Guest blog: Ten personal thoughts on the @Cop26President @COP26 presidency/process,


Before handing over to the Guest blog from Edward Davey I just wanted to make a comment on UK preparedness for the Glasgow Climate COP. The only reason I went back to the UK to stand in the UK election in December was because of my deep concerns over UK preparedness for the Glasgow COP. 
The UK needs a huge change in the way they are preparing for Glasgow and I was about to write a blog on this here is Edward Davey's take.

Guest blogger: Edward Davey Director, Geographic Deep Dives, Food And Land Use Coalition, World Resources Institute. Prior to joining WRI, Edward was Senior Programme Manager at The Prince of Wales' International Sustainability Unit, where he co-led a number of international initiatives on REDD+, zero-deforestation commodity supply chains, forest landscape restoration and climate change. Prior to the ISU, he served as Lead Adviser on Environment in the Colombian Presidency's International Cooperation Office in Bogotá. This originally was published on  his twitter  https://twitter.com/edwardleodavey 
  1. The importance of diplomacy, tact and skill: it is an incredibly challenging, intricate process. Watching Laurent Fabius at work in Paris in COP21, and Patricia Espinosa in Cancun in COP16 (in 2010), was to observe multilateralism, diplomacy & strategy at its finest ... trust is all
  2. Optimism helps too – Cristiana Figueres  -- as she describes in the interview in my book, and will doubtless do in much greater depth in her own forthcoming book The Future We Choose -- carried the climate community & the world with her from Copenhagen to Paris, with an indomitable spirit ...
  3. Political heft is also important: watching Ed Miliband in the run-up to the (ill-fated) Copenhagen COP, with all his intellect and commitment, and with the full backing of the Brown government, was a sight to behold (& first inspired me to go into politics, not that I have);
  4. Officials: there are many wonderful people in the civil service who have given decades of their lives to serious work on climate change. As president, you need to respect them and be respected by them - as was the case for my namesake Edward J Davey and for Michael Gove
  5.  Sympathy for the least developed countries and the most vulnerable: it was moving to see how Fabius, John Kerry and others really tuned into the vision and perspectives of the small island states in the run-up to Paris: the importance of this cannot be overstated;
  6. So, too, is it vitally important to have a deeply respectful, understanding, thoughtful, strategic set of relationships with other big powers in the process, as the US did with China in the run-up to Paris. This requires strategy, analysis and diplomacy of the highest order;
  7. An understanding of the patchwork of international environmental conventions - their relationships and interdependencies - also helps, especially this year given the biodiversity COP in Kunming, China, in October, and the role of nature in securing a good outcome in Glasgow;
  8. Having the integrity, temperament & skill to create a meaningfully big, inclusive tent -- an 'all of society' COP, per   Thomas Hale an 'all of society' COP, -- especially at a time when the eyes of the world's young, personified by the extraordinary  Greta Thunberg  and 1000s like her, are watching...;
  9. Humility & grace: you are a servant to the process, as well as its leader, something Cristina Figueroa and Patricia Espinosa achieved beautifully. You serve in good faith, and you do your best to build trust & a shared goal - across countries, officials, sectors - in service of the cause.
  10. The odds are against you, especially at this challenging time - but you contribute as best you can, and then pass the baton. And so I end by congratulating Claire O'Neill for her significant accomplishments -- and by wishing the next @Cop26President  all the luck of the world.

Edward's new book Given Half a Chance: Ten Ways to Save the World is available here.

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