The SAIS Foreign Policy Institute presents a discussion with Deputy Assistant Secretary Daniel A. Reifsnyder, led by Dr. Lynn Wagner (’91, PhD ’98) on Challenges in Environmental Diplomacy.
What are the challenges in conducting environmental diplomacy? How does it differ from the usual practice of US diplomacy? How are historic agreements, such as the recent Paris agreement, negotiated?
Dr. Reifsnyder has served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Environment in the State Department’s Bureau of Oceans, Environment and Science since March 2006. He oversees the Environment Directorate, which deals with international environmental issues such as environmental quality, conservation of natural resources, water, and global climate change. In these areas, Dr. Reifsnyder leads US delegations under multilateral conventions and bilateral agreements. Dr. Reifsnyder served as Co-Chair of the UN climate change negotiations that led to the Paris Agreement in December 2015. Before that, he served as Chair and Vice Chair of the UN climate negotiations that led to the Durban and Cancun outcomes in 2011 and 2010. In 2012, he led the US Delegation in the final negotiating session that adopted the Minamata Convention on Mercury. He has been deeply involved in US efforts to phase down HFCs under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. He earned his Ph.D. in international relations from Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in 2014.
Lynn M. Wagner received her Ph.D. from SAIS in 1998. Her research interests focus on the relationship between negotiation processes and outcomes, particularly for environmental negotiations. Dr. Wagner analyzes multilateral environmental negotiations through her work with the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). She began working with IISD in 1994 and is currently the Senior Manager of IISD Reporting Services’ Knowledge Management Projects. She is also Reporting Services’ thematic expert for Sustainable Development and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification.