(Photo from the International Institute for Sustainable Development)
I have participated in a number of international conferences, including United Nations meetings, WTO events, and whatnot. I have often felt frustrated that delegates are so isolated from the public. Important topics are debated with implications for everyone. Yet, only a few non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are usually present to try to propose solutions and suggest ways forward. Big Media tries to cover these events, but at the end of the day, we mostly get soundbytes. Indeed, my experience is that very few independent experts are able to attend these big meetings.
One great tool we have available is Linkages, the Earth Negotiations Bulletin, a reporting service for environment and development negotiations. If you could not attend the Ramsar Wetland Convention Meeting held in Korea earlier this month, well, IIDS has detailed day-to-day updates, with photos of delegates and behind-the-scenes reports "from the corridors." Do explore their website and you will not be disappointed.
The Earth Negotiations Bulletin is a balanced, timely and independent reporting service that provides daily information in print and electronic formats from multilateral negotiations on environment and development. It is published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), a non-profit organization based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The office of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin is based in New York City, two blocks from the United Nations.
Since 1992, these guys have done a terrific job at connecting the dots, making the world a little easier to understand, and most of all, providing essential reading for UN delegates, NGOs and UN staff who track environment and sustainable development policy. Thanks to these guys, and the Internet, we can all stay informed. Most of all, we can hold our government delegates accountable for the views they express at UN meetings. After all, they are speaking in our name.
Written by Martin Frid at greenz.jp