We have a seat, why don't we speak?

We have a seat, why don't we speak?

It’s actually really hard to be the UK tracker, or for that matter any of the EU trackers. That’s because the EU negotiates as a block. What that means is, that during the negotiations you will only ever see one country speak on behalf of the whole EU. Presently this is the Czech Republic, as they have the presidency. Only very, very rarely will any other country negotiators, for example Jan, speak in a main session. This makes it really difficult to find out what the UK is up to and how we stand on many issues. If Reed wants to know what the USA thinks he just has to go and see them make their speech, but for those of us tracking EU countries finding out this info is a whole different kettle of fish.

So yesterday I was invited to go with the UK NGOs to their meeting with Jan. This is the time that they get to sit down with Jan and ask her questions and raise points about how they think the UK is doing. Great I thought, finally a chance to get a bit more in depth information.

The meeting was upstairs in the hotel, to get there you need an extra special card which allows you to go in the lift, it was all very exciting (you’re probably starting to realise at this point that I’m pretty easily amused by small things!). We were all then whisked into a room where we sat round a table and got to talk to Jan for about 45 minutes.

First of all there was lots and lots of policy discussed at the meeting, some I could follow, some of it went completely over my head. One thing you learn really quickly at UN meetings is that if what you’re talking about isn’t an acronym then it really mustn’t be that important! But I managed to follow enough, to get a good grasp of where we stand on a few things, and understand a bit more about how the EU negotiating works.

The biggest thing I took away from the meeting was…

Money, money, money… everything seems to come back to it in the end!

During one of these UN meetings a couple of years ago in Bali, developed countries agreed to provide financial support to developing countries to adapt, develop low carbon economies and protect their forests. But as of yet there is still no offer of money (or any actual money) on the table! The EU, which was beginning to develop its position on finance, now seems to be backtracking, which is really going to hold up the negotiations. As the most significant block of developed countries they have the power to help move things along, but as yet we have no offer of finance, no money in the pot, to even start to negotiate with!

Jan did respond to questions raised about this saying the UK was committed to working with a couple of proposals on the table (from Norway and Mexico) but what I really wanted to know, but found it hard to work out is just how hard we, the UK are pushing within the EU for this.

In my opinion…it’s time to lead! Someone in the EU needs to, backtracking is not an option, we need to see money in the pot and we need to see it now!

P.S. Last of all I had a chance to talk. In the interest of not boring you all with a really long blog, I shall hold off telling you what I said for now and you can check back later.

Sorry for being like a Spiderman film and introducing the next instalment just as I finish the first! But please do check back I promise it will be worth it!

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  • http://www.ukycc.org Guppi

    So basically – Europes biggest climate deniers are speaking on our behalf?

  • Kate

    Thanks for that Anna – great to hear what the UK is up to in lay mans terms. You’re right, it’s crazy that we’re not pushing harder to get decent adaptation funds. The UK pride themselves on their aid and international development commitments but all of the poverty reduction that has been achieved in recent years could be wiped out if developing countries aren’t given the help they need to deal with already scarce resource and a growing unpredictability in the climate. You tell ‘em Anna!

  • pilchard

    Not as such: the Czech republic chairs the EU’s coordination meetings, but the EU positions are agreed by all member states. Positions are developed at the expert level fortnightly, and these are endorsed by more senior officials in their meetings back in Brussels between sessions. There is also daily coordination during the negotiating sessions, in which all member states are able to participate.

    Who negotiates for the EU is discussed internally. The leader negotiator for the KP track is from the Commission, for instance, a role done in Bonn I by Dutch negotiator. In Poznan, the UK lead on response measures. Etc.

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