17 October 2014

Negotiable sustainability

On the 20 to 21 October, 25 students will be given the chance to try out the role of prime ministers, presidents and ministers. During the Copenhagen Competition students must negotiate a fictive, multilateral agreement. The teams, from 7 universities from around the world, are all battling for the right to call themselves the best negotiators in this year’s Copenhagen Competition that has been arranged by the University of Copenhagen’s Faculty of Law.

Copenhagen Competition is an international competition where students simulate negotiating a multilateral agreement. The theme for this year’s competition is sustainability and, to make the game as realistic as possible, the students negotiate within the framework of a Sustainable Energy Trade Agreement (SETA) - an existing multilateral collaborative initiative. Just like in the real world, the goal is for countries to reach an agreement they can all support.

Green economy is a hit

Laura Nielsen, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law and responsible for the competition’s academic content explains:

- Sustainability and what is known as ’green economy’ have received more and more international focus over the years and Denmark is one of the countries that has helped to place them on the agenda both politically and in the world of research. As a researcher in this area, I am both proud and happy to give these students the knowledge and ballast that is needed to continue this positive development. The participants are top students from all around the world that have been able to take their studies and apply them in the creation of concrete solutions that can be used in the real world.

Solutions are found by crossing academic boundaries

The UCPH team is made up of two law students and a Forest and Nature management student (photo: Ugo Giganti, University Post)

And it is the real world that is currently preoccupied with creating economic growth that is also sustainable. At the same time as the Copenhagen Competition, two large sustainability conferences are being held in Copenhagen: While the Danish government has invited heads of state, experts and international companies to meet in the Global Green Growth Forum (3GF) to discuss how to create green growth, the University of Copenhagen has gathered experts and researchers from more than 50 different countries to discuss solutions, challenges, scenarios and trends in sustainable development at the congress Global Challenges: Achieving Sustainability.

- The change to a green economy is a process that requires involvement from politicians, the corporate sector and from the world of research. Sustainability can only be achieved by collaboration across boundaries. That is why all the teams at the Copenhagen Competition are made up of students from different disciplines. There is no point being good at negotiating a legal agreement, if you lack knowledge of economics, healthcare, biodiversity, water resources, etc. Science must be able to analyse the existing situation, propose solutions and calculate the impact of suggested solutions, explains Laura Nielsen.

The new generation of leaders

Participants in the Copenhagen Competition are therefore judged on their legal and academic expertise and their skills in negotiating with the other teams. The final takes place on 21 October and the winners will be announced at the 3GF conference, where Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt will present the prize to the winning team.

- The participants in the Copenhagen Competition are tomorrow’s leaders and negotiators. They will be the ones creating future solutions for the international community. It will therefore be exciting to hear about their innovative solutions and ideas, says Laura Nielsen, who will also be taking part in the award ceremony.


Associate Professor Laura Nielsen
Phone: + 4522 33 26 29
Communication Officer Lise Steen Nielsen
Phone: +45 21 32 80 05