations unfolding in Toronto. However, as you well know, even with strong preparation, sometimes circumstances on the ground throw everything into tumult. Such was the case during the opening session, which just concluded. We will ask you to consider how we might best proceed in anticipation of the second, and final, negotiating session for the brief, yet significant, Toronto conference.
The opening session began with a surprise, as the President of Mexico appeared as the lead representative of her nation’s delegation. After some welcoming remarks from the Canadian Prime Minister, she asked for permission to speak first, given other pressing matters of state. The Nigerian lead negotiator, feeling that it violated the protocols of our coalition, which had selected Nigeria to take the lead in the negotiation, insisted upon speaking first, taking a sharp tone in doing so. The Mexican leader looked as if she took it as a personal slight. As the Nigerian delegate delivered his remarks, she could be seen talking in an animated manner with representatives from other major nations in our coalition. For whatever reason, the Nigerian delegate then turned to her and asked her to be quiet and wait for her turn to speak. The hostility between the two of them was clear to everyone in the room. The Nigerian delegate argued for the nations who had exported their wastes to his nation to pay into a fund, to be administered by the national government, to repair the considerable damage that had been done. He did not mention Mexico at all during his presentation.
When the Mexican leader finally rose to address the group, she also argued passionately for the industrialized powers to take responsibility for the damage they have done to less developed nations who have been the recipients of their hazardous waste shipments. She specifically referenced the need not only for a significant fund to repair the damage, but for better regulation of dumping, as well as the low cost transfer of green disposal technology to developing nations. The Mexican President said that if countries would not take responsibility for such actions, she would make public some major misdeeds. As she made this comment, the delegates from the E.U. and the U.S. began to speak quietly to each other, as did the delegates from the China and Nigeria.
The leader of the delegation from the United States spoke next. She emphasized that, while the U.S supported continued efforts to minimize the impact of hazardous waste on the environment, the political climate in the U.S. Senate made ratification of the Basel Convention highly unlikely. She also indicated that while the U.S. understood the utility of sharing emerging technology in this area, there was also great concern with how to secure the intellectual property rights of U.S. companies. The good news she had to offer was that a number of domestic non-profit organizations were potentially eager to become involved in funding pilot programs to test implementation of available technologies. In addition, prior to the start of the first session, the member of the U.S. delegation asked if they could meet with us to help form a backchannel to Nigeria. After the interactions between the Mexican President and the Nigerian delegation, it is not clear whether their assistance is still considered to be of value, as the Mexican President is still considering having her nation withdraw from the talks, after the open disrespect from the Nigerian delegate, which she clearly felt was a function of her gender.
The head of the European Union delegation spoke next, emphasizing a need to establish stronger international norms, such as implementation of the Basel Convention. While he spoke to a need to assist in funding projects designed to improve storage and cleanup in recipient nations, the delegate from Brussels emphasized the need to properly assess those costs first, before assigning burdens to particular nations. He also offered a vaguely worded apology for past bad practices to recipient nations, pledging that European Union nations would do better going forward. However, our diplomats on the ground reported that the E.U. delegation was strongly split on approaches to hazardous waste policies. They also reported that rumors were persisting that several European based companies were involved in the environmental disaster in Nigeria, as well as in Mexico.
Finally, the lead delegate from China spoke. He spoke softly and briefly. He spoke of how China had suffered from bad practices of foreign companies and how his nation was committed to leading the way in addressing environmental challenges in areas such as hazardous waste. He was indirectly critical of the past of actions of U.S. and European companies, but praised the European Union for embracing the Basel Convention. However, he called upon both U.S. and European companies to share relevant technology, acknowledging that those parties had unique contribution to make. He closed by noting that China was willing to be a part of any constructive solution, but the major share of the burden should be taken on by those nations whose companies have done meaningful harm. He also argued that among major powers, China was one of the few nations with clean hands on this issue.
Of course, our analysts back in Mexico found the Chinese representative’s comments especially interesting, given that our intelligence ministry had discovered that it was not only European nations involved in the Nigerian disaster, but several Chinese companies as well. Given the robust Chinese investment in many sectors of the Nigerian economy, such information could be quite volatile, implicating the interests of numerous significant interests. We have kept this knowledge secret until now, waiting until the time was right to use it to our best advantage. How to play such a valuable card is only one of several questions that we are posing to you as a trusted advisor. Adding a level of complication is the unsettled nature of our delegation, given the hostile interactions between the head of the Nigerian delegation and the President of Mexico. It is not certain that the Mexican President is even convinced that it is worthwhile to continue multilateral negotiations at this point.
The Assignment – Part Two
Please write a memo of 800-1000 words, offering advise as to how we should approach discussions with each of the other parties at the table: Nigeria, the U.S., China, and the European Union. Consider techniques related to some, but not all, of the following concepts: Empowered and disempowered negotiators, cultural and gender differences in negotiations, recalibration of BATNA, creating win-win opportunities, and bundling and unbundling of significant interests and positions.
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