Civil society and delegates: Different spaces

This is the second day of the climate change negotiations in Cancun. The role of Mexico in these negotiations is very interesting. Yesterday during the plenary many parties highlighted the efforts that Mexico, as president of the COP, has conducted in bringing back transparency to the process. Patricia Espinosa, Foreign Affairs Minister and president of the COP16, stated that they would conduct several consultations with the parties and expected a positive outcome of this year’s conference.

On a different note, today I ran into a former colleague from Mexico’s National Forest Commission. She was telling me about the booths in the Cancunmesse and other events in the Village. When she asked me if I had already been there, I think that she could see in my face that I had no idea of what she was talking about. Here is the thing: Most of the meetings and events that parties attend are in the Moon Palace. The side events, booths of NGOs and side events are in the Cancunmesse. I asked around and heard that the Cancunmesse has been pretty empty the last couple of days. All the action is happening in the Moon Palace.

I wonder if this physical situation will create a bigger gap between the civil society and the delegates. At the end, transparency can only be achieved if the observers are part of the process. It is going to be interesting how the negotiations continue during the next days.