Conference Paper: North Korea and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

Korean Studies Association of Australasia – 8th Biennial Conference, 27-28 June 20113, Australian National University, Canberra.

This project is the latest manifestation of a project that began with my article “North Korea, Climate Change and the Global Atmospheric Commons” published by Sino:NK in September 2012.

Thank you to the organisers of the 2013 KSAA Conference for putting on an enjoyable and intellectually stimulating event, and to the anonymous reviewer and audience members at my presentation for their insightful feedback.  I encourage readers of this blog to also leave feedback on this project below or by contacting me directly.

Houses on the outskirts of Sonbong, DPRK.

Houses on the outskirts of Sonbong, DPRK.

Paper Abstract

This paper argues that North Korea is a willing participant in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, despite its reputation as a belligerent actor in nuclear diplomacy.  Because of its vulnerability to climate change impacts, North Korea therefore has strong incentives to participate in the UNFCCC.  North Korea represents a fascinating anomaly within the UNFCCC.  It is not an active member of any specific negotiating bloc and has been an infrequent attendee at UNFCCC Conference of Parties gatherings.  While North Korea may be an outlier in terms of its importance to the negotiating process of the Convention, there are dimensions of its interaction with the international climate change regime that are unique among signatories and worthy of scholarly attention.  This study analyses North Korea’s compliance with its commitments under Article 4.1 of the UNFCCC, drawing on information from reporting documents for the UNFCCC and the related United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD) and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), along with project reports compiled by international organisations and NGOs working in the DPRK, and official statements released by the North Korean government.  The paper concludes that North Korea is complying with it commitments as a Non-Annex I Party to the UNFCCC, because the objectives of the international climate change regime are congruent with the legitimacy and survival imperatives of the Kim government.

Listen to the Presentation:

Audio: North Korea and the UNFCCC.mp3

Download the Paper:

A Curious Case: North Korea and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.pdf.

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