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Civil society and the Climate Change Process

February 9, 2011

More than a year back, while attending the UNFCCC COP15 negotiations in Copenhagen, I wrote about The UN and Civil Society. In that post, I adopted a clear cautiously pessimistic tone with a hint of resentment given the lack of civil society action from Singapore when there was so much happening right there in Copenhagen.

Today, we see significant changes to the way civil society engages with the climate change process through representative non-governmental observer organizations. While this process is not perfect, and members of civil society still face barriers in their efforts to promote and act on climate justice, things are definitely looking up.

The upcoming COP17/CMP7 in Durban, South Africa looks to admit new observer organizations. This, according to the mandate for admissions Article 7, Paragraph 6 of the UNFCCC.

Aticle 7, paragraph 6, of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change provides for the admission of non-governmental organizations to sessions of the Convention bodies as observers. New applicant organizations are formally admitted by the Conference of the Parties following the successful completion of the admission process. Admission to the Conference of the Parties also applies to the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. Participation at sessions in between the SB sessions and the COP is limited to those organizations that have been admitted or provisionally admitted at previous SB sessions and COPs.

Once an organization is admitted, its representatives may attend sessions of the Convention bodies as observers. Those observer organizations that have been admitted to a COP in the past or provisionally admitted to the SBs do not need to reapply for admission.

The deadline for applications for admission in time for COP 17/CMP7 is 1 March, 2011. For more info, click here.

Singapore has yet to make the list of submissions I believe. I think it’s high time we did. There’s a good number of youths (below 35 that is) and those beyond that category that deserve to be officially recognized by the UNFCCC for the good work they’ve done in conserving the environment and adding to public domain knowledge on the issue and overall raising the level of awareness about climate change and related issues. Could ECO Singapore be the first civil society group in Singapore to be admitted as an observer organization to attend COP 17/CMP 7? Let us know what you think!

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