Freshwater Action Network
– grassroots influencing on water and sanitation

Exploring paths to push water in the entire climate change discourse

The second day for me at the UNFCCC's Bonn Climate Change Talks was a mixed bag of experiences. The day started with a quick morning meeting and ended with a summary meeting with Karin Lexen and Karin Glaumann of Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI). This arrangement seems to be working well because it not only helps in planning the day but also creates space for clarifying doubts and in strategizing plans and actions for the following day.

The two session that got me interested were  Briefing for observer organizations by the  Conference of Parties (COP) – 18/COP meetings of Parties (CMP) incoming – Presidency an the UNFCCC Executive Secretary and First meeting of the Durban Forum on capacity building.


My interest in these two sessions emanated from the intention of exploring paths that will help push water to be considered as an important interlinking resource in the entire climate change discourse and to also gauge possibilities of integration within the existing arguments and interactions. 
The briefing session for observer organizations (civil society) was addressed by the Abdulrahman bin Mohammed Al-Khulaifi, Ambassador of the State of Qatar, in The Federal Republic of Germany and Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary. The format of the briefing session was a welcome change as the entire discussion was led by the observer organizations and the Ambassador of the State of Qatar was responding to their queries and suggestions. The discussion revolved around issues brought forth by the observer organizations concerning the UNFCCC COP 18 in Doha. 
  • Political implications of COP 18 should be pre-empted and strategies should be developed accordingly for enhanced benefits
  • Possibility of convening meeting of the head of states should be explored during the COP 18
  • Appropriate leadership will be required to ensure the success of COP 18
  • Establishing Friends of Chair from diverse sections will help the meet address issues comprehensively 
  • Effort should be made to establish partnership between the government representatives and civil society organizations through designed interactions during the meet for collaborative action
  • Interaction between Research and Independent Non Government Organizations (RINGOs) and negotiators should be facilitated during COP 18 through formal sessions during the meet
  • Different stakeholders should be given an opportunity to formally interact with the negotiators for an inclusive negotiations
  • Options and opportunities for business communities should be provided during the negotiations
  • Involvement of youth as a pre-requisite for COP 18
  • COP 18 should be designed in such a manner that interactions do not remain limited to technical and specialized deliberations instead space is created for social processes as well
The comments/suggestions from the observer organizations during the session reiterated the importance of weaving in practicality and realness to issues that are going to be addressed during COP 18. This process of generating ideas from observer organizations appears to be partially adhering to the values of transparency, realness and inclusivity. But the challenge will be to take the suggestions offered to a logical conclusion by providing adequate space and scope for deliberations during the meet. 
The suggestions that were generated during the meeting were largely process oriented and there was hardly any mention about issues/sectors that are required to be strengthened or incorporated in the meet. Though this might not be the appropriate forum/platform to raise such suggestions, but concerns should not get limited in its outreach by administrative walls/boundaries. There is a definite requirement to guide present deliberations on climate change impact, adaptation and mitigation through process oriented strategies, but the approach will get a boost if sectors causing concerns can be dovetailed with the on-going processes. There seems to be a huge potential of convergence between the observer organizations (those looking at process and issues separately) for making a joint pitch for streamlining global concerns from a third perspective.

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