Tracking Climate Negotiations at COP17

I keep on waking up at 4am. Today, it has been three days in a row that I open my eyes at the exact same time, and then, I cannot go back to bed again. I am sure you have experienced it before, the so-called jet lag.

I arrived back to Mexico 3 days ago, after spending around 3 weeks in South Africa. An incredible experience, as I was a part of the Adopt a Negotiator Trackers team, writing and blogging about climate negotiations during COP17 in Durban. This was my second Conference of the Parties, and I felt better prepared than my first experience, last year in Cancun.

Daily Trackers meeting
Daily Trackers meeting - COP17, Durban

A “typical” day as a tracker during COP17 started with team, organization and regional meetings, research, looking and talking to negotiators and getting any important information that could be useful for our blogs anywhere – text, pictures or video, and then, writing about our research day by day, following the climate process in our regions. In my case I would write about Mexico, and often about Latin America’s positions.

It was exhausting indeed, but at the same time it was fun. Personally, I was learning all the time, getting involved in the process and living extraordinary experiences that made me feel I was in this “green bubble” where everything was possible. Once I interviewed Patricia Espinosa, Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Secretary and COP16 President. Other times I would find Mexican negotiators during lunch, or walking in the halls of the ICC, and I could get quick interviews. And last year I had the opportunity to introduce our project and ask a question to Mexico’s President, Felipe Calderón, in the plenary.

Durban, South Africa  - Dec 2011
Durban, South Africa - Dec 2011

One of the aspects I love the most about being involved with the UNFCCC process is meeting and working with people, from all around the world, that are well informed and care about the present and future of our planet. Yes, especially young people that realize the importance of these negotiations and participate by raising their voices and letting their governments and negotiators now the outcomes they want to see, as a result of the climate talks. Also the originality of their actions – an videos- is amazing, these are some of my favourite examples: International Youth Climate Movement Actions / Shakira’s Waka Waka comes to COP17 / Conference of Youth – Durban / Youth Demand a Real Climate Deal / Fossil of the Day / Understanding COP17 UN Climate Talks – in 3 minutes

On the outcomes of COP17, in a few words, there is a second commitment of the Kyoto Protocol, but it is weak, as major polluters like Canada, US, Japan, Russia, Australia and New Zealand are out of this second period. Apparently, by 2020 (… let’s wait another 8 years)  a “new legal instrument will come into effect that will replace Kyoto Protocol and impact the principles of the UNFCCC”. The Green Fund has a structure now, but there is no money on it.We will continue working, and keep on tracking what happens with negotiations during 2012.

To get more information on the results, and the whole process during the two weeks of COP, I invite you to visit our project: – and do not forget to watch our very own video 😉

(Andrea Arzaba, December 2011)

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