View the Levelling the Playing Field report by clicking here: UNfairplay report
View the the accompanying Press Release here:
‘Levelling the Playing Field’
A report to the UNFCCC Secretariat by UNfairplay
UN Climate negotiations are inherently unfair says report ‘Leveling the Playing Field’ to be delivered to UNFCCC Secretariat by youth campaigners in Cancùn.
“Our friends who are living most powerfully the impacts of a destabilized climate above 350 ppm are also the ones whose voices are under-represented in the UN process. Anything we can do to help level the playing field is a step towards addressing the problem in a fair way… The UN process is obtuse enough as it is, without these extra complications and obstacles that shut out small nations and civil society alike”
On average, every 100 million people living on the African continent are represented by less than 3 delegates at the UN climate negotiations in comparison with 6.4 delegates per 100 million inhabitants of the EU. This is one of the many shocking findings uncovered in a report released today by youth organization UNfairplay (www.UNfairplay.info), supported by renowned climate campaigners 350.org.
The issue of inequality in the sizes of the delegations from different countries is highlighted in the report. It has been announced by the secretariat that no more than 6 official meetings go on at once, yet in Cancùn 15% the delegations have 5 or less representatives. It seems that there is little chance of such a small delegation being able to represent its citizenship effectively in negotiations.
The countries who end up having to sacrifice meetings tend to not only be those which are least economically developed but also those which are most susceptible to the adverse affects of climate change, states UNfairplay. The Alliance Of Small Island States (AOSIS), a grouping who’s uniting factor is their vulnerability to climate change, has on average 9 delegates per country whilst the EU has on average 38. Furthermore Brazil, as an individual state, has 70% more delegates than the entire AOSIS coalition of 39 countries.
The report also looks at other issues affecting delegations from less economically developed countries, such as their ability to access information across the resource and language barriers they face. It argues that the secretariat should provide full and complete transcripts of all meetings translated promptly into all the UN languages, something currently available in the other UN meetings. As it stands now there is no effective way of accessing what was actually said in negotiations. Journalists have to quote other journalist’s paraphrasing; delegates cannot hold each other accountable verbatim and NGOs are trapped by the bias of interpretation.
Quotes from the 40 delegates interviewed over the last year, outline among other things the remaining severity of language as barriers to participation for some delegates.
Not only does this make the process unfair but the report argues that: “Increasing the negotiating capacity of underrepresented and under resourced delegations would have considerable implications on the efficiency and direction of the UNFCCC and resulting action on climate change”
The report recommends seven simple and logistically feasible steps which it claims the UNFCCC secretariat should take to make the process of climate negotiations fairer and more transparent. The authors believe that in order to fulfill its charter the UN must truly look into and amend the functioning of the climate talks to ensure agreement with its founding charter which calls explicitly for the “sovereign equality of all its Members.”