25 Oct 2010

A day in a life at COP10

By Konstantin Kreiser
Nagoya - The crucial second week of the conference has begun. Sunday morning allowed us a little time to sleep and recharge our batteries but by noon we were once again busy, taking part in a working meeting of the entire BirdLife delegation. With nearly 80 people from 30 countries, we are the largest delegation at the whole conference! It's great to see how in recent years the network of BirdLife International has blossomed into an internationally recognized and, in many areas, a leading force in international nature conservation. It is always a great experience to meet like-minded people from the most remote corners of the globe. On Sunday evening the BirdLife family once again got together and celebrated in a German (!) Restaurant in the center of Nagoya. Ater our brief respite, Monday had us returning to our daily routine of attending the COP-10. Here's my day in brief: - 06:30: Get up, breakfast at the hotel and then catch the Metro to the Conference; - 08:00: Attend a NGO meeting of the CBD Alliance,where an interim assessment and analysis of the progress of negotiations to date was presented. Also at the meeting, the EU and Canada were selected as winners of the "Dodo Award" – let’s hope this news will make it into the corridors of the EU decision makers; - 09:00: In a meeting with NGO colleagues working on finances, where we try to interpret the limited information that is permeating from a meeting held behind closed doors by a small group of eight countries; - 10:00: Attend the start of the Finance Contact Group, where it is reported that there has been some limited progress but we suspect this is being overegged. I am optimistic that this will change as the clock ticks down towards the end of the meeting - 11:00: Attend a NGO meeting with Director General Falkenberg of the European , where we discuss progress on negotiations and ask him many critical questions;. - 11:45: Return to my laptop in a quiet corner to help compose press releases for NABU, BirdLife and other European partners. In this decisive phase of negotiations, media relations at home are very important in ensuring that ministers feel a little pressure; - 13:15: I’m now in a well-attended event BirdLife International announce its new world-wide registry of Important Bird Areas (IBAs) - the ten-thousand most important areas for birds that must be protected. After the event, there are rice balls with seaweed (a typical snack here at the conference); - 15:00: Once again I briefly attend the contact group for finances but I am soon pulled away for an interview with a journalist from the United States. I’m then dragged away by our BirdLife spokesman to a meeting with a journalist from the Guardian newspaper. We then send our own press release to all European BirdLife Partners- because Europe is now at breakfast; - 18:00: Attend a summary discussion meeting with BirdLife colleagues working on other CBD issues, followed by a quick meal on the large central patio of the venue.  – From here, it is clear that the crowds are growing and, if you look closely, you can often see an older man – some of then in colourful traditional robes - gesticulating in the middle of each tight knot of people - clearly the ministers! The number of security guards is also increasing; - 19:30: Telephone calls with colleagues in Berlin and England to coordinate the press work, whilst also planning tomorrow’s schedule; - 20:30: Back to the hotel to continue working on things for tomorrow’s meetings.