ICCA Launches Panel of Experts to Develop a Paris Agreement Conciliation Annex

ICCA is pleased to announce the launch of a new project entitled the ICCA Panel of Experts to Develop a Paris Agreement Conciliation Annex, a project that will convene a high-level panel of experts to develop and promote a proposed draft conciliation annex for the Paris Climate Agreement (the Paris Agreement) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), with a view to facilitating its adoption by Member States.


The high-level Panel, co-chaired by Catherine Amirfar (Debevoise & Plimpton LLP) and Annette Magnusson (Climate Change Counsel), brings together experts drawn from private practice, the judiciary, government, arbitral institutions, academia and international organizations, all of whom have expertise in disputes (especially conciliation processes) in the specific context of climate change.


The project stems from the urgent need to establish an effective dispute resolution procedure under the Paris Agreement. Article 14 of the UNFCCC, which is adopted mutatis mutandis in Article 24 of the Paris Agreement, provides that, absent agreement among states to submit disputes to the International Court of Justice or arbitration, the default dispute resolution mechanism is inter-State conciliation. Only a handful of Member States have so far consented to submitting disputes to the International Court of Justice or arbitration, making conciliation the likely dispute resolution mechanism in a dispute under the Paris Agreement’s terms.


In the context of climate change disputes, conciliation can potentially offer key advantages, namely:

  • The emphasis of conciliation on amicable settlement and the future relationship of the parties may facilitate sustained collaboration more effectively than more backwards looking forms of dispute resolution; 
  • The significant communication required between the parties and the conciliation commission during the dispute resolution process can build trust and offer new perspectives;
  • Conciliation may be well suited to cater to different regional, cultural and historical perspectives on effective dispute resolution; and
  • Conciliation procedures may be crafted to ensure that the parties and conciliation commission have sufficient access to the technical expertise that may be required for issues arising under the Paris Agreement.

Article 14 of the UNFCCC provides certain details on the conciliation process but leaves most procedures to be adopted in an annex on conciliation.


The Panel of Experts’ mandate, with ICCA’s leadership and support, will be to prepare a draft conciliation annex that clarifies important procedural questions, taking account of the objectives of the Paris Agreement, as well as the likely characteristics of disputes concerning climate change.  The draft will be accompanied by commentary designed to serve as useful guidance for States negotiating a conciliation annex.


The Panel hopes to present its draft conciliation annex in time for inclusion on the agenda for discussion at COP 28 in November 2023.  


For inquiries about the project, please contact: bureau@arbitration-icca.org.


View all members of the Panel of Experts