The United Nations has been the venue for terribly important negotiations concerning biological diversity, climate change, intellectual property, and matters as disturbing as human trafficking. Despite the prodigious efforts of a great many people, negotiations in virtually every arena have failed to meet goals or expected agreements. Perhaps 30,000 people will travel to Cancun, Mexico for the next round of Climate Change negotiations (already a year late from the last attempt). States’ government delegations, representatives of business, labor, indigenous peoples, non-governmental organizations, and individuals flock to the meetings with the expectation that massive meetings involving thousands of people will settle enormously complex issues involving the interests, goals and aspirations of peoples all over the world. Ordinarily it would be reasonable to assume that these efforts would be successful in each arena given the magnitude of adverse consequences human civilization is already experiencing as a result of the failure to agree.
I suggest that arranging global agreements on global problems such as climate change and biological diversity conservation is impossible when there are 192 states, thousands of organizations, thousands of indigenous nations and thousands of individuals meeting in a single room. A new approach is necessary.
Since Climate Change is essentially a problem of both global and eco-niche dimensions (as is the debate about biological diversity conservation), it is more sensible that hundreds of agreements at the eco-niche or sub-regional level get settled one at a time. Once there is a critical mass of agreements in a region there should be a regional agreement negotiated. The regional agreements, once settled should be banded together into a single global agreement (already ratified at the regional level) and affirmed by the UN General Assembly.
Piece-by-piece the problems would be negotiated and settled.
Yes, it would take some time, but let’s be realistic: It is already taking more than two decades to arrange global agreements.
Shift gears and recognize that global problems are truly local. Make the local agreements and then build the global consensus.
A much better idea than trying to get agreement between thousands of self-interested individuals, governments and organizations that have no basis for compromise or agreement. Organize agreement between those most directly affected at every local or sub-regional level… settle the problem and move on to implementation in all of the various ways implementation is appropriate.