I came to COP16 to learn and to convince myself whether the solution to such a complex problem could come from this sort of conferences and negotiations, and how they happen.
Also with basic questions such as how do people interact? And how can NGO’s participate? And most specially, how the people, all of us, can have a part in the conversations?
Whenever I am in the premises, I feel as if I am inside a bubble and I am constantly looking for the ‘people’. Where are they? I thought I was going to see hundreds of people marching and expressing their concerns everywhere.
The premises are so far from each other there is dispersion and the civil society cannot easily get into the Hotel area of Cancun. In fact, I have not been able to see one of my friends who has been in the Klimaforum -the people summit where civil society could take part and learn about climate change. He told me very little people have been going there. Security has also kept them far away.
This coming week is a critical time for what is happening here. Whatever happens, one big challenge remains to bring the climate change issue into the hands of the people. As with the Millenium Development Goals, it has taken a long time until people started talking about it. And still, outside from the NGO, academia and governments, most people remain not knowing what it is. When one is here is easy to see that many bridges remain to be crossed between governments, NGOs and the people.
On my third full day, I am starting to understand the huge complexity, the scale of action required, the issues around the negociations. And that delay is no more an option!
Is there any way forward? I hope to leave having a clear sense of which it is and of what Initiatives of Change contribution can be…
Fabiola Benavente is a member of the International Council of Initiatives of Change. In her free time she is helping start a reforestation project http://www.3-force.org