We’ve been here for an hour. We’re on paragraph two. We started on paragraph two. After dedicating the first 15 minutes to explaining the procedure for the day, the Co-Chair, Mr. Ahmed Djoghlaf, of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) proceeded, as in the previous meetings, by discussing paragraph two, as the preamble and paragraph one are to be discussed at the end. Perhaps the explanation wasn’t clear, Malaysia indicated to the ADP co-chair “sometimes you give a forest of words and I get lost in that forest”. Of course the Co-Chair doesn’t want to lose his negotiators in Borneo, he wants them to make progress. After 40 minutes, another delegate indicated, “we would like to come back to the preamble.” Apparently he did get lost.
From the get-go things were tense. Venezuela said to the Co-Chair “Chair, I don’t understand why you are so nervous. We are professional diplomats here, trust us!” To which he answered, “Trust me that I am relaxed, that I trust you, but we are under time stress so in that sense…yes I am stressed.”
While some comments made have been serious and received support from the Co-Chair, saying “thank you, Argentina, for the saving half of the line from being bracketed”, the opposite suggestion to introduce more brackets led to the Co-Chair commenting, “I thought that the purpose of this meeting was to delete brackets, but now we are adding them. Ok.” But Brazil captured the essence of this topic and the importance of making progress by saying “I tend to view brackets as carbon molecules, polluting our text.”
But the pressure is on, to make progress and to move on to the next phase. So far the progress on the reading of the draft agreement has been very slow, and we are waiting for the outcomes to be productive and engaging, and not spoiling. The Co-Chair urges, “the last thing we want to do here is unravel all the hard work that has been done here.” So we wish them all the progress that is needed on this document, whilst simultaneously enjoying the (at times unintended) climate-comedy.
And as I come to the end of this update on the reading of this text, we are still on paragraph two.