After the Co-Chairs made a decision to ban civil society (known as observers in the UNFCCC process) from the climate negotiations based on the request of a minority of States, INTLawyers joins the almost unanimous call from NGO’s and others for opening negotiations to at least the participation of duly accredited observers.
INTLawyers also directed a communication to the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Independent Expert on an equitable and democratic international order, Mr. Alfred de Zayas, and the Special Rapporteur on the Environment, Mr. John Knox, asking them to publicly call for opening the negotiations to observers at all stages. Special Rapporteur Knox was reminded that some European States that are apparently calling for the banning of civil society from the negotiations are State Parties to the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, that requires its State Parties to ensure public participation to decision making forums considering environmental issues.
The problem arose when the co-chairs of the ADP2.11 agreed to a request of a minority of States to close the negotiating groups to observers, despite a public call from the 134 States of the G77 to allow observers to attend the negotiations. At the open consultation that took place in the afternoon of 19 October 2015, Malaysia for the Like-Minded Developing Countries and South Africa the G77 asked for civil society to be present in the rooms during the contact groups and spin-off groups. Although only Japan publicly called for the exclusion of observers, according to the co-chairs, sixty-states led by the USA, Japan, Australia and European Union, apparently asked the co-chairs to exclude observers.
It is noteworthy that some States claim to support a strong role for civil society. For example, the Algerian and American co-chairs both hail from States whose capitals have said they support strongly ensuring the highest degree of public participation possible.
Again, many thanks.
TEXT of Draft Letter to Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order and Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment:
Dear Independent Expert and Special Rapporteur,
We seek your urgent attention for the problem caused by the banning of observer organizations from the important contact group negotiations currently taking place on climate change in Bonn, Germany under the auspices of the UNFCCC.
On Tuesday, 20 October 2015, the co-chairs of ADP (which is holding it 11th session of its 2nd meeting in Bonn, Germany at the International Conference Centre until 23 October 2015) ruled that despite the request of the 134 States that are the G77 (representing approximately 85% of the people in the world), the negotiations in contacts groups on the text of the global climate agreement to be adopted in Paris in December, should be behind closed doors. This excludes observer organizations, including duly accredited NGOs and other Major Group participants.
The below news report by the Third World Network provides more details.
We urge you to exercise your authority to encourage States, the co-chairs and tge UNFCCC, to allow observers to observe the contacts groups that are taking place and in which the text of the agreement is being negotiated. We ask that you issue a public call and/or press release calling for the climate change talks to be inclusive and transparent and to allow the highest degree of public participation possible, which includes at the very least the presence of duly accredited representatives of observer organizations in room during contact groups.
We note that among the States who call for the talks to be secret maybe be State Parties to the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters. Although only the single government of Japan voiced public objections, the co-chairs decided to close the meetings after meeting with the United States and the European Union, and attributed their decision to the views of States expressed to them in these consultations. As the requests of South Africa on behalf of the G77 and Malaysia on behalf of the LMDCs, indicate and which are reported below, there are numerous legal and political arguments in favor of ensuring that observer organizations are able to observe the contact groups.
Please be kind enough to inform us if any action you take.
Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter and for your commitment and efforts to ensure respect for human rights.
for International-Lawyers.Org (accredited by ISMUN to tge UNFCCC talks)