Julia Marton Lefèvre, Director General of IUCN, was in the most famous queue in Europe with thousands of diplomats and activists in the cold Copenhagen winter. She describes a cheerful and motivated crowd, both inside and outside the conference center.
I have now spent exactly 1.5 days at the Copenhagen Climate Summit, although it feels like a week. I can imagine how my IUCN colleagues who have been here for 10 days, and how the negotiators, working night and day, must feel. A part of yesterday afternoon, after I arrived to Copenhagen, was spent in a seemingly hopeless queue waiting to get our passes to be allowed in the Bella Centre. It was deeply disappointing that the organizers did not prepare better to receive the masses of people who registered and who took the trouble and expense to come here. At the same time, the line of people was a totally egalitarian one – grassroots NGOs, intergovernmental organizations, the media, ministers, business leaders – we were all in it together and mostly in a good mood. I managed to get my pass thanks to the help of one of our State Members whose Minister was waiting to meet with me. I heard other amazing stories of how some people found ingenious ways to get in, but most had to wait 7 or more hours, some giving up, some returning on a second day. This reluctant welcome has cast a dark cloud over the conference, although once inside there is an amazing buzz with people rushing about attending a massive number of interesting events organized by delegations, and of course the negotiations continue, mostly behind closed doors. There are lots of rumours about the possible outcome on Friday night, but everyone knows only a bit of the whole story, which seemingly has not been constructed yet.
For IUCN today was an important day – our President as Club of Rome, IUCN and Development Alternatives organized an excellent session at mid-day on ‘Systemic Neglect of Systemic Solutions’; and all of us had numerous bilateral discussions with Members, partners and friends. In the evening we were deeply involved in three important events: our own session on ‘Biodiversity in Trouble: ways forward in a changing climate’; the IUCN/TNC High Level Event: Celebrating Commitments to Adaptation: Building Resilient Communities and Ecosystems’ , and the launch of our new book, ‘The Wealth of Nature’ the 17th CEMEX conservation book co-produced by IUCN, Conservation International, The International League of Conservation Photographers and the Wild Foundation. Not being able to split myself into three parts I went and spoke at the book launch, and understand that the other events were also successful and well attended. Whatever happens here at the end of this week, the link between climate and ecosystems has, I believe been firmly made, and we will embark with new determination on the International Year of Biodiversity.