"The globe is small but the world is so big. These conferences are just too big, too complicated. Businesses, national governments NGOs, academics, and scientists -- they put you all into a melting pot and in ten days you are expected to come up with a solution. It can't happen." Cancun, 2010. South African delegate Themba Tenza
The rift between the rich and the poor rips through social media networks today as a new report by the World Development Movement details previously undisclosed information which portrays Western power elite negotiators employing "bullying tactics" to ensure they rule the outcome of the Climate Talks which begin tomorrow in Durban, SA.
In a Guardian article today Western nations 'used bullying tactics' at climate talks, John Vidal reports on examples of threatening behaviours at the Climate Summit.
Official attendees of both COP15 and COP16 testify that the Developed countries are utlizing "divide-and-rule tactics and threats to withhold vital funds unless agreements are signed."
The authors add: "The US said they would deny climate finance to Bolivia and Ecuador because they had objected to the Copenhagen accord proposal. The EU's Connie Hedegaard had also suggested that the small island-state countries "could be 'our best allies because they need finance'."
One diplomat told the report's authors: "At one point in Copenhagen there were 26 meetings taking place simultaneously. How can a developing country delegation of two people possibly hope to cope? These numbers are life and death. There is no intention to agree a fair scenario, whether voluntary or by obligation. It's so clear: we only need your signature here, we have figured out everything, we have designed the role of your country, there is no more time, please sign here now.
"Developed countries sit down and delay, and just repeat inanities, and then they go out and tell the media that the developing countries are blocking the negotiations, and all the world believes it, even developing countries!"
During last year's talks in Cancun, time and again it was the discussions I had on the bus en route to Cancun Messe which told the true story behind the 'circus like' atmosphere which has come to characterize the official climate talks. At the end of the first week of talks, a seasoned negotiator said he was leaving that afternoon.
“Since Copenhagen there is much more of a feeling that maybe the UNFCCC is not the vehicle for action on climate issues,” he says. It is going to take a lot of money and a lot of change in the dynamics of the negotiations for anything effective to happen.”
Comparing recent Cops to finely choreographed high security circuses, the veteran of nine years of climate talks recalls the days when he would file cables at the end of long days of negotiations and what an honor it was to work with Chairman Raul Estrada-Oyuela (“He was abrasive yet effective, a real diplomat.”)
“All the negotiators come here with firm instructions from their governments and no one can deviate from that,” he says. “It used to be that there was some wiggle room. Things are even worse now that the talks are broadcast live around the world.”
Right now, he says, the COPs most important function appears to have morphed into serving as a stimulus for the hosting company’s economy. Like a World Cup or The Olympics. Cirque de Cancun
Just this past spring,Bangladesh UN Under-Secretary-General Anwarul K. Chwodhury expressed his frustration that the 880 million people currently residing in 48 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) remain the voiceless and the most marginalized, not worthy of attention until "they are engulfed in conflict or devastated by natural disasters."
Speaking before the fourth official meeting of the LDCs in Istanbul, Chwodhury said official talks are"permeated by a mood of desperation and disappointment."
Delegates from the undeveloped nations describe the tactics employed by development partners as the 4 “D’s: “deny, dilute, delay and divide.
Published after this meeting, Istanbul Political Declaration was highly critical of "flaws and shortcomings of the model of development promoted by dominant players in the international community." The IPD demanded a shift to a New International Support Architecture, a development model that would fundamentally transform "the relations between rich and poor, powerful and powerless, men and women, the elites and those without resources, the dominant and the marginalized."
We strongly believe that it is important to base development on LDCs’ strengths and not on their weaknesses. Countries may be categorized as ‘poor’ according to UN criteria, but they are rich in many important aspects – in community cohesion, in natural resources and being able to live in harmony with our natural world, in diverse cultures and in human dignity. And especially in the growing numbers of young women and men who have huge potential and hopes for a better future. In many ways, our societies are the most developed countries, not the least developed.
.... But the LDCs are economically disadvantaged, exploited and marginalised. As part of the preparation for this conference, civil society engaged in an extensive process of listening to the concerns of the people in the LDCs through local, national and regional consultations in Africa, Asia and the Pacific. These highlighted the greater burdens that the marginalized and vulnerable peoples of LDCs have had to face in the last decade, with new crises of food, water and energy, the impacts of the financial crisis, and the intensification of the climate crisis. There is deep fear over an uncertain future even as there is determination to survive.
We are calling for the Istanbul consensus to constitute a clear rejection of the Washington consensus. Government policy should be based on participative national development strategies that focus on each country’s vision and core strengths. We must build jobs and opportunities for the sustainable use of our oil, our mineral wealth, our land, our forests, our fish and other natural resources, protecting the rights of traditional owners and users of the resources, adding value and insisting on fair prices. Diversification of our economies will require government leadership to build a strong domestic economy, with particular emphasis on creating opportunities for cooperatives and social enterprises, small and medium companies and women-led organisations. The rights of vulnerable and marginalised people must be put at the centre of economic decision-making, with stronger mechanisms for transparency, integrity and accountability.
Meanwhile, in news today from COP17, the Caravan of Hope arrived in Durban after a 4000 miles ten country journey to ensure the voices of African's who are clamoring for climate justice are heard at the UN Talks.
We’d been talking about Durban as our final destination for so long that it seemed to have taken on a mythical, El Dorado-like status. Thankfully it was real enough at 4am this morning, when I woke to find us driving down palm tree-lined streets with signs and banners for Cop 17 everywhere.
Representing the voice of another minority at the talks, Executive Director of UN Women Michelle Bachelet tells IPS that the Climate Talks Must Ensure That "Words Become Reality"
Women and girls – who make up the majority of the world's poor – have much more limited access to information and financial resources than men, a fact which exposes them to a higher risk of severe climate change impacts, underscored Bachelet.
In devising and implementing financial instruments like the Green Climate Fund, she urges government delegates, international experts and civil society actors gathering in Durban to retain a gender- sensitive approach to improve accountability.
"Climate financing should be equitable and respond to the urgent needs of all members of society, and gender issues must be taken into account at all stages of the financing process," she told IPS.