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.
Firstly, the US has performed an impressive backflip and both endorsed Loss and Damage as a stand alone section and committed an annual 0.7% of GDP to financing it. As one US negotiator explained, “This backflip is in our national interest. We are deeply concerned about our projected gymnastics medal count at the 2016 Olympics and really need to practice”.
A breakthrough on human rights was also achieved. Apparently, after tasting the “Mango Heaven” smoothie (following ECO’s recommendation), negotiators from Saudi Arabia came to a newfound appreciation of human rights and are now supporting their comprehensive integration throughout the document.
Furthermore, Australia has convinced the Umbrella Group to accept major compromises on both mitigation and the long-term goal. This follows a bilateral with Marty McFly, who arrived yesterday from 1985, shocked to see that a comprehensive agreement to limit global warming had still not been signed. Strong language on decarbonisation and ratcheting up unconditional INDCs are now to be included. Sightings of delegates from Australia and New Zealand joyriding in the DeLorean confirm ECO’s suspicions of how this occurred.
Finally, and less positively, security has informed ECO that access to the first floor restrooms is now exclusively restricted to the Japanese delegation. Others can only use those restrooms by utilising guest passes, which Japan has reportedly distributed to EU and Umbrella Group delegations only. This aside, with plenty of press conferences to come, civil society organisations are looking forward to sharing the great progress being made with the rest of the world. ECO will toast to these recent developments as they are included in the final text. They provide clear evidence that excluding observers both helps them bring greater transparency and accountability to negotiations and Parties to be more productive. Now that’s a “co-benefit” if ECO ever saw one.