Request for Information: Alternate Diplomatic and Development Pathways to Achieving the Paris Agreement Goals

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United States Institute of Peace

Request for Information: Alternate Diplomatic and Development Pathways to Achieving the Paris Agreement Goals 2

Position description

Submit Comments to:

Katherine Waters ([email protected])

The response must be submitted by the time and date listed above to be considered.  No responses will be accepted after the due date.

 Comment Submission Requirements: 

  1. Submit any comments as an attachment to the e-mail as either a Word or PDF file (not in the body of the email message).
  2. Include a brief overview of the institution(s) and/or organization(s) submitting comments, as well as a short biography of the individual(s) directly involved in substantively preparing comments.


 Introduction and Background

The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) is a national, nonpartisan, independent institute, founded by Congress and dedicated to the proposition that a world without violent conflict is possible, practical, and essential for U.S. and global security. In conflict zones abroad, the Institute works with local partners to prevent, mitigate, and resolve violent conflict. For more information, please visit

The Program on Climate, Environment, and Conflict (CEC) at USIP aims to advance research and policy development that will mitigate or prevent the risk of violent conflict and political unrest around climate change.  Recognizing that climate change is likely to become a critical driver of conflict and political instability from small to large scales, USIP is planning to explore policy options to advance climate action as a way to prevent or mitigate the risks.

Parties to the Paris Agreement of 2015 have not yet met its objective of reducing global average temperature rise to 1.5oC.  Built on voluntary action and reliant on “peer pressure” to increase the ambition of countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, the agreement  is susceptible to the failure of ambitious commitments to drive action.  In 2023, the first “Global Stocktake”, which evaluates collective progress toward achieving the Paris Agreement’s goals, clarified how far away the global community is from achieving its shared goals.  In 2024, countries are slated to return with updated commitments reflective of the collective action necessary, but significantly better outcomes are not expected.

Unlike other issues, such as human rights, climate change has not been widely integrated into the U.S. foreign policy agenda.  Starting in the 1970s in the post-Vietnam War era, Congress pushed for the U.S. State Department to incorporate consideration of human rights issues into diplomatic relationships.  It also established legislation that mandated regular human rights reports on every country that receives U.S. aid and banned military and economic aid to countries regularly violating human rights unless overruled by national security or humanitarian imperatives.  According to the State Department, human rights are currently pursued through “bilateral diplomacy, multilateral engagement, foreign assistance, reporting and public outreach, and economic sanctions.”  In contrast, discussions around climate change have primarily focused on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), at least for the United States.

As part of an upcoming Request for Proposals expected to be released in early June, USIP seeks to identify important areas for exploration and innovation in identifying new diplomatic and development pathways to achieving the Paris Agreement objectives.  Through this process, USIP/CEC will prioritize strategic areas with solid potential for applied research and/or innovative exploration that can best contribute actionable pathways to current policy discussions.  USIP expects the upcoming Request for Proposals to provide research and innovative thinking that will guide further workshopping of these ideas among an expert community and identification of the most promising options for diplomatic and development pathways to achieve the Paris Agreement objectives.  While the discussions are likely to be heavily focused on U.S. engagement, USIP also welcomes ideas for areas where other countries are likely to be leaders.

Purpose of the RFI

The USIP Climate, Environment, and Conflict (CEC) program seeks to understand better where innovative diplomatic and development approaches to achieving the Paris Agreement objectives may be most promising.  This RFI is issued for the primary purpose of collecting feedback on the utility of, and additional refinements to, the priorities outlined in Section III of this document (see below).  Additionally, USIP seeks external input on what issue areas may be missing from this list and should be considered for potential exporation – and what implications the results could have for USIP, U.S. Government, and international partners.

Request for Input

USIP invites contributors to submit comments and suggestions based on the following questions.  Comments need not address every thematic area below.


USIP requests inputs on the following questions:

  1. Are the areas listed below viable areas for exploration for new diplomatic or development efforts to advance action on climate change? What countries would be key partners in such efforts?
  2. What topics are missing and should be considered for inclusion? Why are they important?
  3. Are there specific opportunities for impact that you would suggest for USIP’s focus?

Potential themes for USIP’s upcoming Request for Proposals currently include:

  1. Role of U.S. academia and/or private sector in spearheading investment in green energy-related partnerships and the energy transition.
  2. Strengthening legal and regulatory frameworks and their enforcement around land rights to support renewables development and/or adaptation-related changes in land use.
  3. Supporting regional action/cooperation on shared issues to minimize the risk of regional conflicts (e.g. insecurity related to increased recruitment of armed and extremist groups with regional spillover impacts, impact of geo-engineering experimentation, etc.).
  4. How to balance expansion of energy access with reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
  5. How to avoid unintended consequences (e.g., exacerbating human or environmental problems in one area while reducing or minimizing them in another)
  6. Regional cooperation around climate-related migration and displacement (e.g. building on migratory or short-term work exchanges/visas).
  7. Application of reconciliation processes to help address conflicts in the climate space (transitional justice, positive peacebuilding).
  8. Opportunities to expand U.S.-China cooperation at sub-national levels.
  9. Opportunities for substantive partnership between the U.S. and China on the Paris Agreement.


Submission Requirements

  1. Submit any comments in Word or PDF formats as an attachment to an e-mail (not in the body of the email message).
  2. Include a brief overview of the institution(s) and/or organization(s) submitting comments, as well as a biography of the individual(s) directly involved in substantively preparing comments.


Use of Comments

USIP will review all comments received on time as it considers priorities for a full Request for Proposals (RFP), to be issued in early June 2024.  USIP may follow up with individual contributors to schedule a call and further discuss issues contained within the comments.


Proposed Schedule 

April 29, 2024

RFI issued

May 24, 2024

Comments are due no later than 5:00 PM Eastern Standard Time.  Late submissions may not be accepted.

June 7, 2024

USIP expects to issue RFP in early June, with a submission date on or around July 15, 2024

General Instructions and Terms

The specific provisions that apply to this Request for Information are as follows:

  • USIP does not intend to award a contract based on this solicitation or to otherwise compensate contributors for the time spent responding to the information solicited. USIP is not financially responsible nor liable for any costs incurred in association with submission of comments to this solicitation.
  • Although the terms “solicitation” and “contributor” are used in this Request for Information, your response will be treated as information only. It shall not be used nor be considered as a proposal, and it does not provide any guarantees, benefits, or advantages in a separate, future RFP process.
  • Comments must be submitted by e-mail to Katherine Waters ([email protected]) by 5:00 PM on May 24, 2024.
  • All submissions should be in English.
  • Any questions concerning this RFI should be directed to Katherine Waters ([email protected]).
  • Respondents may wish to be prepared for a short (30 minute) potential consultation call with USIP to discuss their comments further.
  • The submission of any materials to USIP in response to this solicitation will constitute (i) a representation that the respondent(s) own or have unrestricted license to use and license such materials and all intellectual property expressed therein; and (ii) the grant of a non-exclusive license to USIP to use such materials and intellectual property for any purpose, including specifically the preparation of a potential request for proposals (RFP).


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