A slice of the broader narrow picture

Last night was UNfairplay’s first ever side event!

Side event = boring, dry, uninspiring? Not necessarily, I know I have been surprised at how engaging issues of participation have been for those involved in UNfairplay, and to those who we try to convey our findings too. Our aim was to draw attention to the report but also to highlight other schemes created to plug participation gaps at the UNFCCC. I think the reason our arguments are gaining traction and interest from all sides is very simply because they are issues of justice, and plain unfairness. My parents always hated my “its not fair” phase at the age of 7, well it’s back.

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One day to go

Only one day to go before myself and Isabel hop on the coach to Cologne then grab the train to Bonn. Its going to be a long one but flying’s an absolute no brainer, not going to happen. Still plenty of time to read and write and get up to date. I’m looking forward to getting there and getting stuck in. Also to meeting all the other youth delegates doing inspiring things.

It seems like there is allot for us to document when it comes to this idea of an information gap. We have been following the talks in a variety of ways. The Climate Action Network newsletters are helpful and give a good feel for the trend of the negotiations, the Earth Negotiations bulletin emails are more informative about actual negotiations but are much more technical in their language and often require some background knowledge (especially of all the acronyms commonly used!). To really get an idea of what the ENB are talking about it’s really worth having a quick gander at the UNFCCC website where beginners guide documents all the way up to the negotiating text may be found. The guides can be found here. I guess its like anything though, if you want to put in some reading you can do it and get up to speed. It’s just knowing what to read and where to get the latest updates when not there personally. At the moment we are trying to create a list of all the different websites that follow and report on the negotiations. There must be hundreds. We think its worth finding them and evaluating their use when it comes to keeping on top of negotiations both for civil society like us and for delegations. We can then hopefully create a guide to getting started, and staying informed.

There was another interesting piece in yesterdays Earth Negotiation bulletin that caught my eye. During the subsidiary Body for Scientifica and Technical Advice ( see http://tiny.cc/04fdn for explanation of SBSTA) RESEARCH DIALOGUE session:

“John Padgham, Global Change SysTem for Analysis,
Research and Training (START), discussed science policy
dialogues aiming to foster better communication between
scientists and policy makers in developing countries, stressing
the importance, inter alia, of: addressing capacity and
knowledge gaps; improving access to data; using integrated
inter-sectoral planning; and enhancing communication pathways”

Remember our project Filling Information Gaps? Well its all about finding out where countries are disadvantaged by lack of information. Yesterday we heard from Kiribati that small island states feel that information is not getting to them fast enough. Today this statement highlights that fact that information gaps are not just related to negotiations, they are also scientific. Different countries have access to different mitigation technology, or different regions may have higher resolution climate models (i.e. rich regions such as UK – Hadley Centre, and the US – NASA) the list goes on. Knowledge affects not only the negotiating position of parties but also their capacity to adapt to climate change. For this reason technology transfer is a big part of these negotiations (more on this in a later post).