Bolivia at the UN climate talks: “We need to stop going in circles”


In the Bangkok session this week, developing countries expressed frustration at the slow progress of the UN ‘informal’ talks on climate change.

In Monday’s LCA (Long-term Cooperative Action) talks, Columbia asked the delegates to discuss the concerns of developing countries.  United States, however, said that discussion of these concerns this would “pre-empt” the discussions next week by the Adaptation Committee.  They then proceeded to read out the agenda.

The proliferation of bodies under the UNFCCC seems to have led to delays and disruption.

Bolivia thanked the US for their extensive reading of next week’s agenda, but told countries: “we need to stop going in circles”“we need to discuss substance and make progress”.

The extensive reading by the US of the following week’s Committee agenda actually reminded me of something – the ‘filibuster’ tactic used in the Senate of the US itself.

Developing country voices are not being heard:

The fact that the UN sessions are informal has meant that proposals to the Chair were not being discussed. Bolivia said they had submitted a paper to the Chair of the LCA on 30 August, on behalf of the G77 group.

On Monday, Bolivia asked the Chair – why was it not there?

A delegate later told me that since the session was “informal”, the Chair had no obligation to put it on the table.

That means that the views of G77 countries were not being heard properly:  yet this Group of 77 countries represent some 80% of the world’s population!

These Bangkok talks are ‘informal’ since countries claimed that they could not afford to pay for the translation services required for a ‘formal session’.

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, announced before the session that: “Due to the…financial constraints, work during the additional session will be of an informal nature, hence there will be no formal plenary meetings, no interpretation or webcast services and no official documents”.

Why do countries have so little commitment to the process?  Observers argue this is a deliberate tactic.

Once again, attempts to push discussions into informal sessions and closed meetings (where civil society cannot observe the discussions) mean the talks become even less transparent.

Naura, on behalf of the island states, requested an informal note or “Chair’s summary” of the adaptation discussions so far. United States, however, once again blocked this request: “we cannot agree to and oppose any draft decision.”

“We cannot accept a written statement.” (United States)

In fact, the Chair was not even present at this meeting, but had been replaced by a stand-in. The multitude of meetings seemed to have reduced the capacity of the Chair.

Meanwhile, the world continues to hurtle towards 3 degrees of warming.


One thought on “Bolivia at the UN climate talks: “We need to stop going in circles”

  1. In years to come, those who are left will see these records as evidence of such staggering irresponsibility that genocide seems mild by comparison. Keep plugging away, friends; it’s the only thing to do…and thank you on behalf of my great grandchildren for trying.

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