Nieuws - 25 oktober 2010

Friday, 22 October: To bracket or [not] to bracket


Wageningen scientist Ingrid Visseren-Hamakers is in Nagoya to attend the Convention of Biological Diversity. She keeps a diary for Resource.

The days are getting longer, the agenda more packed. The COP is heading towards the end of the first week of negotiations. Several negotiations will continue over the weekend. Some of my colleagues from the Dutch delegation, especially the ones negotiating the protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) will not be able to take a well deserved rest.
A mess
When taking a look at where the negotiations are at on Friday morning, it is becoming a mess on all fronts. This is of course normal in the middle of a negotiation process - you first have to have all the opinions on the table and create a mess before you can start cleaning up - but still,  the mess is complete. On all of the important issues the opinions of the Parties are very far apart. I am really wondering how all this can be solved in one week's time. Next week the Ministers will join the negotiations to resolve outstanding issues - I am afraid they are going to be very busy.... By the way, the Netherlands will not be represented by a Minister due to the recent change in government.
Clean text
One of the main causes for the current mess is the fact that the progress which had been made in earlier preparatory meetings for the COP has largely been made undone. In international negotiations, text on which the Parties do not agree is placed in [square brackets]. In the CBD it has been the tradition to not re-open negotiations on so-called clean text, text on which Parties have reached agreement and the brackets have been removed. However, on almost all of the main issues, parties have started to renegotiate clean texts, making the work of the preparatory negotiations pretty much redundant. I feel sorry for the people who spent weeks in these preparatory meetings. Large parts of the proposal for the strategic plan of the CBD, for example, is currently back in brackets.
Small world
In the corridors, I am running into old and current colleagues, who I know from former jobs and volunteer work. They are working for NGOs or are involved in a national delegation. Also, colleagues from the forest regime expert panel of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) are here to present the preliminary results from the report that we will formally present at the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) next year. It's a small world...

Ingrid Visseren-Hamakers, assistant professor at the Forest and Nature Conservation Policy Group (FNP).
Foto: Guy Ackermans
Resource dedicated an article to her prior to the conference.