Hands, Eyes, and Ears – Team Latvia

Over the past several months, we (self-described Team Latvia) have been working hard to decipher Latvian climate policy and to determine Latvia’s stake in the upcoming COP negotiations.  Latvia is a Baltic state, which gained its independence in 1991 after the fall of the Soviet Union.  The official Latvian Tourism Portal states that “the best thing about Latvia is that it is so compact.”  We believe Latvia’s small size is only one of its many assets.  We are also proud to note that all three of us could locate Latvia on a map before this project began.  Grant even has some family connections (Hawaii-Latvia, who knew?)
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But, to us, Latvia  is now no longer just a location far, far away on a map.  Having worked closely with members of the Latvian Environmental NGO community, including our new friends Madara Peipina and Alda Ozola of NGO “homo ecos:”, we can now say that Latvia is much closer to home.  And with the benefit of modern communication technology it is always an early morning Skype call away.
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Thanks to many early morning Skype calls, we have learned that Latvia’s climate policy is inextricably linked to that of the EU, of which Latvia is a member.  To understand the EU’s position, one must understand the EU’s stake in international climate negotiations.  And so goes the circle of climate change negotiation.  Working alongside our partners, we have attempted to condense this circle in order to arrive at cogent conclusions about climate policy in Latvia.
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Thanks to our friends’ proliferation of websites, our final report  – “Latvian Climate Policy in the Context of International Negotiations: A Primer for COP17″  – can be found at: http://www.homoecos.lv/en/climate OR http://www.zalie.lv
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This report and our colleagues in Latvia will serve as our basis for influencing the COP negotiations in areas most relevant for Latvia.  In the words of Madara, we will serve as “hands, eyes, and ears” of the Latvian NGO community in Durban.
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-Mark Redmond-
mark.redmond@yale.edu