Professionalism, organisation, seriousness, work and creativity do pay*

Professionalism, organisation, seriousness, work and creativity do pay1

“Things seen” in Busan

Netsanet Belay and I represented CIVICUS at the last OECD High Level Forum 4 on aid effectiveness in Busan, South Korea. We spent 10 days in this surprising and impressive country (one of the poorest Asian countries 50 years ago and the 15th largest economy of the world today) and participated in the Busan Civil Society Forum (26-28 November), together with 500 civil society representatives and the official event (29 November – 1 December), where 300 of us were accredited.

The Civil Society Forum, jointly organised by Better Aid, the Open Forum and our host Kofid, helped to prepare for the OECD event. Plenaries and workshops were used to finalise engagement strategies. A diverse crowd, representing the whole spectrum of civil society and 100 countries, was there: trade unions, peasant and farmer organisations, women’s organisation, youth, indigenous people, large NGOs, transnational social movements and others. The OECD event was much bigger, with 3000 participants. Civil society was there: in the plenaries, in the thematic events, in the workshops and most importantly in the negotiating room!

Continue reading


By  Samir ABI, Visions Solidaires – TOGO

30000 participant-e-s  sont venus de 192 pays pour participer au COP17. Pour ce beau monde, l’Afrique du Sud a mobilisé tout ce qu’il a de meilleur. De son gouvernement aux technicien-ne-s de surface en passant par les chauffeurs, policier-e-s, cuisinier-e-s, en tout plus de 5000 personnes au travail jour et nuit pour assurer une bonne organisation. Des centaines de volontaires venant de Johannesburg, de Cape Town, de Bloemfontein, de Port Elizabeth, de Kimberley…Difficile de leur demander sa route ou une quelconque indication sur la ville car ils n’ont même pas encore eu le temps de la parcourir pour découvrir tous les charmes de cette station touristique de l’océan indien. Ils affichent toujours le sourire pour vous demander à votre arrivée : « Did you have a good night ? » Tout un charme ! Et il en faut pour faire passer les longues journées du COP 17. Continue reading

Gaining Access at COP 17

Inside ICC, where the debates are taking place plenary sessions, informal meetings, media briefings and side events ocvcur as well. Whilst some of these sessions are closed to NGO observers, a number are open to civil society though there is no platform to directly share their views.

There is a lot happening inside COP 17 that civil society can tap into. CSOs and other stakeholders who planned their engagement well ahead of the conference are inside organizing side vents and holding press meetings. The role of side events cannot be overemphasized. State negotiators participate in some of these side events and the information and ideas they gather inform them of their negotiations. For example, from an informal meeting of the delegates from Uganda to their Minister who arrived yesterday, the Ugandan delegates highlighted their participation in the side events by civil society and the benefits of this to their negotiation. In my opinion civil society space, through side events, are one direct keys to influencing the debates. Continue reading

Echoes from Durban: civil society leaders say we are living in a “crime scene”

On 3 December 2011 thousands of citizens descended on the streets of Durban to call on governments to take action on climate change while negotiators struggled to reach an agreement during COP 17 talks.

Representatives from labour unions, faith-based organizations, environmental groups, women’s movements and grassroots organizations marched from the Botha Gardens, through the International Conference Centre (ICC), the venue for the COP 17 talks, to the Pavilion site. Making their voices heard, loud and clear, the demonstrators called on negotiators to take immediate action to reduce gas emissions and make funding available for a global climate fund. Continue reading

Darwin comes to Durban

“We’re driving in a car with bad brakes in a fog and heading for a cliff. We know for sure that cliff is out there. We just don’t know exactly where it is. Prudence would suggest that we should start putting on the brakes,” as is quoted Dr. John Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Co-Chair of President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Sadly, as the UNFCCC’s COP-17 kicks off in Durban, South Africa this week, it appears that some erstwhile champions of action on climate change and some emerging economies have joined the USA in resisting putting on those brakes.   Continue reading