Observations of a Volunteer Mediator at Climate Change Talks in Bonn

31 May – Day 1
This is day one.  I am now here in Bonn after quite a journey getting here through the trains. Germany is such a wonderful country. Four hours of sleep, just ran a wonderful hill getting ready…physically and mentally for the opening plenary at the Climate Change talks in Bonn, starting today!
Hopefully, we’ll see how the negotiations go between the COTA protocol track, the Long-Term Commitments track, and the Accord. Over for now.
1 June – Day 2
This is day two of the Bonn Climate Change Talks.  Day 1 went fairly well.  It was a day where SABASTA and SBI had their opening plenaries. Many nations discussed the progress of the talks leaning more to political statements and others expressed their concern to steer away from political statements and get down to the science which seemed to be generally accepted that it needed to come forth in a clearer fashion to support adaptation mitigation policies. SBI was focused on the adaptation funds; how they would be dispersed, how much of it for each nation….how the nations would apply those funds to fund it appropriately.
It was a wonderful day! A lot less stressful than Copenhagen. I was very fortunate to be there, ‘cause a lot of NGOs were not allowed in due to the limitation of numbers, which actually made for a very healthy conference with good dialogue.  Much more relaxed, it seems like business was getting done.
Today is the opening plenaries for the ad hoc working group on the COTA protocol and the ad hoc working group on Long-Term Cooperative Action.  So it should be another exciting day!
Off to the talks…to discuss the benefits of mediation with the parties as we did yesterday; how it can help with disputes, interpreting the language of the treaties, implementing the language, and eventually the conflicts that will arise through climate change. Yesterday we had very good conversations with a Chinese delegation, delegations from the small island states, as well as African nations regarding these concepts. Hopefully today we’ll move on with conversations with others.
It has been a joy to see certain people that I saw last year at the talks.  To bump into each other, say hello, and continue on with our dialogue on these subjects.
Thank you for today.
2 June – Day 3
*no recording*
3 June – Day 4
Well we’re going on day 4 of the Climate Change talks in Bonn. I’m breathing a little hard because I just ran up one of the “foresty” hills outside of Bonn to get ready for the day. What a beautiful place, forest everywhere …birds, singing’ away. Gotta take that kind of energy into the talks today.
Yesterday there was a lot of discussion in the LCA about finance: some countries believing that it should be 6.5% of the GDP, others 1.5%, others voluntary commitments to the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund which was set up pursuant to the accord reached in Copenhagen. Some thought that that was being used as a political tool, and almost blackmail to get countries to sign onto the Copenhagen Accord. They thought that an independent financial body may be the proper way to allocate and distribute the funds, while others thought the Fund would be the best way to do that. Staffing the Copenhagen Fund with people who are experienced in finance: not politicians…finance people, seemed to be a good idea that was taken well.  Whether that would be with the financial body, an independent financial body, or with the Copenhagen Green Fund to staff it with financial experts as opposed to a political agenda which would be underneath the ultimate direction of the Secretariat.
So the discussions continue today. The LCA is one big contact group they’re not breaking up.  The SABASTA and SBI have broken up into separate groups and those discussions continue.
Again, we walk in there and continue our discussions about how mediation can be a useful and beneficial way to help resolve Climate Change disputes in either treaty language, or the conflict which may arise and will arise as the climate changes. Many are receptive to our thoughts, some are not, but it does help being an arbitrator and litigator ‘cause I can discuss the alternatives.
So here we go!  Beautiful day!  Nice red sun rose.  Bye for now!
4 June – Day 5
So it’s the last day here at the climate change talks in Bonn. It’s been an interesting last two days. There’s certainly a desire to move forward but it seems like the rules of procedure are problems for certain groups wanting to change them while other groups wanting to stay with them. The KP seems to be not going as fast as some would hope.
And, also there’s issues about MRV’s for the Non-Annex I parties as well as the Annex I parties. Also, regarding the national reporting; is it going to happen next year or later down the line? Is it applicable to nationally appropriate standards? Is it applicable to both the Annex I and Non-Annex I parties? Do the Non-Annex I parties have to do the in-depth reporting as the Annex I parties do? One can’t help but wonder what’s going to be the final result.
One thing that I saw was they need to get their finance issues straightened out which is going to be a difficult political exercise at the very least. It’s been a very informative and good week. Mediator’s Beyond Borders has done a lot of good work. Today we had a side event where we discussed our mediation proposals and mediation in general with many delegates as well as NGOs. A successful event indeed.
So, bye for now, off to Cancun!