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What is it
The Melbourne Climate Futures Academy (MCFA) Seminar Series for 2023 is proud to welcome Mr Alister Self, presenting his doctoral research.
08/02/2023 12:30pm - 1:30pm

Melbourne Connect, Level 7, Room 7212, Manhari Room

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Melbourne Climate Futures Academy Seminar Series - Alister Self: Financial Architecture of the UNFCCC

The Melbourne Climate Futures Academy (MCFA) Seminar Series for 2023 is proud to welcome Mr Alister Self, presenting his doctoral research.

Presented in preparation for PhD thesis submission, this seminar will focus on the topic of the climate finance within the UN climate regime. Using theories of institutionalism, it will detail how changes occurred to the financial mechanism of the UNFCCC in its first two decades of operation, and offer explanations as to why these changes occurred.


In 1992, international cooperation to address climate change began with the establishment of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. As part of this new treaty aimed at combating climate change, the creation of a financial mechanism and a series of principles for transferring finance from north to south were agreed, with the intention of assisting developing countries in meeting their commitments to the treaty. 20 years later, in 2012, a new organisation - the Green Climate Fund - was established to become the central entity of a new financial architecture. The new architecture represented a significant departure from previous institutional arrangements. This research seeks to understand why this occurred, and what precipitated such changes over this two-decade timeframe.

These questions are approached by situating the research in the field of institutionalism, which is commonly interested in questions of institutional stability and change. Using this approach, the research identifies multiple causative pathways and mechanisms that led to change across different phases of the financial mechanism’s evolution. The research argues that a coherent explanation of these various causes necessitates loosening the boundaries of traditionally discrete perspectives on institutions, and instead working towards a synthesis. In doing so the research adds to a nascent body of literature that applies theories of institutionalism to international relations and global environmental institutions, as well as offering a comprehensive account of the evolution of climate finance within the UNFCCC in its first two decades.

About the Presenter

Alister Self is presenting this research as part of the completion of his PhD at the University of Melbourne, through the School of Geography, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Alister also holds an MSc (climate change), and BSc (applied sciences). Additionally, he coordinates and teaches in the subject Climate Science for Decision-Makers at the University, is currently the Assistant Editor of the journal Climate Policy, and works as an analyst for Climate Resource.

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