Environmental Role-Play:

Global Management of Organochlorines

Lawrence Susskind, Sarah McKearnan, Mike Gordon, Adil Najam, Joshua Secunda, Granville Sewell, Parag Shah and Andrea Strimling

Thirteen-person, multi-issue facilitated negotiation among eight country representatives, four NGO representatives, and a working group chairperson must draft a treaty aimed at reducing harmful organochlorines; also known as "Chlorine Game"

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Also known as Chlorine Game


In light of recent evidence indicating that organochlorine compounds may pose serious risks to human health and the environment, the Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has decided to gather a Working Group composed of representatives from eight countries, as well as four representatives from various relevant non-governmental organizations to produce a draft of an international treaty which would call for a phase out some of the most harmful organochlorines. Such a process entails resolution, at some level, of the scientific issues surrounding the potential dangers of widespread chlorine usage. Some argue that scientific evidence pointing to the dangers of chlorine is inconclusive, while environmental activists cite the issue as urgent. The issues that must be addressed are (i) how quickly and at what cost should organochlorines be phased out; (ii), which parties should bear the cost of the phase out; (iii) how should the Working Group be administrated and (iv) what impact should NGO’s have on the Working Group.



  • Underscores the relevance of general lessons about the "basic" skills of negotiations as they apply to multi-party, multi-issue negotiation: i.e. active listening, improving one's BATNA, focusing on interests instead of positions, inventing options of mutual gain, etc.
  • Enhances understanding about political dynamics and substantive outcomes likely to merge during an actual negotiation of a global treaty on organochlorines. Provides a means for exploring the technical, political and economic issues likely to be at stake in such a treaty negotiation.
  • Imparts an understanding of the dynamics of international environmental treaty negotiations as they are currently conducted.
  • Identifies who the critical actors in international environmental treaty negotiation are, what kinds of interests they bring to the table, why these interests are often seen to be in conflict, and how they might potentially be reconciled through a process of joint problem-solving.
  • Emphasizes the importance of understanding the interests of internal constituencies and designing negotiation strategies which manage the link between internal and external negotiations. This game also teaches the importance of creating external coalitions without letting internal coalitions crumble.
  • Demonstrates the value of organizing informal dialogue as a precursor to the formal convention-protocol treaty-making process.



This is a highly intensive exercise with considerable logistical requirements. A room with seating for 13 (or 25 depending on the number of participants) is required. Parties should be able to hear each other and the use of microphones is sometimes necessary. At least one break-out room is suggested. Given the long duration of this exercise, refreshments are also advised. This lengthy, complex case requires several hours of preparation time as well as several hours of negotiation time. Teaching staff are advised to be particularly well versed in these materials before commencing this game. Estimated Time Requirement8 hours spread over 2 days. The game can be played in an alternative short version which takes about 4 hours.



For all parties:

  • General Information
  • Draft Convention on the Limitation of Chlorine in the Global Environment
  • Memo to Director of the Departmnet of Multinational Trade Issues re UNEP Working Group on Global Management of Organochlorines


Role specific individual instructions for:

  • International Council of Scientific Associations (ICSA) Negotiator
  • International Union for the Conservation of the Environment (IUCE) Negotiator (including Proposal to License Substitute Products and Processes to Address the Global Chlorine Problem)
  • Representative from GreenStrategies
  • Chair of United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP)
  • Representative from Czech Republic
  • Representative from People's Republic of China
  • Representative from Germany (including Chlorine Reduction Proposal from the Federal Republic of Germany)
  • Representative from the United States
  • Representative from Brazil
  • Representative from India
  • Representative from Japan
  • Representative from Norway (including Proposed Treaty Text for Licensing Agreement from Government of Norway)


Teacher's Package:

  • All of the above
  • Teaching Notes



Multiparty negotiation; multi-lateral treaty making; environmental dispute resolution; mediating science-intensive policy disputes

Global Management of Organochlorines Attributes

Time required: 5 or more hours
Number of participants: 13
Teams involved: No
Agent present: None
Neutral third party present: Facilitator
Scoreable: No
Teaching notes available: Yes