Fighting for a Voice and an Agreement
By Bob Baugh
December 18, 2009 - 1:38pm ET
The heads of state have arrived. We are waiting for President Obama to speak. Inside the Bella Center the exhibit booth hall is quiet with some beginning to pack up. The booths of many of the activist civil society groups were cleared out Wednesday night as the restrictions on NGO groups took hold. They left a stark message behind, a silhouette of a head with tape crossed across the mouth and a poster below saying “How can you decide about us without us.”
The negotiators and politicians struggled throughout the night trying to decide anything. Our ITUC team has several members who are here on party credentials (members of government delegations) giving them access to the meetings closed to NGO’s. They have kept our entire delegation up to date on breaking developments. For example, this report was sent by a Belgian trade unionist, Bérengère Dupuis, to Anabella Rosemberg at 3:40 AM for distribution to the ITUC delegation:
- a "friends of the chair group" will discuss the most sensitive issues - targets, markets and money - at a political level. (FYI, the political level means government leaders as opposed to the professional negotiators)
- Technical groups have been working part of the night. Some are going to continue the drafting exercise today: for the LCA track, these are shared vision, adaptation and response measures. The other groups have ceased to work, the texts will be sent at a political level. According to the Belgian head of the delegation, this is in general not because significant progress has been made, but because the drafting has reached a dead end. When there has been progress, it is in identifying alternative options (one of the exceptions: agriculture).
-It seems that the G77 countries have renewed trust in the process of negotiations, the situation is pacified. But all in all, the results are not very encouraging. There also seems to be a lack of leadership of the Danish presidency to have things move further.
- At a European level, European member states and the European Commission are going to discuss the option of announcing one single (unconditional) target of 30% of emission reduction to boost the negotiations. The EC is thinking of voluntary initiative as a basis for action, which means the extra 10% would be reached by EU countries that voluntarily want to do more.
At this mornings team meeting in the Bella Center we discussed the intelligence from the negotiations including the fact that our just transition language remains, what a press statement may say about an agreement, and the 2 minute floor speech ITUC President Sharon Burrow (also president of the Australian Confederation of Trade Unions) would be giving later in the day. Originally, the UNFCC had eliminated the traditional floor time for NGO’s but growing protests restored it to the agenda. They may have restricted our numbers but the union voice will be heard.
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