Tag: Civil society participation

Statement regarding cost recovery policy on behalf of all observer constituencies

Even though the Secretariat and Parties keep saying that civil society plays a critical role in the negotiations, there’s very little they’re doing to help us participate effectively. The proposed cost recovery policy for side events and exhibits is a case in point. The following is the collective response on behalf of all non-governmental observer constituencies, which offers to work with the Secretariat and Parties to find a real and sustainable solution. Why not give us more than four days and an open and participatory process to do so.

On behalf of the constituencies representing business and industry, research groups, indigenous peoples organisations, environmental groups, women and gender, trade unions, local government and municipal authorities, farmers and youth, we would like to express our concern regarding the policy on cost recovery announced in the Secretariat’s information note dated June 4th. This policy threatens to undermine the quality of observer participation in the UNFCCC process.

From its beginning, the UNFCCC has recognised the value of observer participation, most recently during Thursday’s Article 6 dialogue on public participation. Within the SBI negotiations and workshops, numerous ministerial statements and today’s discussion, the Secretariat and Parties have repeatedly acknowledged the “crucial and integral” role of observers in and the value of our contributions to this process. 

Despite this widespread recognition, the proposed cost recovery policy would effectively exclude many voices that cannot afford to pay the new costs, and threaten the credibility and legitimacy as well as mutual trust that have been established within this process. It would also undermine our ability to share diverse views and to present current research and innovative solutions to this complex problem. 

This policy – which essentially shifts the burden from Parties to observers – would have significant impacts on our ability to engage in, inform and influence the process. Many observer organisations face significant resource and capacity constraints and, as recognised by the Secretariat, have limited opportunities to share their views and perspectives. The voices of civil society, in particular organisations from developing countries and regions and other groups representing those most vulnerable, will be further marginalised if the right to speak is premised on the ability to pay.

As we’ve demonstrated in the past, we are committed to working with the Secretariat and Parties to find solutions together. We are willing to work with the Secretariat to find a real solution that doesn’t link financial contribution to the ability of observers to effectively participate in this process.  In the interim, we urge you to put this policy on hold until other options have been considered through a transparent and participatory process, involving the constituencies, which is critical to protecting diverse points of view and ensuring legitimate outcomes.

Let us work together to find a solution.

Related Newsletter : 

G77 earn Fossil of the Day as they oppose language to foster civil society participation

Today's first place fossil goes to Algeria!

Algeria on behalf of the group of G77 was awarded the third ever Rio Fossil of the Day today. Moves to oppose language in relation to effective civil society engagement and participation in implementing sustainable development have earned them the top spot.        

Today’s Rio Fossil was chosen through a vote by representatives of youth networks and hundreds of global NGOs organized in the Climate Action Network CAN.                          

The Fossil presentation text reads as follows:

“Algeria is receiving the fossil on behalf on G77 for opposing language in relation to effective civil society engagement and participation to implement sustainable development. 20 years ago, Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration recognised that the best environmental decisions are made  with the involvement of the public. That includes civil society groupings such as NGOs, women, trade unions, youth and others. We agree that referring to stakeholders in the outcome document should be avoided as some private interest groups, such as big corporations, do more harm than good.

However, in many ways civil society groups are the best allies parties have at the international level, especially developing country parties, whom we often support by providing increased capacity and advocacy efforts. We have a huge range of expertise and experience that adds real value when we are able to participate in decision-making at the local, national and international levels. Our ability to participate also ensures the legitimacy of decision making and helps translates decisions into real world outcomes. This is the only way to genuinely achieve sustainable development. We know that only a very small number of G77 members are resisting language that would help us play our role more effectively. The rest of the G77 should not allow this minority rule."

The Rio Fossil Awards will be presented daily throughout the negotiations highlighting the country or countries who do the least to support progress (or the most to block it) on issues relevant to climate change, such as energy, forests, and the green economy. Fossil of the Day ceremonies take place every day at 18:15, in the corridor leading from the negotiating rooms in Pavillion 3 into the main  crossroads towards the courtyard in the center of RioCentro.

Region: 

G77 earn Fossil of the Day as they oppose language to foster civil society participation

Today's first place fossil goes to Algeria!

Algeria on behalf of the group of G77 was awarded the third ever Rio Fossil of the Day today. Moves to oppose language in relation to effective civil society engagement and participation in implementing sustainable development have earned them the top spot.        

Today’s Rio Fossil was chosen through a vote by representatives of youth networks and hundreds of global NGOs organized in the Climate Action Network CAN.                          

The Fossil presentation text reads as follows:

“Algeria is receiving the fossil on behalf on G77 for opposing language in relation to effective civil society engagement and participation to implement sustainable development. 20 years ago, Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration recognised that the best environmental decisions are made  with the involvement of the public. That includes civil society groupings such as NGOs, women, trade unions, youth and others. We agree that referring to stakeholders in the outcome document should be avoided as some private interest groups, such as big corporations, do more harm than good.

However, in many ways civil society groups are the best allies parties have at the international level, especially developing country parties, whom we often support by providing increased capacity and advocacy efforts. We have a huge range of expertise and experience that adds real value when we are able to participate in decision-making at the local, national and international levels. Our ability to participate also ensures the legitimacy of decision making and helps translates decisions into real world outcomes. This is the only way to genuinely achieve sustainable development. We know that only a very small number of G77 members are resisting language that would help us play our role more effectively. The rest of the G77 should not allow this minority rule."

The Rio Fossil Awards will be presented daily throughout the negotiations highlighting the country or countries who do the least to support progress (or the most to block it) on issues relevant to climate change, such as energy, forests, and the green economy. Fossil of the Day ceremonies take place every day at 18:15, in the corridor leading from the negotiating rooms in Pavillion 3 into the main  crossroads towards the courtyard in the center of RioCentro.

 

 

Region: 

On The Outside Looking In

 

Dear delegates,

Let us share with you our confusion.  We are very happy to hear your heart-warming reports of the added value that we as civil society bring to this process.  However, we are slightly discouraged by the fact that we are often not allowed in the rooms where the real negotiations are taking place.

The rules on observer participation promote that all negotiating sessions are open to observers in both contact groups and informals. The spirit of the SBI discussions over the past years led us to believe that we might expect to enter the rooms. When the doors are closed to us, we call on all parties in the room to systematically ask their colleagues whether there is a compelling reason preventing the holding of a transparent session.

The graph below demonstrates the stark reality NGOs faced last just June. Despite the SBI encouraging enhanced participation, civil society spent a significant amount of time wandering aimlessly through the Maritim corridors, engaging in more conversations with the ghosts of classical musicians its room are named for than with negotiators. (Though ECO is quick to note that Listz's views on technology transfer are particularly nuanced.)

You can trust us, we are currently MRVing the compliance of parties' commitment to “openness, transparency and inclusiveness”. Because, really, there is only so much one can observe from the corridors.

Related Newsletter : 

Civil Society Organizations Submission: Observer participation in the proceedings of the Board of the Green Climate Fund

 

Preliminary responses for initial consultation

Our initial response to the questionnaire from the interim secretariat is based on the understanding that arrangements will be made by the GCF Board, including developing and operating accreditation processes in accordance with paragraph 16, section 7, "Observers", Chapter C "Rules of Procedure of the Board", of the GCF Governing Instrument.

We believe that the GCF will benefit from civil society participation/input in a number of ways including increasing transparency, effectiveness and credibility. Thus we invite the Board of the GCF, at its first meeting, to view these recommendations as the initial step in an inclusive, in-depth process for broad consultation and engagement on observer issues and we look forward to further opportunities in the near future to share additional and further developed views with the Board on these important issues.

Active observers according to the GCF Governing Instrument

·       Active CSO board observers (1 North, 1 South)

·       Active private sector board observers (1 North, 1 South)

Proposed structures for observers

 

·       Alternate CSO board observers (1 North, 1 South)

·       Alternate private sector board observers (1 North, 1 South)

·       Advisory Committee (helps vet selections for CSO and private sector seats, and helps advise observers once they are nominated, including preparing pre-board meeting materials and consultations; 1 North, 1 South from each of the UNFCCC 9 constituencies = 18 people total)

·       Third party facilitator for selection process

·       Civil society liaison staff person in the GCF interim secretariat (supports observers)

...MORE

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When the Rubber Hits the Road, Will Civil Society be Left Behind?

Last week, ECO wondered if Parties would “walk the walk” on supporting civil society participation. The full-day workshop included many nice words and sentiments, but ECO has heard a lot of those and is rather interested in whether those words would be followed up with action.

Now the rubber is hitting the road in the SBI Contact Group discussions. Unfortunately, to ECO’s dismay, the answer remains unclear.

In yesterday’s SBI Contact Group, Saudi Arabia came out strongly against enhancing civil society participation. While appalling, this is perhaps not unexpected, given how much Saudi Arabia has to hide when it comes to their own climate policies.  But Saudi Arabia was not alone in rejecting improvements on transparency and participation.

They were supported by India as well as Antigua and Barbuda on at least some of the issues. These three countries opposed language to encourage more informal consultations to be open to observers – and ECO noted that they were the only ones to oppose.

ECO is forced to wonder, what are Saudi Arabia, India, Antigua and Barbuda hiding?  Well, we know what Saudi Arabia is up to, but why would India, Antigua and Barbuda want to shut civil society out?

The SBI Chair’s draft text provided a solid foundation for enhanced civil society participation and transparency and ECO was pleased to hear Australia, the European Union, Colombia, Mexico, and Bolivia all emphasize the need for transparency and the productive role of civil society organizations, and brought some common sense to the matter. 

Civil society wants to support countries in their collective efforts to save “Mother Earth” from climate change, if only parties would create the space for their support.

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