They have prepared, saved and strategized for months. They have neglected friends and family, sleep and their own health in order to finish the brief, the publication or exhibition, prepare the side-event, fundraise the money to bring partners or plan their communication strategy for Copenhagen — only to find themselves locked out of the Bella Center during the last two days — crunch-time!!! — of the climate change negotiations in Copenhagen.
You guys from global civil society are nice, but essentially superfluous; colorful, but not important; a security risk, really. This is the message that the host government and the UNFCCC Secretariat are sending. And the world’s civil society, which had made the treck to the Danish capital in the tens of thousands, is angry…. and worse: frustrated and questioning increasingly its involvement with and the legitimacy of the climate negotiations process.
„I was supposed to give an interview with CNBC Thursday morning in the Bella Center,“ complained one person. „I am an elected Senator from Australia; is my presence in the Bella Center a security risk?,“ raged another.“We were supposed to meet with our delegation today, if we can’t get in, how can we influence the negotiations?“, wondered yet another. And one speaker asked pointedly:“We flew in folks for 25,000 Dollars for the side event that you are now saying has to be canceled; who is going to refund us?“
Alas, there is no money-back guarantee with the UNFCCC…
More than 110 heads of states have come already or will arrive today and tomorrow in Copenhagen for the High Level Segment with large entourages. Too many people, too little space in the Bella Center. What had to give, according to the UNFCCC Secretariat, was access for civil society representatives — and with the denied participation the transparency, democracy and accountability of the process….
Only 300 badges in total were given out to NGOs for entry to the Bella Center on Thursday; there will be even more restricted access on Friday (the rumor mill speaks of only 90 passes). That means that a network like CAN with some 450 member organizations received only56 badges to distribute. Not necessarily helpful for the cohesion and the atmosphere within the network, for sure. And maybe that is part of the thinking and strategy of the UNFCCC Secretariat?
Fact is, today, thousands of NGO folks, who came to be to Copenhagen to be a part of the climate solution, end up monitoring the negotiations today and tomorrow from the distance – via internet, television or the email updates which those fortunate colleagues with the “golden ticket” to the Bella Center manage to send out.
This is not what they came for. And so many are leaving early.
Picture under Creative Commons License; source: www.caufields.com/policies.aspx