Bridging week 1 and 2 of COP21
Saturday5 December. Morning. I see to my great amazement the first twitter I see having just in Paris is that the ADP text, the draft negotiation text, has been submitted to ministers. The French presidency had set Saturday as a deadline for the negotiations on the text to be concluded by the diplomats – those who have hovered over it for countless weeks and months the past year – to be taken over by the ministers that start already Sunday afternoon to try to deal with all the remaining brackets – not agreed text – in the still X pages long text. One deadline kept is a bit achievement in this game. If the next deadline that COP President Fabius set up – to conclude negotiations by Wednesday 9 so that they have two days to translate the text to all UN languages before the official closing ceremony on the 11th – can be kept is a bigger question. Wise of earlier big deadlines in this arena – COP15 in Copenhagen for example – I booked my return ticket on Sunday 13th, but it is flexible. Will I come home for the weekend?
I spent Saturday afternoon exploring the green zone- the space for civil society and the public next to the COP. Buzzing with creativity and discussions as it should be. Feels like home. Too bad I will have limited time to be there. Got my badge for the COP and from Monday morning I will see what I can follow of the negotiations without being able to follow them. In person that is – ministers want privacy when they negotiate. So one has to triangulate with what sources there are. Like I did the first week of the COP when I was home in bed with a flu. The first day with all the heads of state speeches I was far away in fever sleep but the following days I used kept up with events through my four standard sources by now: the daily issues of the Earth Negotiation Bulletin, the webcasts of a selection of press conferences (notably CAN, EU, US, G77), twitter and the CAN newsletter. All together this gives a relatively good snapshot of where things are going – not as good as being here and hearing direct news from negotiators, or from other friends who know negotiators but still. Because there is a reason I go to the COP the second week rather than the first. My primary reason to be there is to understand the background for the outcome and to collect contacts for doing interviews later. This is my research field – the international efforts to create jointly agreed upon norms on in this case climate change. How do these norms later influence state behavior – and who can hold states to account for their compliance?
And as I finalize this blogg Sunday 6 December I see Christiana Figueres’ tweet the minister –level negotiations have started. I have catching up to do – reading the version of text that they are working on. Time do download it and get to work.