NGO Participation Working Group
The participation of NGOs in the climate negotiations is key to remind governments of their responsibility to adopt an adequate climate agreement based on equity and science. NGO participation also ensures that actors are held accountable. The status of observers in the climate negotiations does not, however, allow NGOs to contribute with expertise and insights from communities as much as other UN fora do. The NGO Participation working group reviews procedures and practices related to the role of NGOs in the talks and advocates for more inclusive and transparent negotiations. Also, participation of local stakeholders is crucial in the implementation of mechanisms established under the Convention when the decisions adopted at the international level have direct impacts on local communities. The NGO Participation working group works with other CAN working groups to ensure that these mechanisms involve local stakeholders.
Civil society has been left with little choice but to spend the last three days camping out in the basement of the conference centre. Despite the strong objections of the G77+China and Mexico—that’s 135 Parties out of a possible 195—the co-chairs have still barred observers from the negotiations. Rumours abound when all that can be done is wait for scraps of news, often delivered third- or fourth-hand.
The EU seems to be resorting to silence worryingly often, ECO wonders if this is a new negotiations tactic.
ECO first noticed this practice on Tuesday, when the EU failed to offer support to the G77+China group’s call for observers to be allowed in the spin-off groups.
Later in the week, the EU again fell silent over the Umbrella Group’s proposal to remove loss and damage as a standalone article in the agreement, which would leave already vulnerable countries even more vulnerable.
Observers are savouring more than just the chocolate muffins since their exclusion from negotiations. ECO’s inbox has overflowed with updates and inside scoops, suggesting they can learn more about the negotiations by not being in the room. More positively still, these reveal some remarkable breakthroughs that have occurred since they were banished.
Everyone knows that real climate negotiations cannot take place in public. ECO is therefore pleased to have spent Tuesday occupying the cafeteria seats instead of delaying the rapid progress being made in the spinoff groups. At last check, we were on track to warm the seats by 3°C, enough to ensure negotiators could later sit comfortably while celebrating their work with beer and pretzels.
In 2012, the COP decided to establish a structured expert dialogue (SED) with the aim to support the work of a Joint Contact Group of SBSTA and SBI and to ensure the scientific integrity of a review in 2013-2015 on the adequacy of the long-term global goal in light of the ultimate objective of the Convention. Through a focused exchange of views, information and ideas SBSTA and SBI should give recommendations in relation to party commitments. The message of the SED could not be clearer: ‘Climate change is here and it is a matter of survival’.