1 week down – 1 week to go for Climate Change Conference
As the first week comes to a close, I sat down with Angelique Orr, part of the Oxfam team at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali, to get her thoughts on how the first week went.
Karina – Angelique, what’s your role in the Oxfam team here at the conference?
Angelique – I’m here to meet and work with other organisations also here at the conference. Working with others is at the heart of Oxfam’s approach to campaigning, so a key activity for us is to support organisations that we already work with who are attending the conference, and to build relationships with the other key groups and networks that are working here.
By coordinating with other development and environment groups we have much more impact on decision makers than we could working alone. So we’re in touch with WWF, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Tearfund, Care International and Christian Aid, Avaaz and Climate Action Network to name a few to make sure we get heard.
What was your first week at the conference like, and what highlights come to mind now that you have had a chance to sit down?
It has been an incredible week for me – and for the whole Oxfam team. On Saturday evening we sat down together to review what we’ve been up to – and it’s far too much to get through in one interview!
The highlights, well for me they begin with the grand opening of the conference – where Indonesian stars sang for action on Climate Change and since then it’s been all go.
The Oxfam team have been organizing and participating in side-events on the human impact of climate change in Indonesia; our policy bods have been working on influencing the nitty-gritty of the negotiations; the Polar Bears demonstrated to save the humans; we have been supporting Indonesian civil society groups in their climate activities and events; and our press conference and briefing of journalists on the financing needed for adaptation, received lots of coverage and had impact at the conference. There is a great video with Kate and Ursula who talked at the press conference that explains what adaptation finance means and why it is important
We quite literally have not stopped. But, it’s only going to get even busier in the week ahead. And, it’s been really hot.
What is your perspective of the discussions and negotiations going on at the conference?
Our lobby team is at the heart of the some of talks that are happening in different meetings at the conference, to ensure that the perspective of the world’s poorest people are heard and represented. That involves a great deal of dialogue with delegates who here representing developing countries.
One of the things that really strikes me, is the imbalance of power in these negotiations. Many of the world’s poorest countries – who are so adversely affected by the impacts of climate change – have just handful of delegates trying to input to such a massive range of critical debates. Meanwhile many rich countries are able to send a large team with experts on each of the issues, ensuring that they have more input into overall discussions.
Climate change and development go hand-in-hand, it’s so important that the voices and experiences of the world’s poorest people are heard within the corridors of power. It will be very interesting to see where the negotations go, when the Ministers arrive next week.
What’s in store for the second and final week of the conference?
If this last week was critical – next week is even more so. Ministers arrive to the conference on Wednesday, and Oxfam will be pushing them to ensure that rich countries deliver on their promises to support developing countries in adapting to the impact of changing weather patterns because of climate change.
We will also be working with friends from the Climate Action Network to really pressure the international community to act with urgency and ambition in setting a timetable and clear plan for global action on climate change when the first commitment period of the Kyoto protocol expires in 2012 (plans need to start now!).
So keep reading the blog to stay up-to-date with what we and others are doing, to ensure that the interests of people in developing countries and poor communities are central to any plans to tackle Climate Change.
Being here with the Oxfam team, which is made up of staff and volunteers from around the world and making a difference, is just brilliant and inspiring. Especially when we know we have support for what we’re doing from so many people back home, who have taken action on Climate Change with us.
It’s going to be a busy, busy week of non-stop activity – but then who could ask for a more important reason to be working so hard?
Angelique Orr is Campaign Manager of Oxfam’s Climate Change Campaign
Karina Brisby is Interactive Campaigns Manager for Oxfam Great Britain