Lessons learnt from Copenhagen: civil society’s role in world democratic governance
In this article, Josep Xercavins i Valls, Professor at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) and head of delegation of the UPC, organisation with observer status in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), reflects upon the role of civil society and higher education in the field of climate change.
The recent United Nations Conference on Climate Change held in Copenhagen in December 2009 was so riddled with paradoxes that it would be easy to overlook those which—while not necessarily having any direct repercussions on the also highly paradoxical and, in my opinion, negative result of the Conference - assuming that the so called Copenhagen Accord did genuinely constitute a result - are nonetheless intrinsic to the complex situation prevailing in the world today, which can only be described as world democratic misgovernment.
Climate change, sustainable human development—which is socially desirable and economically and environmentally feasible—and all forms of life on this planet require this change!
I well understand that this comment may appear surprising after all that has been said about the Copenhagen conference and civil society participation. My opinion, based on monitoring United Nations conferences for the last ten years and despite the unfortunate access restrictions imposed due to the arrival of heads of states and governments, is that the UNFCCC continues to be a very open, transparent forum that fosters civil society participation. I have no doubt that the restrictions on access were not political but the result of a very poorly organised conference (for which the United Nations and the host Danish government are equally responsible), whose organisers were simply overwhelmed by the success implied by what was the largest concentration in history of heads of states and governments. Let it be clear, however, that from this point on, only five states—Brazil, China, India, South Africa and the USA—negotiated, and logically there was no transparency in this negotiation; time did not permit otherwise, and, in any case, the situation was a consequence of the ongoing and reciprocal obstructionism within and before the Conference.
Monday, February 22, 2010