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UN Budgets Dropping, Making Smaller Nations More Powerless

Negotiators for poor countries often say they are at a disadvantage at UN summits, lacking the numbers, technology and institutional support of richer countries.

For example, at the latest round of UN climate talks in Bonn in May, Bangladesh sent 4 officials, Burkina Faso 3, Ethiopia 5 and Uruguay 6 compared to 25 for the UK, 31 for the European Commission, 58 for Japan and 44 for the US.

At the Paris climate talks in December 2015, I met a diplomat from Botswana who said he had to cover four sets of complex negotiations on his own.

These could have ranged from carbon market provisions and finance flows to the specifics of a new climate action reporting system. By the end of the meeting he looked half dead.

Neil Palmer/CIAT

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