The objective of this summit meeting is to sign an international convention on climate change. Environmental protection is at the heart of our concerns. The adoption of a treaty is a key objective. However, each delegation is motivated by its own considerations. Ideological positions differ and guiding interests diverge. Will delegations be able to reach a common agreement while meeting their individual objectives?
On this page, you will find the information and material needed to reproduce the Climate Change simulation. Enjoy your reading!
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.
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.
If you decide to embark on this adventure, feel free to contact us to discuss it or to give us your feedback!
Here you can download all the documents from the simulation. In each of the simulation tabs, the documents are also available by theme, if you wish to download a document separately.
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 Diplomatic Conference on climate change:
After this activity, participants will be able to:
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 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.
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!
The text to negotiate: The objective of the activity is to negotiate an international environmental law treaty addressing climate change. This treaty has 12 articles open for negotiation, each containing between 3 and 6 options to be discussed by the participants. The delegations must agree on one option for each article.
Number of participants: This simulation is intended for groups of 6 to 30 players divided into 6 delegations. 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, several simulation sessions can be organized if there is more than one group.
Tip! The number of delegations can be adapted by the organizers who wish to do so by creating, for example, 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.
One week before the activity, each delegation receives the following documents:
48 hours before the classroom negotiation:
On the day of the activity, the delegations meet in person.
Tip! This « on-the-spot » feedback exercise provides the organizer with a quick feedback, allowing them to make adjustments.
One week after the activity, one or more sessions may be allotted for a debriefing on the simulation, its execution and its results.
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:
Instructions: To view the description of each section, please open the tab by clicking on the title of the section you wish to view.
This position is defined in the corresponding area’s profile sheet and in the documents provided by the organizer of the activity. Delegations can also rely on the Stockholm Declaration (1972) and the Rio Declaration (1992).
General rules regarding how to adopt a provision of the treaty under negotiation shall be communicated to all participants:
To keep in mind!
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 are free to adapt or supplement the rules according to their needs and preferences.
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.
There are five characteristics:
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 (Diplomatic Conference) while a more informal decorum is appropriate for the second (Expert Meeting).
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.
Creation: A Twitter feed (based on real or fictional tweets) can contribute to strengthen the staging of the activity. This tool can, for example, be used to trigger special events or to provide – optional – additional information. Several online platforms offer the possibility of creating fake tweets. These can be adapted to a PowerPoint presentation.
Content: In a two-hour simulation, we chose to generate a fake tweet every 5 minutes. This means 20 tweets from the political, journalistic and non-governmental sectors. It was also an opportunity to introduce our events that have an impact on the time remaining. You can download the Twitter feed here.
Tip! The creation of this type of tool allows the organizer to adapt to the course of the activity. The management of Tweets and events offers a certain flexibility.
The material supports contribute to the learning experience by creating an immersive staging and facilitating the course of the activity. In the context of the Diplomatic Conference on climate change, we have created:
You can download the files of logos, banners, power cards and accreditation badges by clicking on the icon below.
Treaties are the key documents for this type of activity. They are also called international conventions. Since they present the content that will be negotiated by the different groups, they are the main documentary source for this exercise. Their design can vary both in form and content.
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.
Many thematic options are available for creating the treaty, even when only looking at the field of environmental law: climate change, biodiversity, water management, air quality, waste flow regulation, forest, etc.
To keep in mind! In some cases, specific learning outcomes may lead to the create your own provisions.
Tip! It is useful to design a “master version” of the document to assist the organizer in supervising the activity. This includes the key concepts of each article, the sources of the different options, etc.
You can download the draft agreement that we have developed by clicking on the icon below.
Many categories of stakeholders can be integrated into simulation-type activities. The choice of these stakeholders depends on four elements:
The six stakeholder groups of the Diplomatic Conference on Climate Change are regional delegations: Africa, North America, Latin America, Western Asia, Asia-Pacific and Europe.
You can download all stakeholder profiles by clicking on the icon below.
Several strategies can be implemented to make the activity more engaging and immersive. To this end, we have developed two main items:
Events common to all participants during the activity.
These elements are not only playful components; they also aim to simulate specific mechanisms and dynamics present in real international negotiations.
Powers are “disruptive elements” from which each delegation benefits, individually, during the simulation. Several characteristics make up (or can make up) for the nature or use of this game mechanics.
Characteristics of powers:
Use of powers:
Tip! A strong power can be attributed to a group with influence. The North American delegation has been given the “Vice Versa” power, which allow to overturn a vote.
To enhance staging and immersion, these powers can be designed and printed on paper. See below for an example of the power cards we use.
For the Diplomatic Conference on Climate Change, we developed six different powers because six delegations took part in the activity. The cards we have created include a description of the power and a contextual description of what this power represents in the world of international negotiations.
After developing delegation-specific powers and performing the simulation several times, we realized that participants often completed the negotiation within the allotted time. However, time is often running out in international negotiations.
We have therefore developed a mechanism to incorporate uncertainty and chance into the activity. It was also an opportunity to reinforce the playfulness and dynamic aspects of the activity. In this sense, we have created events, unexpected from the participants but shared by all, which unfold progressively throughout the simulation.
To learn more about the characteristics and effects of unforeseen events on the simulation process, please open the “Characteristics” tab and the “Effects” tab.
For the Diplomatic Convention on Climate Change, we have developed four separate events.
Instructions: To view the description of each unforeseen event, please open the tab by clicking on the title of the event you wish to view.
This event corresponds to a demonstration of associations or non-governmental organizations. The interruption can last from 5 to 10 minutes (decided for example according to a roll of dice). It is then possible either to modify the common countdown or to actually interrupt the session (if the time allows it).
This event is the introduction of a new article to be negotiated due to pressure put on governments by lobbies. The article introduced must not have been presented to delegations during the preparation phase. However, it must be a relatively simple article and/or offer only a few options to discuss.
The purpose of this event is to represent the fatigue present in the long and vigorous negotiations. A 10-minute penalty is imposed to allow delegations time to rest their eyes. Here again, it is possible either to modify the common countdown or to actually interrupt the session (if the time allows it).
This event is a way for the organizers of the activity to allow themselves a little flexibility. This event gives the chairperson of the session the choice to extend the negotiations or not. In our case, and given the potential penalties mentioned above, up to 10 additional minutes of work could be granted.
As part of this simulation, we developed a tool that proves useful after the activity is completed. It is a template for analyzing the final text adopted during the activity and the choices made by the delegations.
Details: This tool is for the exclusive use of the organizer and allows them to create data on the activity, to quantify the dynamics resulting from the exercise and to evaluate the participants. To this end, it produces teaching material that can be used in the classroom sessions following the activity. This is the empirical dimension of the simulation.
Three distinct categories make up this evaluation template:
Instructions: To view the description of each score, please open the tab by clicking on the title of the score you wish to view
This score is a reference indicator, which may be used to evaluate the various delegations. It corresponds to the best answer possible according to the stakeholder profile assigned to each group. A decreasing scale of the best solutions by delegation can be established by the organizer who, using this tool, will be able to evaluate the choice made by the participants. The higher the choice score, the more the group was able to identify the characteristics of its delegation.
This score is determined by the articles actually adopted during the activity and considers whether a delegation is able to have its best options adopted. It is a kind of mechanism for observing the dynamics of negotiations after the event. Thus, the higher the delegation score, the more a group was able to obtain its preferential options.
This score is more subjective and needs to be precisely defined. In the context of the Diplomatic Conference on Climate Change, the score of the text corresponds to the real legal capacity of the adopted treaty to protect the environment from the effects of climate change. In this sense, the organizer must define this notion of “environmental protection” in order to be able to give a score to each of the options presented in the agreement.
Environmental protection could in this sense be assessed through the binding nature of the adopted text, the precision of the agreed articles, the use of the principles of international environmental law, etc. In addition to providing a very interesting element of discussion during debriefing, the text score can be linked to the delegation score. Indeed, there is a correlation between the score of the signed treaty and the specific results of the delegations.
For example, if the text score, based on the environmental protection indicator, is low, it means that the text’s ability to contain the effects of climate change will be limited. However, in this case, it is very likely that a delegation, whose interests are not mainly focused on environmental protection, will have a high delegation score. This correlation makes it possible to represent the power relationship expressed during the activity.