Science Says: Civil Society in the Negotiating Room Adds Value

It is encouraging to note that Parties were satisfied with the progress they achieved during the previous ADP session. ECO also notes that observers were allowed in the rooms and invited to provide input in several sessions and roundtables. Contrary to popular belief that observers prevent Parties from having an open dialogue, this clearly shows an absence of a correlation between the presence of observers and ability of Parties to talk to each other in a constructive manner. Far be it for us to suggest that there could also be an extremely long of list of “closed” contact groups and sessions in which Parties have failed to produce any meaningful results.

This finding is actually confirmed by a recently published scientific study suggesting that “governments interested in increasing public support for ambitious climate policies could benefit from more CSO involvement” (Bernauer, T. & Gampfer, R. (2013)). Now that we have successfully debunked this theory that our presence could possibly distract some honourable delegates, ECO would suggest that Party delegates welcome our presence and our expertise in all sessions – including roundtables, expert meetings, and informal consultations – with open arms (or at least not closed doors). When such a presence is not foreseen, the only thing standing between such a regrettable situation and an open and transparent process could be the courage of one delegate to bring this point to the attention of the facilitator of this gathering.

We would like to emphasise that NGOs are colourblind – we have never checked the colour of badges at the entrance of the NGO party. Delegates might want to think about this before deciding to institute such a check at the entrance of any negotiation room.

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