Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Briefing with Ian Fry - climate change negotiator for Tuvalu

Ian Fry briefing 26 April 2012

Present: Julie Melrose, Sarlae McAlpine, Tatiana Stotz, Karina BF, Sophia, Will, EP Proctor, Katherine, Maris, Emily

Ian Fry

On 26 April, the ANU Rio+20 Delegation were given a private briefing by Ian Fry, a special advisor to the Government of Tuvalu on international climate change negotiations. Ian Fry was present at the”rio+10” World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 in South Africa – the 10 year review of the original Rio Earth Summit.

Ian Fry explained to the delegation the different processes that take place at international environmental meetings. The High Level segment involves the negotiation over “crunch issues” and the political outcomes of the final document. It is often closed to observers. NGO processes and activities are often conducted as a separate forum for civil society, running alongside the official government negotiations. These can include side events on particular issues, protests and demonstrations.

 Current negotiations on the Rio+20 “Zero Draft”
Ian Fry explained the process of negotiations on the Zero Draft of the Rio+20 outcome document. The outcome document draft had swollen to 206 pages, plus what is now called the “Chairs suggested text” which is another 60 pages. G77 China have been speaking collectively as one voice with suspicion of the concept of  a “green economy” which may mean new market mechanisms.

There has been a particular focus on oceans and seas, and ongoing issues between whaling and non-whaling nations.  There are also discussions around ocean acidification and risk management when it comes to oceans.

Major groups discussion
Major groups involved in Rio+20 have been concerned with access to information issues and public participation in the negotiation process – based on the Rio Principle 10 access to public information. The G77 & China Group have been somewhat reluctant to facilitate NGO and civil society participation, and African countries are particularly suspicious of civil society.

New Institutional Frameworks
Under the proposals for new institutional frameworks for sustainable development, UNEP could have direct access to UNGA instead of currently having to go through UN ECOSOC. It would also involve greater access to funding institutions and be given a broader mandate. It is likely that African nations will support this proposal as UNEP is based in Kenya at present.

Trim tabbing
A lot of what occurs in the negotiations involves trim tabbing - “Correct the rudder a little but you wont change the course of the whole meeting”.

Coalition of rainforest nations
The Coalition of Rainforest Nations typically follows the issue of reducing emissions from deforestation and land degradation in development countries (REDD+). There are several issues around the development of REDD+ as a way forward for the sustainable management of forests, including issues of leakage, enforcement and monitoring.

Tuvalu – how do you negotiate for another country?
-       ensure work within a brief agreed by the government
-       brief agreed by Cabinet
-       Ian Fry runs training workshops in Pacific region on negotiations training
-       Cultural complexities in the Pacific and how they can present themselves
-       Pacific Islanders always sit at the back, for example, and so sometimes miss out on the negotiating action

Tea break networking”
The delegation were advised to read the Earth Negotiations Bulletin, find out what negotiators are focused on and seek them out at the meeting at lunch time and tea breaks to talk to them about issues!

Thanks to Ian fry for taking the time to brief the delegation on the practicalities of international environmental negotiations – and for the useful tips! 

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