The course, sailing through the one-dimensional approach to negotiation process offered by international relations and their two basic competitive prescriptive models and through the methodological persistence of mainstream international lawyers to deny any substantial investigation into a process-understanding of normativity of international law, addresses a holistic approach to international environmental negotiations as a structure-based process of constructing and governing relations of international common interest. Under this approach, international environmental negotiation – and any international negotiation – is “relational”, “contextual”, “phase-structured”, “textual” and “inter-subjective”. This distinctive aggregate of elements inherent in international negotiation is generally either under-estimated or ignored.
Examining the distinctive phases of international environmental negotiation – and of any international negotiation, and using as example the Barcelona Convention system protecting the Mediterranean marine and coastal environment, the course, first, analyzes the PreNegotiation Phase as a multilateral attempt to transform a seemingly “zero-sum” or “distributive” situation resulting from a newly emerged environmental problem into a negotiable relationship reflecting a “non-zero-sum” or “integrative” situation serving international common interest. Such collective transformative governance has a declarative outcome (an action plan, an institutional decision, or a strategy) and serves as a precursor for
the next phase, the Constitutive Phase of international negotiation. Pre-Negotiation develops at the diagnostic level (identification of the negotiable issues, determination of the context of negotiation, evaluation of the best available alternative to Pre-Negotiation, role of the initiatorleader of Pre-Negotiation) and at the level of multilateral governance (conferential negotiation in the form of an Ad Hoc Multilateral Conference), where the method, procedures and techniques are examined.
Then, the course analyzes the Constitutive Phase of international environmental negotiation which refers to the establishment or expansion of an international conventional regime of international common interest (ICI) and Its initiation is the result of a distinct international political initiative emanating from various sources. The course specifically examines the establishment of the special body of conferential negotiation, the important role of the Ad Hoc Secretariat and the standard Rules of Procedure laying down the organizational and functional framework of the negotiating forum. It proceeds to analyze the negotiation of the textual pattern of the treaty instrument, which, irrespective of the object of negotiation, is conducted at three interrelated levels: the level of context of reference, the level of morphological identification, and the level of content patternment where a “legislative approach” to conventional environmental governance plays a definitive role. Finally, it examines certain special techniques and ‘good practices’ normally or frequently applied during the negotiation process.
Lastly, the course analyzes the Re-Negotiation Phase of international environmental negotiation process as an intra-institutional process of revisionary governance of a conventional environmental regime aiming at making it more efficient and effective. It focus on its institutionally-based initiation, the central role of the Secretariat, and its distinguishing characteristics (the importance of the particular internal context of reference, its morphological patternment – the textual technique applicable, the amendment-or-replacement decision, and the alternatives to Renegotiation) in view of the fact that many aspects of the constitutive negotiation process apply to Re-Negotiation mutatis mutandis.