Toulmin lecture: How can the Least Developed Countries be heard?


How can the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) get their voices heard in international negotiations on a new climate treaty and goals for sustainable development? IIED director Camilla Toulmin looked at this challenge when she delivered a lecture at the University of Sussex on 23 October.

IIED director Camilla Toulmin gave a lecture at the University of Sussex on 23 October (Photo: Chatham House)

IIED director Camilla Toulmin gave a lecture at the University of Sussex on 23 October (Photo: Chatham House)

In her lecture, entitled "Fairer World, Greener World", Toulmin looked at how the LDCs can influence the negotiations on climate change and sustainable development goals.

Negotiations for key international agreements on these two issues are already under way.

In a few weeks, international climate negotiators will gather in Lima, Peru, at the Conference of the Parties 20 (COP20) to continue work on the next international climate treaty. The treaty is to be finalised in Paris, France, in December 2015. The 48 LDCs did the least to cause climate change, but the impacts of climate change are being felt most strongly by them. It is vital that their voices are heard in these negotiations.

Negotiations are also continuing on the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Next year will be a watershed year for international development, as the Millennium Development Goals expire and a new of goals will take their place.  

Toulmin posed the question: What would these global agreements look like if designed by the LDCs, instead of the rich world?

Many LDCs have small delegations and many of their delegates are responsible for following more than one international process. IIED has been supporting and working with LDCs to help them get their priorities heard in the talks. You can read more about IIED's work with LDCs here: Q&A: Helping the poorest nations with development goals.

Toulmin's lecture was part of the Sussex Development Lecture series, run by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS)and the University of Sussex, which provides an opportunity to hear leading global thinkers discuss key development issues.

About the speaker

Dr Camilla Toulmin is director of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) based in London. An economist by training, she has worked mainly in Africa on agriculture, land, climate and livelihoods. This has combined field research, policy analysis and advocacy. Her work has aimed at understanding how environmental, economic and political change impact on people's lives, and how policy reform can bring real change on the ground.

As director of IIED since 2004, she has focused on developing the institute's strategy and communications. IIED's new strategy 2014-19 builds on strengths in adaptation to climate change, building cities that work for poor people, addressing the natural resource squeeze, and designing sustainable market mechanisms.