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NGOs suspicious of `green room` diplomacy at climate talks

Last Updated: Sunday, December 5, 2010 - 09:55

Cancun: Non-governmental organisations
have expressed concern over "green room" talks on mitigation
related issues here at the climate change meeting among a
select group of countries like the US, India, China and Japan.

Meena Raman of the Third World Network said that key
issues such as mitigation targets were being discussed in
these informal sessions, while more technical aspects such as
a "Monitoring Reporting and Verification" were being left for
the official channels.

"Text based negotiations are not happening and you
have other kinds of forums that are taking place," said Raman,
referring to the negotiating texts that delegates are supposed
to follow. "This is really non-transparent."

Delegates here, however, said that there was nothing
wrong in holding informal consultations with their
counterparts and it was easier to flesh out differences and
speak freely in smaller settings.

They stressed that no secret draft was being prepared
at these "green room" meetings, which are not listed in the
daily programme of work available to the public.

NGOs, however, insist that even the existence of such
a group is reminiscent of backdoor dealings that were
detrimental to negotiations during Copenhagen.

"There is also a lot of confusion among the
negotiators themselves about how the work they are doing in
the drafting committee relate to the work of the informal
consultations," Raman said.

"You have one set of negotiators who are actually
supposed to be negotiating," she said. "We understand the
party driven text is actually not being looked at."
Delegates attending these informal talks have said the
group is representative and countries such as Cuba and
Venezuela that were left out of the meeting between the US and
BRIC countries (India, China, South Africa and Brazil), which
led to the Copenhagen Accord, have also attended the talks.
Raman, however, said: "We don`t know if its
representative and as civil society this is what our concern
is how is the actual discussion happening. None of this is
known to any one of us."

On Friday, however, Venezuela walked out of the "green
room" and its delegate later told reporters that informal
discussions were tilted against the Kyoto Protocol.

"If there is no second period of commitment, it would
be very difficult to have a balanced package in this
negotiation," said Venezuelan negotiator Claudia Salerno.

Delegates, however, rejected the insinuations of
hatching secret deals.

They pointed out that Mexico`s Special Envoy for
Climate Change Ambassador Luis Alfonso De Alba had briefed the
Group of 77 developing countries about the meeting.

On Friday, buzz of a secret text being prepared by
Mexico and a handful of other countries caused some excitement
here but these rumors were firmly refuted by the UN as well as


First Published: Sunday, December 5, 2010 - 09:55
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