Thursday, 28 October 2010

Gaia? Is that you? Are you listening in?

As the world's national representatives now deliver near end game statements; many "reaffirming [our] pledge to Mother Earth", ME (seemingly in response if your beliefs are so placed) goes and chucks Typhoon Chaba at Japan. She then invites us all to watch as it arcs towards Nagoya, with flight schedules crumbling in anticipation of it. The plan (if one exists) may be simple: "you people are **** useless! There is no way you are just jumping on a plane as leaving. Now sit back down and deal with this mess you've made!". The Earth Mother equivalent of earthly mothers everywhere "you're not going anywhere 'til you've tidied your room".

Not forgetting dad's too. But the old Father's more concerned with the temporal. Now he's going to give us a real talking to later, mark my words.

Baton down the hatches: squall's a'coming...!

Sunday, 24 October 2010

The Power and The (In)gloriousness

Large international NGOs rule the world. Governments are nothing but aggregations of ciphers, inanely directing the will of unelected, unrepresentative white middle- and upper-class men.


I postulate this hypothesis based on nothing more than a few meetings and after COP drinks with various people, including white middle- or upper-class men running significant sections of large international NGOs. And they are lovely people. But is does strike me that some have disproportionately more influence than is possibly healthy. Evidence is presented in a number of forms. The most worry is that most of the government representatives here attend many other similar meetings on, for example, climate change, biosafety, finance, and tarmac (I made up the last one). They are frequently not specialists and rely on the input of trusted NGO minders.

Government people arrive with a statement of amendments to submit to the working groups tasked with drafting the agreements on biodiversity, often in the form of "We the people and government of X are grateful to the working group for their hard work in drafting an excellent document dealing with these important issues...". This goes on for a bit and then they will feel compelled to object to the erroneous inclusion of a comma here or there. After these initial sessions of comma removal or, rarely, elevation to a semi-colon, they will be ushered away by the heavies (also lovely people) of which ever NGO has managed to secure an interest in their country. They are then held in consensual captivity until such a time as they are needed for a high-level session or to brief their ministers, by which time they are well coached and will object/agree as the NGO dictates. A not insignificant and related feature, is the degree to which large international NGO funding from governments such the US is linked through overseas aid and development money. I see opportunities for all sorts of shenanigans.

Cynicism solidified through exposure to the global indecision making process, I'm now of to check my traps near the Chinese delegate paddock. So far just a Japanese badger (courtesy of Dr Yayoi Kaneko of the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, or TUAT(!). After a long week at COP10 it was great to get close to some wildlife, including a fab little raccoon dog.)

Having trouble with your badgers? Riordan will sett (haha) you straight.


Arigatou gozaimasu.

Monday, 18 October 2010

COP10 Nagoya

Hi All.

As promised, a hot off the SD photo from our stand at COP10. By the way, CEPA stands for Communities, Education and Public Awareness. But you already knew that.


Sunday, 17 October 2010

COP10 Nagoya

Dear All,

Long time no hear. Apologies for that (as ever).

International politics is a distant, conceptual dark energy somewhere out there, apparently binding the universe. Not so distant now. I was definitely under its crushing weight as Shi Kun and I negotiated our way through the security of COP10 in Nagoya. More experienced members here tell me these initial negotiations are the reasons little else can be decided - once you have done whatever needs doing, said whatever needs saying and conceded ground to secure a goody bag for your nation you are spent. There is nothing else in the tank to see you through the negotiation of treaties and inter-governmental agreements.

Lucky for the world, that we are merely here to present our work and provide these apparently long-suffering darkened room-dwelling souls with a glimpse of the world about which they so passionately joust. For those in the vicinity, we are at Stand 1 in the CEPA Fair. I'll find out what CEPA stands for and let you know (along with a pic or two). For now you can have one from the mountains (I've had requests).

I'll let you know what occurs, but now the opening ceremony! Ooh. Some awe-inspiring footage of wildlife and (inexplicably) some cats playing in a garden. Nice.

Much love to the world.