Coming fresh as a newbie to the meeting in Bonn, you get quite overwhelmed. People in suits everywhere and full day schedules. However, you get into it and I’ve learned a few things.
- People are people:
All of these women and men in suits, taking important decisions, are people. Nothing more than humans. If you’d talk to the delegates of Zimbabwe, a representer from Greenpeace or the swedish nature protection agency, you’ll realize they have normal feelings, humour and intellect. Talk to them, they may be important, but not dangerous. Listening to the fascilitator of a meeting on legal aspects regarding the adaption fund, they will actually make you laugh sometimes (delegate of Japan is quite fun) and if you visit the toilet after the french delegation, their farts also smell!
- Follow someone who knows their stuff/take notes:
Coming to a meeting, it’s hard to follow all of it. My best tip here is to sit next to someone who takes notes, sneek down to their screen once in a while to try to recap the most important stuff. Or take the notes yourself, you’ll learn by picking out the important things. People tend to talk in riddles. After the meeting, discuss with your friends on what actually happened.
- Bring a computer:
Some meetings are super interesting, some are not. Some rooms have good air, some don’t (watch out for the Berlin room). You don’t want to be the guy sleeping through a meeting and you don’t want to be the one leaving halfway through. Bring a computer, read through the paris agreement, follow the schedule, do some work, write a blog. If you need to message your friends, don’t use facebook, use messenger, looks way better. Also, bring the ice coffe with a cookie, only 0.79 at Netto. You’ll have 12 hours a day at the conference, it’s ok to have a break and do something else.
- Come with a mission:
Coming here, my idea was just to learn about what is going on in here, how do the meetings look like, what do they say, how do people work and what is the vibe? This is an alright mission, but I would recommend doing something bigger. Focus on one subject and do something about it. What do you really want to get out of this? Do you want to spread the message out? Do you want to learn about gender and CC or do you want to encourage your nation to bring more youth representatives? (Read Nick Fitzpatricks blogpost at pushtocop.org). Have a mission and you’ll feel more important.
- Rules, meant to be broken?:
Rules are broken, all the time. The maximum speech time for the nations during the opening meeting was set to 3 min. Expect Ecuador to speak for 10, Honduras for 6 and Uganda for 5, nobody keeps the time. None of the meetings finish in time. Also, swapping badges is fun, me and Patrik did, security never noticed, security update needed from UNFCCC!
- Bring a suit:
Just do it. So cool. Or an african or indian multicoulored dress, also very cool! At the end of the week you can also see how people start to chill more, shoes come of, relaxed shirts come forth, still, bring a suit, worth it! If you have business cards, this is a great opportunity to use them as well. Look important, you feel important and people will think you are important!
Again, talk, go to the YOUNGO meetings and Bonn Track meetings, meet people, learn.
- You can change:
Yes you can, try, and you can.
Not too many points on what countries actually talk about, but there is progress made, slow progress, but still progress.