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The year 2020 started much like any other on the United Nations multilateral calendar. But then the COVID-19 pandemic forced the UN and the world to shut down. After the initial shock wore off, secretariats and governments began to contemplate how to conduct multilateral negotiations during a pandemic. As they created new virtual working methods, they also had to figure out how to maintain trust among delegations and in the process itself to ensure the outcomes of these meetings would be respected. To understand how UN meetings adapted to a virtual environment and maintained trust, this article analyzes a sample of 18 meetings of UN environmental and sustainable development bodies that took place in the 12 months between April 2020 and March 2021. The research examines these cases to see how these meetings were conducted, how they built the necessary trust, and what can be learned from this experience.

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This page is a summary of: Is It the End of the COP as We Know It? An Analysis of the First Year of Virtual Meetings in the UN Environment and Sustainable Development Arena, International Negotiation, December 2021, Brill, DOI: 10.1163/15718069-bja10047.
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