I arrived at the UNFCCC meeting in Bonn at Wednesday morning, after a long train ride from Copenhagen. The negotiations officially started on Monday morning, but it doesn’t seem that too much has happened yet.
With four different tracks of negotiations going on simultaneous you would think I have missed a lot, but the negotiations in two of the tracks, LCA and KP, had only just started Tuesday afternoon, and both SBI and SBSTA were still being discussed on the agenda.
Just after I arrived we attended a very interesting workshop on the participation of civil society in the negotiations, and it seems like there is consensus for having civil society participate continuously in the future. The EU, US and Australia expressed their opinions and support: “The parties reflect the views of civil society.” “Civil society brings new and different ideas.” “In this process we need a paradigm shift and plenty of new people, and the civil society adds oxygen to this process.” Just to mention a few.
Further more they agreed on a more informal relationship, full transparency in the process, and venues big enough to host all the relevant stakeholders. (In Cancun, the main venue, where the negotiations took place, weren’t big enough to fit all, so the negotiations where not easy accessible for everybody.)
Afterwards all the different constituencies had a presentation, and were here to share their views. In the UNFCCC the youth NGO’s together form one block called YOUNGO, and our point of view were also represented. Currently civil society is due to formalities only allowed to express our opinion in the opening and closing plenary and it’s important for civil society and in particular IFMSA that we are able too express our views in the relevant discussions.
The next COP will take place in Durban, South Africa, and at the end of the workshop, the upcoming COP president expressed, that the South African organizers are thinking of civil society as a very important stakeholder, and therefore have found a venue big enough to hold both the negotiators and civil society.
After this very interesting workshop we went to a site-event on Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which is one of the flexible mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol, which enables a developed country to invest in a project in a developing country to gain extra carbon credits.
It was held by the UK government, and they presented projects on 3 very interesting issues:
– Electrification in rural areas
– Water purification
All the projects where really excellent, but it was really stunning that even though all the projects had a very strong indirect health message, it wasn’t mentioned at all.
It saw this as a great opportunity for us to raise awareness on health, so I got up at the end, and commented on how their message could be emphasized if they used the benefits for health. I told them about the lancet series on this particular topic, and how these data are applicable to their projects. They were very pleased with the inputs, and said, that they honestly haven’t though of this, but would research, so it was definitely worth raising the question.
After the site-event, with the agenda’s still no agreed upon, we decided to get to our accommodation to have our first team meeting in person.