Thursday, 17 December 2009

Well, where do I start today? Two full days to go and things just get weirder. First up - negotiation progress. My first text of the morning from my dearly beloved c.9.30am, says: "No news here. Feels bad...". Negotiation sessions were running all through the night, as they were also on Tuesday night. Did I mention that one of the main sessions on Tuesday started at 4.50am?

I haven't actually seen the man for quite some time. Just as my train was pulling into Malmo last night he called to say that the bridge to Denmark was going to be shut for security reasons so he had been posted back to the hotel in Copenhagen (and would anyway be in the conference centre for the foreseeable future). This left me trapped in Sweden! Luckily for me the other hotel booking still stands so here I am.

Meanwhile, intense negotiations between NGOs and the conference organisers finally came to a conclusion at midnight last night. 300 named NGO observers would be allowed into the conference centre on Thursay and Friday. My organisation was allocated 1 non-transferable place and I had to submit the name by 5am (see above, these people are simply not sleeping.) I decided to allocate this to one of my delegation who had expressed a strong interest in getting a place. She got the pass, and also got one of the very few plenary passes which means that she'll be able to watch Obama et al in the flesh. Many thousands of other registered NGO observers are totally out in the cold so we have been very lucky indeed.

This morning I am delighted that we are in, but sad not to be there myself especially as it turns out that the bridge to Denmark is open today (although it really will be shutting tomorrow) so I could have taken the place myself which is a bit gutting. However I am glad my colleague is getting the opportunity. I am trying to decide what to do myself, I think I will go into Copenhagen today as there are various events on and a few colleagues still around, but might leave tomorrow. So this is probably a near-final post.

Finally I would just say that reading the online news about yesterday's demo, arrests, violence etc was very strange when I had been right there and not seen a thing beyond a few shouty people inside the conference centre. It really illustrates how hard it is to do a direct action that is actually visible/audible to the Heads of State. Perhaps online petitions etc are more effective since at least they'll (presumably) at least register on the radar when they are considering their public mandate for negotiating positions. Suspect James would be able to say more on this.

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