Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



This Article looks at how these difficulties might be remedied to allow Latin America to lead the world to a robust anti-deforestation agreement. Part I provides a concise background on the REDD talks at the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference, which serves as a useful illustration of the substantive and procedural challenges in the ongoing deforestation negotiations. It identifies the main stakeholders at the climate talks and the camps in which national delegations organized themselves at Copenhagen. It then reviews the major substantive roadblocks in the REDD negotiations and identifies a series of analytical, ideological, and structural barriers that impeded significant progress on forests at Copenhagen. We suggest that these barriers necessitate the formation of an active and forward-looking Latin American coalition on forests. Part II discusses the reasons why forming a coalition is in Latin American countries' interest. Beyond the general advantages obtained by pooling resources and negotiating strength, Part II explores the regional ecology, global politics, potential first-mover advantage, and the possibility of capacity building within the region. We conclude that the establishment of an authoritative regional coalition would ensure that, when the REDD framework is decided, Latin America is present at the table and able to maximize the benefits that the region receives. Part III suggests a two-pronged approach, including a specialized, high-level facilitator to aid Latin American countries in forming a coalition and a three-step model of coalition building. For the coalition-building model, we argue that Latin American countries should form a regional "Core Group" dedicated to forest protection, manage any potential obstructionists or spoilers, and deepen the Core Group's commitment through relationship-building and knowledge-transfer measures. The Article concludes with a discussion of the payoffs for the region and the global climate talks.