Bella Center is becoming more and more like a fort. As we arrive in the dark, cold December morning, police cars, military vehicles and helicopters surrounds the building. The NGOs and IGOs that are lucky enough to have registered earlier and are holders of so called "secondary passes", the extra ticket verifying that your international organization, accredited to the UNFCCC, has given you priority amongst its members registered to the COP 15, are lining up before the security. This morning it takes us only 40 minutes to get through, so we are pretty happy.
Inside the building, we notice that even if media has been present all the time, now they are here in big numbers and with their star reporters. As the morning turns into mid day, the high level plenary with environmental ministers and early arrived heads of state, is finally beginning meanwhile negotiations continues behind closed doors. Since neither NGOs nor journalists are allowed inside all of us are hovering around the public spaces, trying to get information on the latest move. The atmosphere is tensed and many fear for a total breakdown, even if the arrival of ministers and heads of states brings in a new momentum and new hope.
Ania Grobicki and Karin Lexén at last week's press conference.
Earlier, we have succeeded to get a couple of references to water resource and regional cooperation into the adaptation text, so we have been in a good mood in our little corner. Also, our press conference and side event attracted a lot of people, and we even succeeded to get some good media reporting so we are satisfied with our work. Now, however, in the very turbulent situation and the almost hostile feelings between the different negotiating groups, it is not so easy to keep up the spirit. Everyone is wondering what will happen to the text that has been negotiated by the civil servants throughout the year. People are referring to the two – or even three tracks that are being negotiated at the same time. Will there be a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (as has been the main track since 1997 in Kyoto, there are even provisions in the text for this) or another agreement with some kind of commitments or will it just end up with a political declaration?
Tomorrow, there are only 48 hours left. Bella Center will be emptied of all NGOs. When I am leaving the building on Wednesday evening, the security guard asks me; "Are you sure that you want to leave? You will not be able to enter again". Let us hope that those that are still allowed to enter will do their very best to find ways forward and to carefully catch the moment – the time is running out.
The world is waiting - is time running out, or will the last 48 hours of COP15 be enough to get a new deal in place?
by Karin Lexén