NGO’s shut out of Copenhagen talks

Feature Story - 2009-12-18
Greenpeace China’s Tom Wang describes his dismay at how NGO’s are being treated at the Copenhagen climate change talks and wonders what this means for the transparency of the negotiations.

Security at the Copenhagen climate talks is tight. Most NGO observers have been barred.

As I write this, security are moving through the Bella Centre (where delegates are meeting) and evicting NGO observers.

With only a day to go before the talks end, this is a worrying sign. Essentially all pretence at transparency for this summit has gone.

While talks flail, delegates are choosing to hide from scrutiny.

The days of the summit - the most crucial days - when most countries have sent their heads of state to seal any emerging deal - only 50 NGO observers (that's out of tens of thousands of observers from all over the world) will be allowed back into the Bella Centre.

The reality is that the final deals will be taking place without public scrutiny or transparency.

My colleague, Jamie Woolley from Greenpeace UK, put it succinctly a few days ago when it first became apparent that NGO's were being squeezed out of the meetings.

"Restricting access to huge chunks of civil society is not far removed from closing the door on a smoky gentlemen's club, and the transparent negotiation process we've been demanding will become shrouded in secrecy," he wrote.

"With a nod, a handshake and a photo call, these guys (and they are mostly guys) could seal a deal which is a long, long way from the fair, ambitions and binding one we need."

What is needed now is for the world's two biggest greenhouse emitters -- China and the US - together they emit more than 40% of world emissions - to support a fair, effective and binding deal.

Greenpeace and Greenpeace China will stay in Copenhagen until the end of this summit, campaigning hard for a fair and binding deal.

And we will be campaigning all over the world - whether or not we get passes or accreditation - until they get it right.

It is clear that Copenhagen is far from the end.

It is just the beginning.

Let's keep up the pressure.