Undemocratic Curtailing of Access to Climate Talks

Download CEO_UNFCCC_Civil_Society_letter_final_12-16-09[1]

By Larry J. Schweiger

Access for nongovernmental organizations to the climate talks in the Bella Center in Copenhagen continues to be severely limited.  In response to this undemocratic situation, I and other leaders representing millions of Americans have sent this letter to Todd Stern, the U.S. Department of State’s Special Envoy, to ask him to speak out on behalf of the importance of allowing greater participation for civil society observers.


Chesapeake Climate Action Network

Climate Solutions

Energy Action Coalition

League of Conservation Voters

National Wildlife Federation

Natural Resources Defense Council

Sierra Club

US Climate Action Network

December 16, 2009

The Honorable Todd Stern

Special Envoy for Climate Change

U.S. Department of State

2201 C Street NW

Washington, DC 20520

Dear Special Envoy Stern:

On behalf of our millions of members and supporters we write to express our strong concerns about the intended restriction of civil society constituencies during the last days of COP15. Civil society has played a vital and integral role in the UNFCCC process since the Earth Summit in 1992 and we call on the US Delegation to speak in support of greater participation for NGOs. It is undemocratic that civil society observers should be limited in this forum, and we hope that the UNFCCC Secretariat will recognize and reverse this action.

The negotiations under the UNFCCC/ Kyoto Protocol framework have a huge and increasing impact on the lives of ordinary people all over the world. Their participation in the climate negotiations as members of civil society is absolutely crucial for ensuring that the Copenhagen outcomes are both just and effective.

Given the urgent need for action on climate change it is critical the world make progress towards achieving a global deal at COP15. The eyes of the world are on Copenhagen and it is vital for civil society to be able to play its part in ensuring the success of the negotiations. Speculation around a closed door process in the media could cloud a more positive outcome of the talks that would provide needed momentum both in the UNFCCC forum and with critical domestic action.

With the election of President Obama the United States has seen a new area of transparency in government and renewed global leadership. We urge you to callfor greater transparency and access for civil society around the world in the negotiations to ensure that the true voices of the world are heard here in the Bella Center so together we can work towards an ambitious and fair global agreement on climate change.

Sincerely, Peter Bahouth, Executive Director, US Climate Action Network

Frances Beinecke, President, Natural Resources Defense Council

Gillian Cadwell, Campaign Director, 1Sky

Gene Karpinski, President, League of Conservation Voters

KC Golden, Policy Director, Climate Solutions

Carl Pope, Executive Director, Sierra Club

Larry Schweiger, President and CEO, National Wildlife Federation

Mike Tidwell, Executive Director, Chesapeake Climate Action Network

Jessy Tolkan, Executive Director, Energy Action Coalition