Radoslav Dimitrov

Associate Professor & European Union Delegate to the UN Climate Change Negotiations


Ph.D., University of Minnesota
Telephone: 519.661.2111 ext. 85023
E-mail: rdimitro@uwo.ca
Office: Social Science Centre 4219

Policy Experience 

  • Co-Chair of the European Union Task Force on Climate Communication (2018)
  • EU negotiation and political communication strategist (climate negotiations, 2018)
  • European Union delegate to the United Nations negotiations on climate change (2009-2018)
  • United Nations rapporteur (2000-2008)

Research Interests

Professor Dimitrov specializes in global environmental politics, international climate change negotiations, and UN diplomacy. Theoretical work: science and environmental policy, argumentation and persuasion in politics, and norms in world politics. His award-winning work introduced the concept of nonregimes to the field of global governance, through studies on coral reefs policy and global forest negotiations.

Current Research Projects

1. Global Climate Change Negotiations

Dr. Dimitrov participates in UN climate change negotiations as government delegate for the European Union (2009-present) and UN rapporteur (2004-2009). His work documents the history of climate negotiations from behind closed doors and explores the politics of international policymaking.

2. Persuasion in World Politics

When governments negotiate, what do they say to each other? This research project explores the microdynamics of international negotiations. It examines techniques of persuasion in world politics to discover winning political strategies in bargaining.

3. Decoy Institutions in Global Governance

Why are some international institutions without policymaking capacity? Governments sometimes create empty institutions and deliberately design them not to produce substantive policy. This article introduces the concept of ‘decoy institutions’ whose mandates exclude policy formulation or implementation. Decoy institutions camouflage the absence of governance and serve to legitimize collective inaction. They are also political tools for hiding failure at negotiations. Examples include organizations such as the United Nations Forum on Forests and the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, and international ‘policy’ agreements such as the Copenhagen Accord on climate change. Research is based on participatory observation of negotiations. The article provides three empirical examples of decoys, offers explanations of their occurrence, and discusses the implications of this phenomenon for academic scholarship. This phenomenon challenges IR theories that treat institutions as tools for facilitating governance. On the contrary, decoys can serve to preempt governance, by creating public impression of policy action and deflecting political calls for real institutions.

Selected Publications


  • 2006: Radoslav S. Dimitrov, Science and International Environmental Policy: Regimes and Non-Regimes in Global Governance (Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield 2006). 

Refereed Journal Articles

  • 2019: Radoslav S. Dimitrov, “Empty Institutions in Global Environmental Politics,” International Studies Review.
  • 2019: Radoslav S. Dimitrov, Jon Hovi, Detlef Sprinz, Håkon Sælen and Arild Underdal, “Institutional and Environmental Effectiveness: Will the Paris Agreement Work?” WIREs Climate Change 583.
  • 2016: Radoslav S. Dimitrov, “The Paris Agreement on Climate Change: Behind Closed Doors,” Global Environmental Politics vol. 16, no. 3 (August), pp. 1-10.
  • 2010: Radoslav S. Dimitrov, “Inside UN Climate Change Negotiations,” Review of Policy Research vol. 27, no. 6 (November), pp. 795-821.
  • 2010: Radoslav S. Dimitrov, “Inside Copenhagen: The State of Climate Governance,” Global Environmental Politics vol. 10, no. 1 (March).
  • 2007: Radoslav S. Dimitrov, Detlef Sprinz, Gerald DiGiusto and Alexander Kelle, “International Nonregimes: A Research Agenda.” International Studies Review vol. 9, no. 2 (summer), pp. 230-258.
  • 2005: Radoslav S. Dimitrov, “Precaution in Global Environmental Politics,” International Journal of Global Environmental Issues, vol. 5, no. 1 (March), pp. 96-113.
  • 2005: Radoslav S. Dimitrov, “Hostage to Norms: States, Institutions and Global Forest Politics,” Global Environmental Politics vol. 5, no. 4 (November), pp. 1-24.
  • 2003: Radoslav S. Dimitrov, “Knowledge, Power and Interests in Environmental Regime Formation,” International Studies Quarterly, vol. 47, no. 1 (March), pp. 123-150.
  • 2002: Rado S. Dimitrov, “Confronting Non-Regimes: Science and International Coral Reef Policy,” Journal of Environment and Development, vol. 11, no. 1 (March), pp. 53-78.
  • 2002: Radoslav S. Dimitrov, “Water, Conflict and Security: A Conceptual Minefield,” Society and Natural Resources, vol. 15, no. 8 (September), pp. 677-691.

Book Chapters

  • 2014: Radoslav S. Dimitrov, "International  Nonregimes," in Essential Concepts in Global Environmental Governance," edited by Amandine Orsini and Jean-Morin Frederic (Routledge, forthcoming). Solicited.
  • 2013: Radoslav S. Dimitrov, “Environmental Diplomacy,” in Handbook of Global Environmental Politics, edited by Paul Harris (Routledge forthcoming).
  • 2013: Radoslav S. Dimitrov, “International Negotiations,” in Handbook of Global Climate and Environmental Policy, edited by Robert Falkner (Wiley-Blackwell forthcoming).
  • 2012: Radoslav S. Dimitrov, “Persuasion in World Politics: The UN Climate Change Negotiations,” in Handbook of Global Environmental Politics, edited by Peter Dauvergne (Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing).
  • 2012: Radoslav S. Dimitrov, “American Prosperity and the High Politics of Climate Change,” in Prospects for a Post-American World, edited by Sabrina Hoque and Sean Clark  (Toronto: University of Toronto Press).
  • 2011: Radoslav S. Dimitrov, “The International Coral Reef Initiative,” in Handbook of Transnational Governance: Institutions and Innovations, edited by Thomas Hale and David Held (Cambridge, UK: Polity Press).
  • 2004: Radoslav Dimitrov, “Lost in the Woods: International Forest Policy,” in Neil E. Harrison and Gary C. Bryner (eds.), Science and Politics in the International Environment, Rowman and Littlefield, pp. 173-202.
  • 2002: Chris Sneddon, Leila Harris, Radoslav Dimitrov and Uygar Ozesmi, “Contested Waters: Conflict, Scale and Sustainability in Aquatic Socioecological Systems,” Society and Natural Resources, vol. 15, no. 8 (September), pp. 663-675.

Recent Conference Presentations

  • 2013: United Nations University, Tokyo, "International Climate Negotiations," May 23.
  • 2012: Environmental Governance Lecture Series, “The State of Global Climate Governance,” Wageningen University, the Netherlands, June 18.
  • 2012: “Persuasion in World Politics: Arguments in Climate Negotiations,” 53rd Annual Convention of the International Studies Association, San Diego, USA, April 1.
  • 2012: “Global Climate Change Negotiations: An Insider’s Perspective,” 53rd Annual Convention of the International Studies Association, San Diego, USA, April 4.
  • 2011: London School of Economics and the Grantham Institute for Climate Change, “Climate Change Negotiations: Update from Durban,” December 12.
  • 2009: “Decoy Institutions and Global Governance Preemption,” Conference on New Frontiers in Global Environmental Governance, Centre for International Governance Innovation, Waterloo, January 28-30. By invitation only.

Invited Talks

  • 2015: University College-London, United Kingdom: “Climate Diplomacy and Global Governance” (May 26).
  • 2015: SciencePo-Grenoble, France: “Decoy institutions in World Politics” (June 5).
  • 2014: Munk School of International Affairs, University of Toronto: “The Hidden Hand of Climate Diplomacy” (November 13).
  • 2014: University of Geneva, Switzerland: “Diplomacy and Climate Change Governance” (May 20).
  • 2014: Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies, Geneva, Switzerland (May 27).
  • 2014: SciencePo-Paris, France, “Climate Governance and UN Diplomacy” (April 9).
  • 2013: United Nations University, Tokyo: “International Climate Negotiations” (May 23).

Awards and Distinctions

  • 2016: Award for Teaching Excellence, Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA).  
  • 2015: Samuel Clarke Research Award, UWO Faculty of Social Science, January.

  • 2009-2013: Standard Research Grant, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Canada). Project: “Climate Change Negotiations: Persuasion in World Politics,” Amount: $100,500.
  • 2012 - Consultant on climate diplomacy to the World Business Council on Sustainable Development, an alliance of the world’s largest multinational companies. [Solicited]
  • 2007: Award of Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, University of Western Ontario University Student Council, May. (210 nominations)
  • 2007: New Research and Scholarly Initiative Award, “The Global Politics of Climate Change: Negotiating the post-Kyoto Treaty,” University of Western Ontario.
  • 2001: Lawrence S. Finkelstein Award of the International Studies Association, top paper in International Organization.