Should I trust or should I lead?

Posted by Aurelia Annino, part of IofC Team in Cancun and co-founder of SiKanda, a non-profit organization. http://www.si-kanda.org

My perception of the COP16 conference changed every single day.

I arrived 2 weeks ago at the conference and as my first experience with COP, I didn’t know what to expect from the organization of the conference nor from seeing all of the different governments together.

At the beginning I remember I was impressed with the quantity of youth attending the COP. It looked as if about 70% of the attendees were no older than 35. I was a little concerned, wondering if the COP had sufficient facility space, but at the same time was happy to see how many young people were interested in climate change, society, sustainable development and politics.  This awoke a feeling of hope for this new generation that I had lost some years ago.  It was refreshing seeing youth interested in societal issues, where I had previously observed this generation as more self-absorbed.

The first world governments, as a whole, however, continued to demonstrate this self-absorbed attitude. At the end of the first week, I had the clear idea that the governments of developing countries attending the COP were just wasting their time asking for mitigations or climate funds, because the economic interests of those with more power were what led the negotiations.

As the President of Ecuador, Correa, said during his speech in the second week of the summit, remembering Socrates’ words: “justice is the advantage of the stronger”.

His words really made all who were present reflect.  It made me ask myself…

Where is the co-responsibility of the governments for climate change? Are the people that are involved in the negotiations actually invested in issues with climate change? Does a respect exist for future generations, and a vision exist for what the world will be like for them if things don’t change?

My answers to these questions were negative and I started distrust the governments and the ONU system. I was disillusioned, listening how people prefer to enrich their own pocket instead of taking into consideration the effects of their economic interests on the environment.

After the second week I was even more confident than ever that the work of NGOs would be crucial for human survival and human rights.

But at the end of the COP16 my opinion started to change regarding the ONU system.  On December 11th at 4:00AM in Cancun all 193 government decided to sign the accord for climate change.  This was the first time in the climate change negotiates that all 193 governments agreed and signed an accord.

All of us sighed with relief… maybe change is possible.

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One thought on “Should I trust or should I lead?

  1. Aurelia, thank you for your honest – and ultimately hoepful – account of your experience. I was particularly struck by the thought of ‘respect for future generations’. This is the right perspective.
    Warm greetings,
    Edward (Peters)

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