Logo représentant une feuille d’érable verte. Sur la feuille d’érable se trouve plusieurs images de plates et d’animaux. Il est spécifié : « Réunion d’experts sur la biodiversité – Ottawa, Canada »

Welcome to the Ottawa Expert Meeting on Biodiversity!

No text will be made available to the groups prior to the meeting; they will have to formulate, on the basis of a documentation kit sent to them before the meeting, a proposal for an international treaty on the topics of international trade in endangered species and whaling. It should be possible to eventually use the text they will create in a diplomatic conference. How will the groups legally transpose their values and the different components of the problem? Will they be able to reconcile their sometimes divergent or irreconcilable interests?

1: Overview

On this page, you will find the information and material needed to complete the biodiversity simulation successfully. Enjoy your reading!

Intended Audience

Originally created for a group of law students, the interdisciplinary nature of this simulation makes it customizable to all fields. Designed to be completed by participants who are not necessarily trained in the issue of climate change, essential information is provided to them by the organizers.

Reproduce the Simulation

We are happy to share all the documents created for this simulation in open access. You will find below a complete documentation kit for direct download. It contains tools related to the treaty, the stakeholder profiles, the staging, the preparation and the debriefing of the activity.

For more information on the development and implementation of this simulation, we invite you to consult the various sections of this page.

If you embark on this adventure, feel free to contact us to discuss it or to give us your feedback!

Quick download of the entire biodiversity simulation kit

Here you can download all the documents from the simulation. In each of the tabs, the documents will be available again, this time separated by topic, according to your preference.

2: Creation of the Activity

Learning Outcomes

The development of learning outcomes is essential to the construction of this type of activity. This preliminary reflection guides the choice and implementation of the various tools that articulate the simulation, facilitates the resolution of problems encountered and supports the success of learners.

Here are the main learning outcomes that we have established to develop the Expert Meeting on Biodiversity:

After this activity, participants will be able to:

  • Discover stakeholders that differ from the first simulation, namely the civil society (scientists, industrialists, non-governmental organizations);
  • Review, sort and use the information provided through the documentation kit;
  • Acquire the capacity to use and interpret in an advanced way certain mechanisms and principles of international environmental law;
  • Select and interpret legal tools according to a given context and specific interests;
  • Apply legal drafting methods to design technical legal provisions.

It is in this sense that we have developed an activity to raise students’ awareness of the interdisciplinary dynamics of negotiating a text in international environmental law, by confronting them with a active and experiential learning environment.

Preparation Time

Preparation beforehand: Although this may seem obvious, we recommend that you plan a few weeks to prepare for the activity. In our experience, the ideal is to allow an intensive week of research and planning. This exercise helps to achieve a thoughtful and structured activity.

Tableau rempli de notes, de suggestions et d’idées réalisé pendant une semaine de recherche intensive sur la simulation.

Preparation on the day of the activity: The preparation work to be carried out before D-Day is not to be neglected. For example, you will need to find a room adapted to the activity, gather material, prepare hard copies of the files for each group, design the technological media (Twitter feed, logos, images) and of course finalize the main tools (treaties, stakeholder profiles, powers, etc.) Time will be your enemy, be prepared!

3: General Description of the Activity

The text to negotiate: In this simulation template, there is no pre-written text to negotiate. Expert (or influencing) groups must draft a set of international environmental law provisions from scratch. These article proposals will then be discussed and negotiated at the Expert Meeting to suggest a common set of articles.

Number of participants: This simulation is planned for 6 to 30 participants divided into six expert (or influencing) groups. We recommend keeping a reasonable total number of participants (maximum 30) to facilitate the logistical organization of the activity and exchanges between participants in the classroom. To meet this requirement, the total number of participants can be divided into several sessions.

Tip! The number of expert groups can be adapted by the organizers who so wish, for example by creating new profiles.

A duration of one hour and a half to two hours and a half is required to complete the activity in class. However, it is up to the organizer to adjust the amount of time they wish to devote to the activity.

4: Structure of the Activity

The Expert Meeting consists of an out-of-class, self-preparation phase and a classroom activity phase. Here are the different steps:

Instructions: To view the description of each section, please open the tab by clicking on the title of the section you wish to view.

Day of the Activity: Negotiation in the classroom

On the day of the activity, the groups meet in person.

Tip!: This “on the spot” feedback exercise provides a quick feedback for the organizer, allowing them to make adjustments.

One week after the activity: debriefing session(s)

One week after the activity, one or more sessions may be allotted for a debriefing on the simulation, its execution and its results.

  • This strategy makes it possible to capitalize on the teaching material created during the simulation. The educator can use this content as a basis for articulating their class sessions.
  • Such a strategy creates a link between the students and the material discussed in a session, as they have created the content themselves.
  • In our case, this session consists of a class on climate change in international law, using the topics covered by the treaty under negotiation during the simulation as well as the observations produced by the participants.

5: Rules of the Activity

Tip! There are deliberately few and very simple rules to allow participants to understand them easily and to not unnecessarily complicate the activity.

The simulation has two phases:

  1. The preparation for the Expert Meeting by each expert group (approximately one week before the classroom negotiation).
  2. Classroom negotiation involving all expert groups.

To consider: The rules presented here can be adapted to ensure that the activity runs smoothly and is suitable for all types of audiences. The organizers can adapt or supplement the rules according to their needs and preferences.

Instructions: To view the description of each section, please open the tab by clicking on the title of the section you wish to view.

Instructions and resources provided to the participants

  • Each stakeholder group must identify and define its preferences in order to draft a proposal for an international treaty.
  • The articles drafted by the expert groups are guided by guidelines.
  • For each of the proposed guidelines, each expert group must draft at least one article it considers in line with its stakeholder profile orientations.
  • The specific orientations of each group are defined in the profile sheets as well as in the documents provided by the organizer of the activity.
  • Expert groups are authorized to use additional documents. However, these documents must be sent to the other groups before the start of the simulation so that they can take them into consideration.

Preparation report

  • To ensure an optimal preparation of the activity, each group of experts must prepare a report prior to the activity.
  • Each of the expert groups must reflect the preferences of their profile in the drafting of a provision. For each of the categories defined in the treaty’s guidelines, the groups must write at least one article proposal.
  • The expert groups should justify their proposals based on the data contained in the documentation kit and on the guidance given by their profile.
  • This report should not exceed 10 pages.
  • This preliminary report can be presented as a tool to evaluate students.

Phase 2 rules: Classroom negotiation

General rules concerning the adoption of the articles shall be communicated to all participants:

  • The sole objective of the Expert Meeting is the adoption of common articles.
  • One or more options for common articles may be adopted.
  • The expert groups validate the common articles by consensus and submit them to the chairperson of the meeting.

To keep in mind! The organizer is the “simulation master”! They are responsible for the proper application of the rules.

Les étudiant.e.s s’organisent pour la négociation du contenu.

6: Staging

Three main items that contribute to an immersive decorum:

  1. The room in which the activity takes place.
  2. Technological supports.
  3. Material supports.

Instructions: To view the description of each section, please open the tab by clicking on the title of the section you wish to view.

The room

Une étudiante prend des notes sur le tableau de la salle.  Aperçu de la salle CRX C230 à l’Université d’Ottawa

The choice of room is essential. Today, we have an easier access to active learning rooms. This type of space is generally perfectly suited for such activities as it strengthens student involvement and commitment. It also provides an environment that foster interactions and problem solving.

Here are some of the features it should have:

  • The room should be different from the usual classroom in order to reinforce the element of surprise and immersion for participants. They are the main actors of a diplomatic conference!
  • The room should be modular so that participants can modify the space;
  • The room should be spacious, allowing students to move around easily;
  • The room should have boards to allow participants to take notes easily and quickly;
  • The room should have technological equipment including, for example television screens, cameras, etc.

To keep in mind!: Unlike the Diplomatic Conference, the room may have less technological equipment since this simulation model is less formal.

Tip! The choice of room may vary depending on the nature of the activity. For example, you may choose a more formal room for the first simulation model (conference of the parties) while a more informal decorum is more appropriate for the second (expert meeting).

Technological supports

Un groupe d’étudiantes débattent devant un écrans projetant un fil d’actualité et utilisent leurs ordinateurs pour faciliter les discussion.

Technological supports offer opportunities that can improve the success of the activity. They create a unique staging that contributes to the immersion and experience of learners.

In post-simulation assessments, students regularly demand more technological components.

Screens and projectors: They allow to “personalize” the room and the activity. For example, they can be used to display the logo of the activity, the logo of the delegations or the negotiated text. They are an asset in terms of contextualization, and they set up, in particular, a certain formalism in the room. There are also numerous active learning rooms with multifunctional screens, which open up many opportunities for innovation.

Countdown: Displaying a time countdown on one of the giant screens in the room can be a component that helps students immerse themselves (just type “countdown” into Google, enter the desired time and put it on full screen). It establishes a kind of obligation of success for delegations, which seems to contribute to student engagement.

News Feed :

  • Creation: A news feed can contribute to the decorum of the activity. This tool provides both additional information on the topics of the meeting and clues on the nature of the different groups’ profiles. These components can be adapted to the PowerPoint format.
  • Content: In a two-hour simulation, we chose to generate an information slide every 4 minutes and 30 seconds. This corresponds to 23 slides composed of both news items and clues on the different stakeholder profiles. You can download our news feed here.

Tip! The creation of this type of tool allows the organizer to adapt to the course of the activity. Slide scrolling management can offer a good flexibility.

Material Supports

The material supports contribute to the learning experience by creating an immersive decorum and facilitating the course of the activity. In the context of the Expert Meeting on Biodiversity, we have created:

  • A logo specific to the activity.
  • A banner (of the advertising type) giving the activity an official appearance.
  • Accreditation badges to identify the members of each delegation.

You can download the files of logos, banners, power cards and accreditation badges by clicking on the icon below. (Only available in French for the time being.)


7: Treaty

Treaties (or international conventions) are the key documents for this type of activity. Since they present the content that will be negotiated by the participants, they are the main documentation source for this exercise. Their design can vary both in form and content.

Form of the Treaty

The choice of form has a significant impact on the level of difficulty of the exercise; it could allow you to change the complexity of the activity during a session. Three options are available:

Level 1 – Multiple Choices: Several versions of an article are made available to delegations. They will have to select the one that is the most consistent with their profile. This is the option used for the “Diplomatic Conference” model.

Level 2 – Cloze Test: Some key words or sentences in the articles may be removed. The choice of alternative words or expressions, as well as the justification for this choice, is left to each of the delegations.

Level 3 – Drafting From Scratch: The complete drafting of the articles may be the responsibility of the participants. In this case, the organizer will not have to design a treaty, but rather provide guidelines or a structure. This option, used for the “Expert Meeting” model, implies that the participants have acquired, beforehand, some basic knowledge of international environmental law.

The Content of the Treaty

Instructions: To view the description of each section, please open the tab by clicking on the title of the section you wish to view.


In this simulation, no fictitious treaty is given to the participants. Each expert group will have to, supported by several documents, draft its own version of an international treaty and then negotiate a shared treaty with the other groups.

Note: Since the level of difficulty is increased, this simulation requires that the participants have a better understanding of the basic knowledge.

To guide the drafting of the treaty, here are the tools we provide to the participants during the preparation phase:

The guidelines are intended to provide a framework to guide the drafting of the articles by the participants. The scenarios are the topics on which the groups will have to write their treaty proposals. In addition to these tools, there is also a documentation kit and stakeholder profiles.

Note: For this biodiversity topic, the scenarios we have developed are international trade in endangered species and whale conservation.

Preparation tips

It is useful to target scenarios according to the following considerations:

You can download the guidelines and the scenarios we have developed.

Note! You can download all the documents of the Expert Meeting on Biodiversity by clicking here.

8: Stakeholder Profiles

Several categories of stakeholders can be integrated into simulation-type activities. The choice of the kind of stakeholders depends mainly on four elements:

  1. The learning outcomes established for the activity.
  2. The number of participants and/or the room available.
  3. The playful dimension that the organizers wish to associate with the activity.
  4. The available information, which can be shared with the participants.
At the Expert Meeting on Biodiversity, participants represent the scientific communities, the private sector and non-governmental organizations.

Photo de l’accréditation du groupe d’acteurs Secteur privé A.

You can download all the stakeholder profiles by clicking below.


Note! You can download all the documents of the Expert Meeting on Biodiversity by clicking here.

9: Activity Creation Templates

A set of templates we have developed could allow you to design your own activity. As general scope theoretical tools, they can be modified and improved. If you make such changes, feel free to share them with us.

To keep in mind! Several templates have been designed to structure the logic and organization of simulation activities, both in the context of diplomatic conferences and expert meetings.

In the context of this simulation model, we have developed three templates for the purpose of designing a similar activity:

  1. A template for the theorization of the activity.
  2. A template for the creation of stakeholder profiles.
  3. A template for the creation of scenarios.

Instructions: to view the description of each section, please open the tab by clicking on the title of the section you wish to view.

Activity theorization template

This tool is used to create the conceptual boundaries of the activity. In this grid, it is possible to enter:

  1. The principles you want learners to use;
  2. The political approaches characterizing each of the stakeholder groups;
  3. The legal mechanisms to be used;
  4. Tools for writing an article.

The content and categories of this template can be adapted. However, they do provide an effective framework for the organization of a simulation of negotiation in international environmental law, i.e. to define the scope of the activity and the knowledge it requires. Once finalized, the grid can be given to the participants to guide them.


Template for the creation of stakeholders profiles

This tool was developed in order to balance the dynamics and power relations between the different stakeholders represented. The aim is to identify two main categories that make it possible to define a stakeholder profile.

In this second simulation model, we identified “the world view through the sustainable development perspective” and “the relationship to knowledge”. The first category seemed relevant to establish the shared points and specificities of each of the actors. We were thus able to define the profile of each actor through a representation based on the three pillars of sustainable development (environment, society, economy).

The second category is more specific to the learning objectives; it makes it possible to conceptualize how the different actors use available (or not) information and to theorize the activity according to the knowledge you want learners to use. This category allows to add a certain precision in the construction of stakeholder profiles.


Scenario creation template

This grid makes it easier to create scenarios in activities where participants have to negotiate a text that they write themselves. Indeed, since the groups do not have to choose between pre-existing options listed in a treaty proposal given to them, it is necessary for organizers to be able to guide the nature and scope of the items discussed. To do this, several scenarios are determined, on the one hand, according to the topic chosen, and on the other hand, according to the templates previously discussed. The creation of scenarios is essential to guide the debates, to choose the legal mechanisms raised, but also to select the supporting documents. The categories listed in this instrument may vary according to the main topic of the activity.


10: Material to download

Note! You can download all the documents of the Expert Meeting on Biodiversity by clicking here.