As negotiators work to deliver on the Durban Platform on Enhanced Action, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is clearly the primary forum for international cooperation on climate, but countries are increasingly addressing climate issues in other venues as well, including other multilateral environmental institutions, international trade talks, and small groupings of like-minded countries.

The mitigation results of these institutions to date have been modest but could be substantial, especially if they can create incentives for more rapid and ambitious action.

Important concerns remain, however, about the legitimacy and accountability of non-UNFCCC action, risks of marginalization of the UNFCCC, and strategic behaviour by powerful states to avoid more stringent emission reduction obligations. Ensuring that other institutions respect the UNFCCC’s core principles and establishing clear relationships with the UNFCCC could go some way toward addressing these concerns.

The UNFCCC should continue to play a central role because it enjoys a high level of inclusiveness and legitimacy and has unparalleled institutional capacity. As Parties build on the Durban Platform to secure country commitments in line with climate science, they should take steps to position the UNFCCC as a catalyst and coordinator for climate action on multiple fronts.

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