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Adopt A Negotiator By The Youth Of The World

By Marianne de Nazareth

14 October, 2009

In the halls of the imposing building of the UN in Bangkok the negotiations are lack luster and gloomy. The chasm between the developing and developed world seems to be deepening regarding coming to a common agreement and the journalists in the media room do not have very happy stories to tell. But, there is a team of youthful ‘trackers’ from all over the world who are from the Adopt-a-Negotiator group, who are busy running around the meeting, “lifting the veil and shining light on this diplomatic process.”

“ A fair, ambitious, and binding agreement coming out of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference (COP15) in December could mean the difference between a manageable future and dire climatic consequences. But who knows what really goes on at these meetings?” says Josh Wiese who is the young co-ordinator of the program. “Launched at the Bonn intercessional talks in June, we’ll track the negotiations through Bangkok, then Barcelona, and on to Copenhagen, following the lead negotiators and delegates from 12 key countries, and sharing news and updates of their positions along the way.”

Independent and free, these young trackers speak with their own voice about what they feel needs to be done and is happening at the negotiations. “ We the youth are letting the negotiators know that we are watching and willing them to negotiate a Climate Change deal that is safe, fair and will ensure that we all have a future,” says Leela Raina a tracker from Delhi, India.

Ole Seidenberg from Germany said, “ Yes we are biased. We are biased in favour of a fair, ambitious and binding deal. I have heard from delegates here about the impact of Climate Change on the Solomon Islands. They will not survive a 1.5 increase in global warming, so I go to my German delegation and push them, making them realize the importance of binding emission targets.”

“Each of our Climate Trackers will follow the Lead Climate Negotiator from their country and update you with the latest information., so you can stay up to date and either support or put pressure on your country’s climate negotiator to aim for a safe and fair deal,” says Joshua.

“Most of the negotiators are scientists and they know what is really happening out there. But their hands are tied and they have to go by their government policy. Being scientists they know what the impacts will be but, they are not free to say or do anything on their own,” reveals Leela.

Young Fontane Lau from China says “ The momentum from China and Hongkong is not that strong. I am really here as an educator to reach out by human touch meeting secondary school kids with my half an hour presentations, to raise awareness.” Amazing considering Fontane looks no more than 18 herself and is so committed. “ All the top government officials are open to change, even though China follows a top down approach,” she said.

Some of Adopt a Negotiator’s Lead tracker’s include Anna Collins from the United Kingdom, Adam McIsaac from Canada, Andrea Cinquina from Italy, Ben Jervey from the United States, Cara Bevington from Australia, Eri Aoki from Japan, Florent Baasrch from France, Fontane Lau from China, Jonathan Sundqvist from Sweden, Juliana Russar from Brazil, Leela Raina from India, and Ole Seidenberg from Germany.

It is a great initiative by the youth and is necessary, considering politics seem to be the name of the game by the actual country negotiators.

(Adopt A Negotiator is a project supported by the Global Campaign for Climate Action (GCCA). Check out their website at :

(The writer is a fellow with the UNFCCC, a freelance journalist and teaches a module on Climate Change in Bangalore, India)

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