The overarching question imparting urgency to this exploration is: Can U.S.-Russian contention in cyberspace cause the two nuclear superpowers to stumble into war? In considering this question we were constantly reminded of recent comments by a prominent U.S. arms control expert: At least as dangerous as the risk of an actual cyberattack, he observed, is cyber operations’ “blurring of the line between peace and war.” Or, as Nye wrote, “in the cyber realm, the difference between a weapon and a non-weapon may come down to a single line of code, or simply the intent of a computer program’s user.”
Tuesday, October 11 from 4:30-6pm | Session 1 | What is “negotiating for humanity”?
Session one will review the literature of global public goods and will identify the main analytical elements of the concept negotiating for humanity: is it to generate global public goods? Is it to end poverty, protect the global commons, to counter existential risks? Who represents the interests of humanity in the context of competing national interests and state sovereignty? How are asymmetric power relations and the aspiration of justice and fairness reflected in the negotiations? What format should negotiations follow? Do global and national governance gaps hinder the provision of global public goods? Lessons learned from the experience of negotiating the Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs), adopted in 2015, will be reviewed.
Tuesday, October 25 from 4:30-6pm | Session 2 | Negotiating the climate change regime
What lessons can be drawn from the Kyoto and the Paris Agreements on climate change, negotiated in different historic moments (1997 and 2015)? While the Paris negotiations were successful in generating a global agreement, the lead-up to Paris was a learning process of previous shortcomings. This session will review the lessons learned from the negotiation approaches and the instruments agreed upon, as well as the voices questioning the pace, the real impact and the format of the negotiation system.
Tuesday, November 8 from 4:30-6pm | Session 3 | Negotiating the nuclear weapons architecture
This session will analyze lessons drawn from the negotiations of treaties that built the nuclear order since 1945, including the most recent Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons of 2017. In 2022, the nuclear risk is higher than at any other moment after the height of the Cold War; nuclear threats of unprecedented nature erode the nuclear taboo and pose outstanding challenges to diplomatic negotiations that seek to address the danger of the existence and potential use of nuclear weapons. Likewise, the policy debate confronts the orthodox construction of state security by introducing the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons.
Tuesday, November 29 from 4:30-6pm | Session 4 | Current debates and emerging negotiation processes
With a guest speaker (TBD), the last session will explore how lessons learned from previous experiences can inform current global debates that might lead to future processes of negotiation for humanity, some of which have already been identified in the United Nations Secretary General’s Our Common Agenda presented in 2021. Adding up to ongoing discussions of unresolved problems of environmental, socio economic and political nature, e.g., extreme poverty, inequality, gender, race and ethnic gaps, among others, emerging topics include the fields of digital divide, emerging technologies and human rights (such as the right of privacy, the human rights implications of neuro-technologies, algorithms, AI and weapons systems, the digital divide), migration, pandemics, outer space, ocean contamination, the institutional and political challenges of global governance, among others.
Study Group Facilitator
Elayne Whyte is the former Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica and Former Ambassador to the United Nations and is a current Advanced Leadership Fellow at Harvard University. She brings deep international negotiation and policy creation experience. As Costa Rica’s ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva, she chaired the diplomatic conference that negotiated the U.N. treaty on nuclear weapons prohibition and partnered with the World Health Organization on an international cooperation framework to address the more than two million cases of snake bite poisoning per year, a neglected tropical public health issue. Earlier Elayne was the first and youngest woman, and the first person of African descent, to serve as Costa Rica’s vice minister of foreign affairs, and was the executive director of the Mesoamerica Integration & Development Project, which coordinates and delivers social and economic development projects across the Central American region.