Negotiators are people too. Hard to believe when you’re wandering around the halls of a UNFCCC conference, but it’s true. Last night I bumped into Jan in the hotel lobby dressed in jeans and looking very ‘off duty’, and it reminded me of this fact.
I really wouldn’t want to be a negotiator, basically they’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. Their title is pretty deceptive, because there is only so much negotiating they can actually do. Countries come to these talks with their positions already decided and the negotiators can only work within these confines. Though we need to make sure our negotiating team are pushing as hard as they can within their mandate if we want things to really change it isn’t them we need to be hounding.
It is our government who set their mandate, so it is them, and them alone who can provide our negotiators with the tools to push these talks forward.
Yesterday we had a meeting with Yvo do Boer, executive secretary of the UNFCCC. Basically he’s the man who is supposed to keep this whole complicated, and very long- winded, process on track, the chief negotiator tracker you might say! When the floor was opened up for general questions the entire tracking team immediately stuck our hands in the air. Our team approach (and probably eye catching bright red t-shirts) worked, and we were quickly called on to ask a question! I stepped forward and introduced the adopt a negotiator project before asking Yvo …
“What’s the one thing we could ask everyone who’s following us at home to do, that could move this process along and inject the sense of urgency we so desperately need before Copenahgen?”
His answer.. “Call your MPs, call your governments, hound them (ok so he didn’t use the word hound!).” But that was his basic message.
The only way we are going to get a deal in Copenhagen that is even remotely acceptable is if there is so much pressure in every country that governments are forced to come to the table with better offers. Now we can’t take responsibility for the whole world but we can take responsibility for the UK.
Negotiators are humans too, they want to do the right thing, they want to get a good deal. But without our support they can’t. It’s time to up the pressure!
Already the climate movement in the UK is growing daily, but we still need to mobilise like there’s no tomorrow (if we don’t there literally might be no tomorrow). The action you take in the next six months could be the most important thing you ever do in your life…the most important thing you ever do in your children’s life.
Nothing is more important in the next six months than making sure our government (whoever they might be….) know that we want them give our negotiators in Copenhagen the ability to push for a deal that will safeguard all our futures. They need to be setting positions for our negotiators to work with that are progressive and ambitious! It’s time to do what we have to do to achieve this!
And to make sure Yvo keeps all the negotiators on track we finished by presenting him with one of our lovely, bright red, negotiator tracker t-shirts. I hope I see him wearing it around!