Natalie Jones: Why hello, Warsaw

Hi, world. I’m Natalie – one of AYLI’s delegates to the UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw. Follow me on my merry way as I work out exactly what goes on at UN climate negotiations, and what role the New Zealand government plays.

The journey over was smooth, thanks to my excellent plane-sleeping skills – to be honest, I am pretty good at sleeping in general – and a truly awesome stopover in Hong Kong. After arriving at about midday, today is for rest and admin – because tomorrow things are going into full swing!

I think I have a rough idea of what to expect, based on a ton of reading and chatting to people who have previously gone to COP (Conference of the Parties – the first of many, many acronyms, I’m afraid), but somehow I think my mind will still be blown. At the moment I feel like I’m standing on the edge of a massive void, over a vast and changing landscape, with a metre’s visibility, and I’m about to leap off. I’ll only find out lies in store on the way down. It’s both exciting and scary - and I'm so stoked to be here!

I’m hoping the Conference of Youth (COY), which starts tomorrow and runs for four days, will be somewhat enlightening.

All that said, I do have some goals for COP:

1.      Negotiations – Understand what is happening in the negotiations each day (a daunting prospect).

2.      Networking – Meet lots of inspiring people – especially young people.

3.      NZ Negotiators – Engage constructively with our negotiators & learn what they do at COP.

4.      Side events – Attend awesome side-events (I have a feeling this won’t be a problem).

5.      Blog posts/communication – digest information and communicate it in an engaging and constructive way.

6.      Learning - generally learn as much as I can!

I also have some questions I want to think about during COP:

1.      Top down vs bottom up – is the UN process inherently doomed? Value of grassroots vs international policy. Is it more worthwhile to focus energies at the national level, or in our own lives?

2.      NGO Strategy – what are the respective merits of protest actions, lobbying on policy issues, and documentation/transparency work at COP?

3.      Youth – what kind of potential do youth have, both in the international process and domestically?

Will I be able to come up with answers? Probably not. Nevertheless, stay tuned for more updates here, and at @nataliejonesnz.

Bring on COY!


All posts by Institute delegates reflect their own thoughts, opinions and experiences, and do not reflect those of the Institute.

For official Institute updates, take a look here.

Posted on November 6, 2013 and filed under UN Climate Talks 2013.