This is my last blog from the COP 15 conference. I’m writing it on the train from Copenhagen to Stockholm. The conference still goes for another week. Ministers are arriving now and then 100-plus heads of state will come even later to make speeches ad nauseum. Let’s hope they also commit to real progress on addressing the threat of climate change.
There is a certain hierarchy at these UN conferences. At the top of the food chain are the ones with the badge that says ‘Party’ which means they are part of a government delegation. They can get into any meeting. Then there are the UN people who can go just about anywhere too, but they aren’t allowed to lobby the Parties from what I understand. Then you’ve got the IGOs, Intergovernmental Organizations such as the Global Water Partnership (GWP). We can lobby and get into most plenaries with an assigned seat and nameplate—nice. And then there are NGOs, pretty much at the bottom, who can be turned out of any meeting if the organizers so decide.
But NGOs play an important role as part of civil society. Sure, a few act in a crazy way that might get a lot of media attention but doesn’t get serious traction with governments. Then there are quality ones such as one with whom GWP has been working: Stakeholder Forum. Together with the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), they formed the GPPN: the Global Public Policy Network on Water Management.
GPPN’s goal is focused but not easy: to lobby for the inclusion of water resources management in the text of the climate change treaty. It’s an uphill battle, but they are tenacious. This kind of advocacy is nitty-gritty. It means examining every draft that comes out (and there are a lot of them) of the negotiating text for the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Co-operative Action under the Convention (AWG LCA). GPPN then draws up text amendments related to water and adaptation. That document gets delivered to key delegates by email or in one-to-one meetings.
What’s funny is that GPPN funding comes from a handful of European governments. So GPPN is being paid by governments to lobby their own and other governments to include water resources management!
If you want to become familiar with how water relates to a multitude of other sectors, check out this GPPN document: http://gppn.stakeholderforum.org/fileadmin/files/GPPN_2008-9/Papers/Water_World_Why_the_global_climate_challenge_is_a_global_water_challnege.pdf
It also has several key messages that the global water community, including GWP, consider important for sustainable development. In a phrase, this is it: the global climate challenge is a global water challenge.
Latest news flash: As of Saturday morning there was yet another new draft text on adaptation. No rest for the weary, GPPN.