Why do some countries get a better deal at the UN climate negotiations?
Some countries can afford to send hundreds of negotiators and support staff. They’re well rested in their pleasant hotels. They spread the endless meetings and tough work load between their dedicated, well rested and well informed teams. They have no shortage of lawyers, professional negotiators, economists and expert advisers. Other countries don’t. They can’t afford it. They can’t afford to send hundreds of people. They can’t afford to get them half way across the world. They can’t afford the salaries, the transport and the accommodation.
So the poorest countries, who contribute the least to climate change, and have the most to lose are the countries with the smallest voice. Sound fair? Not really.
UNfair play is a group of young people who set out to do something about this.
The story so far….
A group of 10 young people went to COP15 (Copenhagen) to support under represented Government Delegations, which turned out to be mainly the Island Nation of Kiribati, and an attempted supporting of Nuie (sore point!). 5 of the group were made party delegates for the last week of negotiations when civil society were not being let in, they were of general use to the delegation by taking minutes of meetings and side events, and attending some events as Kiribati representatives: see the blog posts on COP15 for all the drama!
From their experience at COP15 Charlie and Tina (part of the original group of 10) have set up a United World Colleges Delegation of 15 young people to attend COP16 (Cancun) to do the same as before, but hopefully on a much larger scale.
A new project has been spawned from UNfairplay, since COP15, known affectionately as FIG-Filling Information Gaps. It sounds boring, and in all honesty it is pretty boring, except it happens to be essential to any useful progress to the negotiations in future. FIG aims to investigate and highlight issues of participation within the UNFCCC. In 2010 we started collecting lots of opinions on information gaps experienced by negotiators, NGO’s and youth in a questionnaire format, culminating in the report ‘Levelling the Playing Field‘. It has been endorsed by other NGO’s, and the International Youth caucus at the UNFCCC, as well as the Kiribati delegation. We have been using the report to lobby the UN secretariat ever since. We will be stepping this up in the wake of Durban so watch this space! For more information have a look at the FIG tab on this website.
How can you get involved?
UNfairplay is not an official delegation or set membership of people, it is an idea that we have been publicising in the hope that more people will want to do the same, and using our experiences, they can be effective as possible.
We have created a small guide of our experiences and tips for doing the same, which is available on this website below the comments you will find a downloadable file, or you can send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org
We are an informal group that are open to others using this website as a platform for blogging on their efforts supporting delegations in the negotiations, so please get in touch if you would like to blog on this site, everyone is welcome: email email@example.com
And lastly, join us on Facebook for updates by like’ing us here !
Isabel, Alex, Charlie, Jess, Tina, Sam, Kirsti, Jamie, Lena, Connie, Helena, Laurence, Lindsay, Benas…..and maybe you in future?