Strengthening sustainable development diplomacy : Negotiation dynamics and early implementation related to climate, forests, and cattle

Buckley, Kristy J.


The concept of sustainable development was defined and codified in 1987 with the World Commission on Environment and Development report. Since then, there has been a proliferation of processes, regimes, negotiations, activities, and collaborations aimed at aspects of sustainable development (or a portfolio of ambitions such as those embodied in the Sustainable Development Goals). Recognizing the complexity of global systems intertwined with the pursuit of sustainable development, diplomatic practitioners and scholars proposed a new approach and practice to facilitating international cooperation: sustainable development diplomacy (SD diplomacy). While SD diplomacy presents a compelling perspective and systems-like approach, the concept is still relatively nascent and lacks connectivity to related scientific fields such as international relations, multi-party negotiation, and conflict resolution. This thesis aims to strengthen SD diplomacy as a theory and a practice. It does so by qualitatively examining a cross-section of multi-actor processes in sustainable development: the intergovernmental negotiations on climate change under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); inter-governmental and multi-stakeholder processes on reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD+); and multi-stakeholder roundtables on sustainable beef. In the UNFCCC and REDD+ contexts, the focus is on negotiation dynamics with an eye towards understanding how those dynamics enable and/or constrain multi-actor agreement. The beef roundtables context focuses on understanding early implementation characteristics that serve as the foundation for driving sustainability impact. Finally, the thesis explores early implementation characteristics of multi-stakeholder processes on REDD+. The results of the analyses inform an Integrated Negotiation Dynamics Model and consideration of multi-stakeholder market driven approaches to sustainability. The synthesized results are then utilized to inform and enhance the field of SD diplomacy.